The Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing


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The Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing

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  2. 2. The Beginner’s Guide To Inbound Marketing What is Inbound Marketing?....................................1-5 How Does Inbound Marketing Work?.....................6-8 How Do You Know it’s Working?.................................9 What’s All This About Content?............................10-15 Content Management Software…………………16-18 Inbound Marketing: The Plan and Process.…….19-23 Table of Contents
  3. 3. What is Inbound Marketing?
  4. 4. What is Inbound Marketing? Research Shop Purchase Re-Purchase Y ou’ve heard plenty of buzz about it. You’re pretty sure you should be doing it. But what—exactly– is inbound marketing? It’s a holistic, fully integrated approach to building your business via the internet, based on the Law of Attraction—the belief that like attracts like. Using this principle, your marketing is specifically aimed at potential customers who are already attracted to you. You have something they want or need—something they’re searching for online. And your marketing speaks directly to that, to draw them in. 1
  5. 5. Inbound Marketing is all about connections It’s a mosaic of techniques that use your website, blogging, social media and email to generate and nurture leads and, of course, close sales. Everything is interwoven, just like it is in the “real world”. With traditional—or outbound– marketing, you’re advertising products or services in a somewhat-targeted way — hoping someone takes notice and follows up to connect with you. With inbound marketing you don’t waste effort or money “selling” your products or services to audiences that aren’t interested. Instead, you can specifically tailor your messages and delivery formats to reach different segments of your audience, whether they’re in the very beginning stages of their search for information or they’re on the verge of a final purchasing decision. That buying cycle—sometimes called a sales funnel—follows a predictable course with four stages: Researching Shopping Purchasing Re-Purchasing 2
  6. 6. Why are the four stages important? Someone at the first stage needs different information than someone who’s farther along in their decision-making process. Because inbound techniques allow you to tightly target your marketing, you can provide the information your audience wants, when they want it. “Inbound marketing techniques help coordinate your internal sales and marketing efforts, but more importantly, they connect your business with prospective clients or customers.” You can establish and develop ongoing relationships that retain customers and turn them into active promoters of your business. You can even use those connections to improve your customer services or product research/development. The engagement process establishes your company as an authoritative, go-to resource, far more than just a sales outlet. That reinforces your overall branding and builds the trust that gives prospects confidence to buy. You can sell more, more often, rather than waiting for them to come to you. 3
  7. 7. Inbound Marketing Works. Period. It works for B2B and B2C businesses. It works whether you’re a global enterprise or neighborhood gem. It works no matter what you sell or do. According to industry giant HubSpot, 40% Of companies that use inbound techniques improved lead generation statistics show more than 92% of companies that use inbound techniques improve lead generation. Of those, 40% improved lead generation by at least 75%. And those aren’t just any leads. Thanks to the Law of Attraction, they’re people already interested in your products and services. People can engage, and get to know your business. You can use your arsenal of inbound marketing tools to connect and converse with them, converting them into not just customers, but customers-for–life. 4
  8. 8. Inbound Marketing Works. Period. 89% Of marketers are maintaining or increasing inbound budgets 57% of marketers acquired customers from blogging 44% of marketers acquired customers from Twitter 52% of marketers acquired customers from Facebook 62% of marketers acquired customers from Linkedin 57% of marketers acquired customers from their blog Inbound vs Outbound Cost Per Lead $346 $350 With inbound marketing you don’t waste effort or money “selling” your products or services to $300 audiences that aren’t interested. $250 Marketers are shifting their budgets away from $200 $150 “interruption” advertising $135 Inbound Marketing tactics don’t just generate $100 leads. They generate revenue $0 Inbound Outbound Source: HubSpot “120 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts & Graphs” 5
  9. 9. How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
  10. 10. How Does Inbound Marketing Work? There are two things for certain: People don’t like to be pestered. They want to gather information when they want it, rather than having sales messages pushed at them, as is generally the case with traditional marketing. Whopping numbers of people now ignore TV and print ads, and are on the “do not call” list. Inbound marketing attracts prospects because it meets them at their point of interest, on their schedule. It puts them in control, where they’re more comfortable. The other reason is trust. People won’t buy from you unless they believe you’re a respectable business with reliable products or service. T R U S T 6
  11. 11. Inbound helps you systematically establish a comfortable, trust-based relationship with your target audience, to build traffic and generate sales. Here’s how: It attracts online users, drawing them to your website— usually via search results. Effective content strategy and well-researched SEO techniques ensure your business shows up as close to the top of the page as possible in search rankings. Just like any marketing, you can use those calls-toaction (CTAs) to encourage visitors to take the next step—”sign up here” or “click here” — encourages visitors to take the next step. They share their contact data and become a lead — a warm one at that. You’ll convert each lead from shopper to buyer by giving them what they want in the form of relevant, timely, context-appropriate content. You can nurture leads and convert them to buyers entirely online or pass qualified leads to your sales reps at the right time. 7
  12. 12. Building loyalty is the key to profitability. Attracting new customers is important. But where inbound marketing really shines is its ability to create ongoing conversations with existing customers that build strong, lasting relationships and drive additional sales (both repeat purchases and value-added products and services). Relationships! Sales! You re-attract and retain interest by providing continuing relevant content via your blog, enewsletter, emails, etc.—all of it personalized, just the way your audience wants it. Inbound marketing needn’t be an entirely-internet-based process. Millions of businesses use it to drive traffic into their stores and offices. And you can very effectively use inbound to cross-sell with your in-store promotions or traditional print or broadcast advertising. It’s the definition of “versatility”. 8
  13. 13. How Do You Know it’s Working?
  14. 14. How do you know it’s working? How do you know it’s working? Inbound marketing gives you highly detailed analytics you can use to track how people respond to your online marketing. You can see the different sources: Social Media Search Results Page Referrals Your blog You can also see how long they’re there, which pages they visit after, and so on. You can see exactly what’s working for you and what isn’t, based on your specific goals. Not driving traffic from social media? Try posting a few times a day or posting a new article multiple times... And you can see all this information in real-time, to quickly make alterations that drive even more traffic and attract people farther into your sales pipeline. Inbound gives you agility you can’t get anywhere else. 9
  15. 15. What’s All This About Content?
  16. 16. What’s all this about “Content”? Shopping is actually an information-gathering process, whether someone’s looking for a new outfit, a new accountant or parts suppliers for their manufacturing facility. “Content” is the material you make available online to provide shopping information your prospects want. The most important thing to remember is that content value is in the minds of your prospects and customers. It’s not about what you want to say or sell. You have to think like your audience to provide delicious, timely content that’s exactly what they’re hungry for. And you have to put that content where they’re looking, so it’s literally just a click away when they’re ready for it. 10
  17. 17. How do you know what they want? A popular trend is to create a “persona” for each of your key types of customers. Personas are imaginary individuals who represent each customer’s relevant attributes. To create a persona, ask yourself:  Who they are—typical age, gender, where they live, pertinent lifestyle or workrelated functional details  How they consume information—written work, pictures, video, or all three  How they’re searching—from their desktop, from mobile devices? You also want to consider where they are in the purchasing funnel. Using your personas as a guide, you can formulate content that educates, to satisfy their initial research. You can engage prospects with ongoing conversation and participation, guiding them through their decision-making stages toward a point of sale. And once they buy, you can continue to embrace them with personalized engagement, so they become repeat customers. 11
  18. 18. There are different types of content delivery channels Website You have to provide a comfortable user-friendly experience for visitors, or they’ll quickly leave. Make sure your website’s navigation is easy to find and follow, without visual clutter. Include obvious links to your blog and social media sites. SEO If people can’t easily find you when they’re searching online, you’re out of luck. That’s where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes in. When you type something into your browser, search engines like Google scour the internet almost instantly, using a complicated algorithm to find citations that best match whatever you type. That’s why keywords are so critical. If your online content doesn’t include the words people use to search for your products or services, you’ll never show up in the results. End of story. 12
  19. 19. Blog Blogging is widely considered the single-most valuable inbound marketing technique, beyond having a good website. You can use your blog to discuss news about your company or industry, provide useful tips and how-to information about your products and services. You’ll want to include links leading to and from your blog content. Once you “humanize” your company you will find more customers and social media contacts who are willing to share your story. Social Media Social media interactions are great for sharing snippets of information and links. Your posts should be things people can’t resist sharing. Social media interactions also help build ongoing engagement with prospects and customers. You can learn more about them, conduct surveys, collect content topic ideas, etc. Email You can utilize mass emails to broadcast your message to a certain list of your customers and prospects. You can also create nurturing campaigns leading them down the funnel to the next stage and ultimately to a purchase. 13
  20. 20. There are different types of content formats Aside from your blog, popular content options are: Webinars Photos Videos eBooks While original content is important, you don’t have to create everything yourself: Curation—re-sharing someone else's content– creates links to other thoughtleaders and authority sites, which reflects well on you. Repurposing your own original content is another smart way to get more mileage from good material. Turn a series of related blog articles into whitepaper or e-book or webinar content into an infor-graphic. Curation saves time and builds relationships with other content producers. Content success comes from diversity and balance. Changing it up with different formats keeps things interesting. 14
  21. 21. Content helps other people sell for you 92% For all the marketing you do yourself, third-party recommendations always carry more influence with shoppers. After all, people expect you to say good things about your company and products, but an “outsider” appears unbiased. The reviews and referrals you attract online are a tremendous Of companies that use inbound improve lead generation selling tool. You don’t have to do it all at once. You don’t even want to. Content marketing is an ongoing process, so it’s constantly evolving. And there is so much 75% Of those companies, 40% improved lead generation by 75% opportunity, it can be overwhelming when you’re new to it. The key to success and sanity is to start small and work your way up. Start a blog. And pick a major social media platform—Google+, Facebook or Linkedin—that reflects your customer profile. Set up a publishing schedule that’s not over ambitious, so you can stick to it. Quality and consistency trump quality and randomness. 15
  22. 22. Content Management Software
  23. 23. Content management software is your new best friend Thankfully, some savvy techies have created content management software that can make your online marketing life so much easier. These applications are comprehensive and fully integrated,. They allow you to create great content, target it and publish it when and where it will be most attractive to and engaging to prospects in those all-important conversations (that ultimately lead to sales and lasting loyalty). Content management software is automated and coordinated, making your online and in-person marketing efforts more efficient and more effective. But the best part is analytics—the critical area where traditional advertising falls woefully short but inbound marketing truly stands out. 16
  24. 24. Your software choices You can see what’s working and what isn’t. If you pay attention, you can’t go wrong. You can gather detailed, useful information, right away. Use it to keep refining your marketing content and delivery choices. Ditch what’s not working and do more of what’s producing tangible results. There are several content management software Top-notch, customizable software can keep your online marketing organized and on-track to save you time. packages available. To varying degrees, they all include components that help you improve SEO, create content, build landing pages and contact forms and nurture leads using email. And they all have extensive measurement tools. HubSpot is widely used by both B2B and B2C marketers. It includes blogging and social media Automation components. Marketo is a popular program that includes a social media component, along with a tool that helps Content market your events. Analytics Pardot and Eloqua are strong B2B oriented programs with components that focus more on scoring leads and managing online marketing campaigns 17
  25. 25. “29.8% of companies using HubSpot have increased the traffic to their site more than 100%” Source: HubSpot 2013 The platform you choose for your inbound marketing must be open-source and dynamic. Requirements include:  Internal access  Ease of internal updating  Analytics and CRM integration We recommend HubSpot for inbound marketing software. For comparison articles:  HubSpot vs Eloqua  HubSpot vs Pardot  HubSpot vs Marketo 18
  26. 26. Inbound Marketing: The Plan and The Process
  27. 27. You Need a Plan Remember Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat? He wisely informed Alice that if she didn’t know where she was going, any road would do. If he were here today, he would tell you that a strategic plan can do more to improve your marketing than any amount of clever content. Why? Because your content can’t be effective without being strategically focused. And you can’t take advantage of inbound marketing’s outstanding targeting opportunities unless you know who you’re trying to reach. You need a plan that’s tailored to your needs and scaled to fit your business. Scale matters because you have to work your plan to see the results. So, implementing it has to be manageable based on the time and personnel commitment you’re able to make. 19
  28. 28. Start with your goals in mind What are your overall business goals? Increased sales? Expansion, either in terms of products or services you offer or in terms of geographic distribution? The point of marketing is to achieve those goals, so your marketing plan has to be aligned with company priorities. Remember that inbound marketing is based on relationship-building, not just racking up immediate sales. Remember, too, that you have several different customer segments, based on your various personas as well as where they are in their buying cycle. Your marketing plan should reflect that, so you’re working to build ongoing engagement and long-term customer loyalty that will drive future sales. Most importantly, your objectives have to be actionable and measureable so you can evaluate your progress. Whether you call them benchmarks, key performance indicators or something else, you need specifics against which you can compare your marketing results. Inbound Marketing provides you with a wealth of information, but all analytical data in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what success looks like. 20
  29. 29. Inbound marketing is a process Armed with your strategic plan and implementation tactics, you’re ready to put inbound marketing to work. The key to success is creating great content and regularly reviewing and analyzing how that content is performing for you, based on the metrics you’ve chosen. Because you can see this information almost immediately, you’ll quickly know if you need to make changes. Over time, you can learn a great deal about your target audiences— information that will help you further refine your marketing and even your products. So, while you can see right away if you’re attracting and engaging the right people, the greatest value will come from the long-term relationships you create with customers. This is where inbound marketing succeeds and traditional marketing falls off. 21
  30. 30. You don’t have to go in alone You probably don’t do your own legal or accounting work. In the same way, teaming up with an inbound marketing professional can bring you better results, fast. Digital marketing is a highly complex field, one that’s constantly evolving and understanding the nuances takes time. With an expert at your side you can focus on your own core business responsibilities, confident that you’re getting sound advice—and any amount of assistance you need—to build a productive inbound marketing program. Even if you have an in-house sales and marketing team, an outside expert can work with them to devise an online plan that strategically supports the rest of your marketing, ensure everything you do online is exactly on target, and evaluate the results. They can help you avoid common mistakes and make the most productive use of your time. 22
  31. 31. Inbound marketing is not just useful… It’s essential for success in today’s marketplace. Any marketplace, whether your prospects and customers are very local or they encircle the globe. It’s a building process, so you can expect to make incremental progress—attracting friends and fans, engaging them with your content and getting to know them better—as you guide them to buy. As time goes on, you’ll be able to turn those customers into dedicated fans who not only continue to buy, but become a new sort of marketing team, sharing their excitement about your content, your company and products with their own networks of friends. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed. You can start small and expand your inbound marketing program as you become comfortable with the process. But be consistent. And have fun with it. 23
  32. 32. Scott A. Miller 314-442-4444 Scott Miller is an Inbound Marketing Author, Strategist and Consultant. He founded Marketing Matters in 1996 and leads a team of Inbound Marketers. He invented the Einstein Inbound Assessment & AGI Pyramid. His clients realize unusually high, measurable ROI. @Tuxmiller @M2Inbound