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Whitepaper: Introduction to Inbound Marketing
 

Whitepaper: Introduction to Inbound Marketing

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You may have come across the term inbound marketing, or perhaps you already have an inbound strategy in place or are considering one. Marketing opportunities are changing and new channels and outlets ...

You may have come across the term inbound marketing, or perhaps you already have an inbound strategy in place or are considering one. Marketing opportunities are changing and new channels and outlets are emerging at an alarming rate. However, even though the sales landscape may look dramatically different, the essentials of selling are much the same as they have always been.

The new forums and social medias offer an exciting opportunity to reach and connect with potential buyers in ways that are both less intrusive and less costly than more traditional forms of marketing. Social-sharing for example, will see marketing content distributed faster and more widely than ever, whilst there are a wealth of industry experts freely blogging and reviewing on every possible subject.

This paper will explore the many and varied benefits of developing an inbound marketing strategy, but we will also demonstrate the increased success that will come from doing so as part of a wider marketing plan to create a well balanced marketing mix.

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    Whitepaper: Introduction to Inbound Marketing Whitepaper: Introduction to Inbound Marketing Document Transcript

    • whitepaper: Content March 14 2013Marketing OverviewAN ANALYSES OF WHAT INBOUND MARKETING IS, ITS PLACE WITHIN THEMARKETING MIX, VALUES, WEAKNESSES AND HOW TO UTILISE IT.BY JULIAN POULTERLAMP-360MARCH 2013WWW.LAMP-360.COMCopyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 1 of 13
    • White paper on Inbound MarketingMaximising your marketing reach in todays ever changing sales landscapeContents1. INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................32. WHERE DOES INBOUND MARKETING FIT IN?.....................................................33. BENEFITS OF INBOUND MARKETING....................................................................44. GETTING IT RIGHT....................................................................................................65. THE WEAKNESSES OF INBOUND MARKETING...................................................66. COMMON PITFALLS.................................................................................................77. SOLUTIONS...............................................................................................................88. MARKETING AUTOMATION.....................................................................................99. THE PERFECT BLEND..............................................................................................910. TURNING THE THEORY INTO STRATEGY..........................................................1211. SUMMARY..............................................................................................................1212. ABOUT LAMP-360.................................................................................................12Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 2 of 13
    • 1. IntroductionYou may have come across the term inbound marketing, or perhaps you already have an inboundstrategy in place or are considering one. Marketing opportunities are changing and new channelsand outlets are emerging at an alarming rate. However, even though the sales landscape may lookdramatically different, the essentials of selling are much the same as they have always been.The new forums and social medias offer an exciting opportunity to reach and connect withpotential buyers in ways that are both less intrusive and less costly than more traditional forms ofmarketing. Social-sharing for example, will see marketing content distributed faster and morewidely than ever, whilst there are a wealth of industry experts freely blogging and reviewing onevery possible subject.This paper will explore the many and varied benefits of developing an inbound marketing strategy,but we will also demonstrate the increased success that will come from doing so as part of a widermarketing plan to create a well balanced marketing mix.2. Where does inbound marketing fit in?Communicating with prospective and existing customers is an essential part of the sales process.Broadly this can be broken down into three sub-sections; corporate marketing, outboundmarketing and inbound marketing.Corporate marketing has a wide remit, it covers everything from branding to press releases,product launches to corporate communications and analyst and public relations.Well developed branding is an essential foundation for a successful sales and marketing strategy.A consistent and memorable message will build awareness and trust in your product or servicesand your organisation will grow from strength to strength.These tenets are crucial to get the best results from your outbound marketing, the aspect ofmarketing that usually comes to mind first. It is the paid marketing we use to generate new leadsand incorporates channels such as advertising, trade-shows, pay-per-click (PPC) and telemarketing,to name but a few.Essentially outbound marketing defines the way in which people think and talk about yourorganisation. Paving the way for you to make face-to-face contact and, hopefully, convert theminto customers.Today, however, people are ever more savvy. We screen calls, fast-forward through adverts andautomatically check for spam emails. Alone, outbound marketing is no longer enough to capturetoday’s markets.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 3 of 13
    • Enter inbound marketing. A term coined in 2005 and defined by Wikipedia as “advertising acompany through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social mediamarketing, and other forms of content marketing....Inbound marketing earns the attention ofcustomers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website byproducing interesting content.” Outbound and inbound marketing comparison Outbound marketing Inbound marketing  One-way communication  Two-way, interactive communication  Interrupt-driven – potential customers  Permission- driven – potential customers are actively solicited. find you.  Strong emphasis on look and feel.  Strong emphasis on content and engagement.  High costs  Can be explored for free  Uses press releases, trade-shows, pay-  Uses blog posts, social-sharing, per-click, direct mail, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, telemarketing, pay-per-click, etc. Slideshare, “Whitepaper sites” etc.  Sales cycle  Buying cycle  Product based  Solution based3. Benefits of inbound MarketingThese days, more and more of us are undertaking research and arming ourselves with informationbefore purchasing even the most minor of items. Potential buyers are no longer waiting for you tocontact them, theyre actively seeking solutions to their needs and there have never been moreways of reaching your target audience in this age of information.Inbound marketing works with this new behaviour, developing information-based resources andengaging content that demonstrate integrity and engender trust, meaning that when a contact isready to make a purchase, it is you they think of first.New social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and many other more niche forumsand communities offer a rich arena for new forms of marketing. What is truly ground-breaking isthat these channels enable you to interact and connect with your target audience directly.Through thought leadership and value added content it is possible to answer their questions anddirect them towards you without them ever really being aware that you are marketing to them.Recent research has found that there are around £5.67 billion worth of social commerce purchasesmade each year. Additionally a website visitor is ten times more likely to make a purchase if theyCopyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 4 of 13
    • were directed from social media. It is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore the opportunitiesafforded by utilising inbound marketing.Inbound marketing is extremely accessible and grows exponentially, the more you put in, the moreyou get out. The following graph shows that the more indexed pages your website has, the moreleads you generate0. (source Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation report, 2010)According to research by Hubspot, organisations that post more than 20 blogs a month receive fivetimes more traffic than those posting less than four times a month. Companies who updated theirblog once a month saw a 49% generation of median monthly leads, whereas a blog that posts dailygenerates 79%. If you update your blog more than once a day that can increase to 89%.The figures speak for themselves. Inbound marketing is extremely powerful and the more you putin, the more you get out, with increasingly impressive results.The beauty of inbound marketing is that by creating interesting, quality content that inspires andintrigues or entertains your target audience you are well over half way there. If people find yourcontent worthy, they will do the bulk of the marketing for you by sharing it with their colleaguesand friends. This form of viral marketing allows you to reach an audience far greater than youwould be likely to achieve via traditional means and, crucially, they are already actively interested inyou (or what you do) to some degree.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 5 of 13
    • 4. Getting it rightWith inbound marketing, even more so than any other marketing or sales aspect, content is mostdefinitely King. The exact form that your content will take will vary with industry, business andprospective. One central tenet is that the focus should be on producing enlightening and pertinentcommunication pieces, rather than promotional material.Good content recognises the problems and questions of your potential buyers and endeavours toguide them in their quest for solutions and answers. Ultimately, you want to direct them to yourwebsite or sales team, but if you can raise their awareness of you, influence the language they useto talk about you, and most importantly engender trust in your product or service, then you are onthe right track.The potential content channels are almost limitless, with some of the key ones being; articles, blogposts, white papers, reference guides, press releases, images, videos and case studies.If the thought of writing all this copy is daunting, there are solutions that wont break even themost modest budget. Enlisting the help of industry bloggers, critics and analysts is extremelycommon and popular on all sides. Having a personal interest in the subject, they will often be morethan happy to review or comment on your products and services. The result is often free contentthat has the added benefit of coming from an objective third party. This is a great way to increaseyour credibility and respect.5. The weaknesses of inbound marketingYou would be forgiven for thinking that inbound marketing is the sales Holy Grail that we havebeen searching for. A relatively low-cost solution to all your marketing needs. But before youthrow out your advertising plans and cancel your trade shows, there are a number of factors thatneed to be considered when planning your marketing strategy.  Your potential leads may not be social butterflies– Its not just what you say and how you say it that matters here, but where you say it. If your target audience is not tuned in to social media, signed up to Facebook or twittering then no matter how good your content is, it wont reach them. Similarly, if your potential buyers are distrusting of new technologies and social media, they may not only miss your message, but could be turned off by a perceived bias towards those channels, feeling that you are not the right organisation for them.  Less is more – There are a great many blogs, forums, sites, networks and communities out there and across each are a whole host of social media tools to distribute your marketing content. The risk is that with a scatter-gun approach, or trying to be everything to everyone, you fail to connect with your audience. Your message could be in danger of being watered down and getting lost in the crush of other information. The lack of properly targeted and focussed content could fail to adequately engage your potential buyers.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 6 of 13
    •  Youre nobody until youre somebody – Inbound marketing only works if people are looking for you or the solutions you offer (and the problems you solve). It relies on individuals finding the right blogs, communities and networks to read the great content your are putting there. It doesnt matter how good your message is even if its appearing in the right places, if people dont know that they need you, they will never find you.  Not speaking the same language - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not just a buzz phrase. It is a very real factor that can make or break your inbound marketing strategy. Briefly, it refers to tactics to ensure that the design and content of your web presence maximises the chances of your web page appearing high on the results of search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. If you dont know the way that your target audience is phrasing their questions and requirements, you cannot answer them. According to Marketshare.hitslink.com, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, meaning its essential that you are optimizing your position on those search results.  Whistling in the wind – Unsurprisingly, given the very obvious benefits of inbound marketing and the ease with which many can try their hand at it, it is extremely popular, and still growing. Subsequently, the various outlets are all but overflowing with bright, useful content jostling for attention. Wordpress.com, for example, currently host around 42,000,000 blogs with 500,000 posts being published each day and market research estimates that 60% of businesses have a corporate blog. (Source) Potential buyers may be turned off, confused or frustrated by the overwhelming amount of content on their chosen subject.  Connecting with the decision maker – Crucially, you want your content to be seen by the person with the buying power. Unfortunately, those people are rarely the ones reading industry blogs, white papers or participating in networking forums on Facebook or LinkedIn6. Common PitfallsAs we can see, there are many weaknesses within the nature of inbound marketing, but there arealso a number of pitfalls that you should be aware of.  Poor market segmentation – The key to resolving many of the weaknesses of inbound marketing is to understand your target audience. Without good, detailed market segmentation your message may fall well wide of the mark. You may be answering the questions no-one is asking or solving the wrong problems.  Low quality data – Your segmentation is only as good as your data. You need to be able to gather the right information and analyse it correctly in order to be sure that your segmentation is as accurate as possible.  Ineffective sharing – It is not enough to simply share, you need to be conscious of what you are sharing and how you are publishing the information.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 7 of 13
    • There are many tools available that offer to take the hard work out of social-sharing, and some are extremely useful, but be wary of relying too heavily on such products. Often they limit the information you can draw on, perhaps only publishing an article title or a key word that may not inspire your audience to click through and read more. Automating all of your social-sharing may well be a false economy, as recent research showed that automatically generated posts to Facebook suffer from 70% lower engagement.  Failing to keep the team in the loop – All too often the sales and marketing teams are at opposite ends of the process. Marketing generate leads and the sales team convert them. The nature of inbound marketing is more organic than those old systems and failure to keep all members of the team in the loop can risk losing any benefits gained.7. SolutionsIt is clear from the weaknesses and pitfalls of inbound marketing that one of the most valuablesolutions is a strong understanding of your potential customers requirements and, for successfulSEO and increased reach, the words and language they are using to describe their hopes andneeds.Accurate and detailed market segmentation is essential. It is no longer enough simply to dividepotential leads by job title or company size. Now you need to be categorising their contentpreferences and their preferred methods of receiving that content. Do they spend their time onTwitter or LinkedIn? Do they like to read white papers or watch webcasts?The research should continue through the entire lifespan of a lead, incorporating marketingmetrics, so that you can maintain the lines of communication at exactly the right level for yourcontact. For example, how did they find you, through a web search or via a reciprocal link. Did theycome to you from a particular social form or an industry blogger?Combining all this information will enable you to build up a solid profile of the sort of people youretalking to, where to engage them and how to connect with them and facilitate your ability tocontinue to maintain a relationship with them.Business communication is not a passive process, and while research and understanding add value,it is also wise to support your strategy through more traditional outbound marketing tactics suchas advertising, trade-shows, press releases etc. With this combined active promotion andresearched understanding you can create high-quality content that is correctly targeted to reachpotential buyers and move them along the buyers journey.Perhaps more importantly, you can develop focussed content that makes you stand out from thecrowd. If everyone else is blogging, then perhaps your audience would respond well to a videoblog, engage your readers by creating a competition, or post a white paper in daily installments,asking for live feedback.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 8 of 13
    • 8. Marketing AutomationAchieving a balanced marketing strategy within realistic time frames and budgets is no mean feat.The real risk for any small to medium business is that you find yourself spinning one too manyplates and the whole lot come crashing down.Automating some or most of the process can help even the smallest of businesses get it right,without breaking the bank.Marketing automation utilises technology to help you move contacts through their buying journeyfrom unaware to aware and finally to customer. You can use automated systems to help trackthose leads, analyse their behaviours, segment them and then target them with the most effectiveoutbound or inbound marketing campaigns or approaches.You can score leads in such a way that a potential buyer will never get lost in the system, sent thesame marketing collateral twice, or bombarded with information they already know or dont needyet. You can provide your sales teams with all the information they need to ensure that they knowexactly what stage a lead is at before they even speak to them.Not convinced? Below are just some of the ways an automated system can help:  Track your leads against tailored marketing campaigns based on click-through rates, email responses and document downloads  Perform detailed analysis of lead behaviour to facilitate A/B testing beyond the basics  Automatically generate tailored emails, website landing pages, white paper lists etc.  Speed up the time it takes to turn a lead into a buyer by enabling better targeted marketing and sales contact  Facilitate your sales team by providing them with all the information they need at the right time to make their move  Ensure that once a lead becomes a customer, they dont get forgotten with the help of customer management systems  Automate the simple tasks, such as regular mailings or meeting reminders  Capture, track and analyse the data as you go to understand quickly the success of specific campaigns or popularity of certain types of contentAn automated marketing system can significantly improve the efficiency of your marketingprogrammes by facilitating and enabling a better, more streamlined process at all stages.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 9 of 13
    • 9. The perfect blendIt should be clear by now that Inbound marketing is an extremely powerful business tool, but it isnot a one-stop solution. A comprehensive and robust marketing strategy incorporates corporatebranding and communications, outbound marketing and inbound marketing followed up by face-to-face sales and ongoing lead nurturing and automation.However, in today’s social media obsessed world you would be forgiven for feeling that traditionalforms of marketing are a little outdated and coarse. Why should you press your message ontopotential customers when you can produce content that they seek out? Yet, in reality, the value ofoutbound marketing and corporate communications has not lessoned, it is just perhaps a littlemore subtle.At the start of this paper we gave a brief overview of the various marketing specialities in order todemonstrate where inbound marketing fits in. Now we will look at how the other aspects ofmarketing can dramatically support and strengthen inbound marketing.  Corporate marketing - provides the foundation for outbound and inbound marketing. Essentially it develops the brand and the message which presents a cohesive public face. Communication plans on how to talk to, not only, existing and potential customers but also employees help to build a strong and consistent image that will promote integrity, recognition and trust amongst your target audience. Corporate marketing also incorporates aspects such as analyst relations, product launches and upsell campaigns.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 10 of 13
    •  Brand Awareness – Through outbound marketing it is possible to create strong brand awareness and recognition within your industry. Via the use of advertisements, trade shows and press-releases it is possible to build up a consistent picture of your business and services or products. Over time this will increase awareness and confidence amongst your potential customers.  Create a language – Strap lines, tag lines, key phrases, associated words, all of these can, and should be carefully selected and used repeatedly throughout outbound (and then inbound) marketing campaigns. This will help to shape the way that your clients speak about, not only your business and services, but the industry and products themselves. Take, for example, Hoover, there are many vacuum brands on the market but we often hoover the sitting room. Another is Google, a whole host of search engines are available, but these days we invite others to google it. We might not reach these heights of recognition, but outbound marketing can help you to influence the thinking of potential customers and in turn this will help you to tailor your inbound marketing to capture their searches.  Targeted marketing – Theres a huge amount of analysis and metrics that even the smallest business can carry out by themselves, often for free, to help enable them to target the right people effectively. But there is still a significant value in purchasing lead-generation programmes that ensure that you are only talking to people who fit the correct criteria.  Face Time – There really is little more effective marketing than speaking to potential clients face-to-face. Whilst it is time-consuming, and seemingly more costly than other marketing exercises, it is still the most reliable way to develop a good relationship with buyers. It is the culmination of all the work that has gone before. The branding, corporate communications, outbound marketing and inbound marketing all provide the basis for making direct contact with an individual buyer so that you can take them all the way from lead to customer. Be sure to engage your sales team and have them working alongside the marketing efforts. Knowing how a lead was generated is essential. Not simply through which campaign, but how they found the campaign, whether they came to you via inbound or outbound marketing. What content have they already accessed. Are they following you on Twitter? A member of your Facebook group? All of this information needs to be available to everyone at all stages in the marketing and sales process. Armed with this knowledge, your sales teams can ensure that they pick up the right leads, at the right time. It facilitates appropriate and successful lead nurturing campaigns that are customer lead, rather than sales imposed, ensuring that instead of just contacting the decision maker, your team is connecting with them.  Lead Nurturing and Automation – Once a contact has been brought on board or a sale made, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open so that you can either keep the customer or move the contact through their buying journey with you. Automated systems can work wonders in offering a way to support this continued relationship and should be considered part of the marketing mix for the lifetime of a customer.Copyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 11 of 13
    • 10. Turning the theory into strategyIn this paper we have focussed on the value of inbound marketing within the context of the widermarketing mix. Combing all these aspects will help you to produce a solid and rewarding marketingstrategy that will reap sales benefits.Before you begin to develop your strategy you should gather the information you have on yourtarget audience and assess the value of the various inbound marketing channels available. You willalso need to consider your objective. Are you looking to raise your public profile, hoping toincrease website traffic, boost brand awareness or attract more leads from a specific segment.Each objective will require a slightly different approach and will rely more, or less, heavily on thevarious aspects of the marketing mix.We have talked a lot about the constantly evolving sales landscape, this will continue to be thecase. Any strategy should be regularly revisited and analysed to ensure that it is focussingresources and attention where you will see the best return.11. SummaryInbound marketing is an increasingly powerful tool for almost any sales and marketing team.It offers a wealth of low-cost, high-return opportunities and the arguments in favour of it arecompelling.This paper has explored the pros and cons of inbound marketing and aims to provide you withthe basics to consider how to implement inbound marketing for your organisation goingforward.If approached correctly inbound marketing can form an extremely powerful part of themarketing mix and overall strategy.12. About LAMP-360LAMP-360 is an "Out of the box" lead generation, nurturing and sales process, managed byinnovative software, designed as a single easy to use solution for SMEs.Out of the box means it is already almost fully configured and only needs the input of certaincontent and template modification to get your first campaigns out. However, LAMP is about theprocess of generating leads and sales not about sending emails, and the process guides youthrough thisLAMP includes best practice so you dont need to worry about how to use it, just get going,following the guides and start developing leads and salesPre-defined process for generating leads, lead development (nurturing) and other key customerfacing processes such as renewals, up-sell, retention. Implement best practice immediately -Enterprise level marketing automation for the SMEIn the cloud - cost effective, no upfront investmentCopyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 12 of 13
    • Pay per click - novel subscription model where you pay for results, traditional pricing available ifrequiredEasy to understand and use - guides and wizards provided to help you get going with your newmarketing and lead generation strategyContent based marketing - input the content in the form of whitepapers, videos, case studies,modify the templates and you are underwaySales process and buying process - we often think of prospects in term of the sales cycle and theirgrading, sales status or qualification. However, LAMP also takes account of the purchasers andwhere they are in their buyers journey along what we call the Awareness CycleInbound and outbound - including the integration of intelligent tele-marketingEco-system - automated acquisition of data, plug in intelligent telemarketing and other marketingservices, if requiredManage complex sales - handle multiple independent relationships with the same unique contactrecord - avoids duplicates and ongoing data maintenance as far as possibleCompliance - ensure you adhere to best practice, standards and legal requirementsProject management - comprehensive Project and Campaign set up and management includingresourcing and timesheet managementAgency version - allows multiple relationships with the same prospects, manage landscaping andintelligence in contactsLAMP-360 / SMDI Ltd. Phone: 020 3397 07265Unit 12, The Power HouseHigham Mead Email: enquiries@lamp-360.comCheshamBuckinghamshire Web site: www.lamp-360.comHP5 2AHCopyright © SMDI Ltd Mar 2013 Contact: www.lamp-360.com 020 3397 0725 Version 1 Page 13 of 13