What is it about?
It is a set of actions that attracts potential customers, turns them into prospects, later into clients, and finally helps you keep them satisfied so that they become promoters. This can be achieved in three steps:
Firstly, define your buyer personas. These are semi-fictional characters that represent your potential customers, and to whom you will address all content and messages.
- Secondly, plan and produce the content that the buyer persona will consume during the four stages of the buyer journey (attract, convert, close, delight). The right content will lead them from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
Thirdly, all communication has to portray value, by answering questions, clarifying doubts, and providing solutions.
Precisely, the idea is to attract the customer with content that is relevant to them, that brings some benefit, helps with their problems or challenges, are educational, and that, overall, make the customer consider a certain product or service as a solution to their concerns.
Businesses and brands don’t go knocking door by door with flyers in the search for qualified leads any longer, but instead invite them to approach the company themselves as they are driven by their interest and curiosity.
Outbound: How does it differentiate from Inbound?
When we think about marketing and sales traditional models, the great majority of businesses still practice outbound marketing, the most traditional type of marketing.
Outbound focuses on pushing the product towards the consumer so that they discover what it is about and its benefits. In a time when there was no other option, flooding the online space with advertisements and messages in the mass means of communication was frequent. However, once the practice of segmenting customers settled, specific actions for each target segment or niche were implemented.
This traditional model faces many challenges:
- Offers through emails, newsletters, cold calling without knowing the context our audience is in.
- Obsolete databases
- The majority of the email receivers do not find any value in its content
Generally, it is believed that Inbound and Outbound methodologies are against each other, but we believe that they complement each other, at least in the first 18 months of marketing efforts. After that, you will be able to
- Stop reaching out to the total of your database: because you will know who to reach out to in every stage of the sales funnel.
- Reduce to the minimum your investment in advertising: because if you produce relevant content, you will be found without the need of paying for it.
Inbound Marketing as the main strategy
According to a recent study from HubSpot, Inbound Marketing is the main strategy for 79% of North America and 75% of Latin America. Moreover, the global average is 74%, which makes evident that inbound marketing has become the most popular marketing strategy.
The top three priorities for marketing specialists are improving SEO (or organic search positioning) (59%), process automation (52%) and content creation (47%). It is important to mention that the latter two will influence positively in the SEO performance.
Taking into consideration that Google (where around 92% of all internet searches take place) changes its indexation algorithms constantly, the marketing teams must remain alert and updated to changes.
Finally, the study indicates that 62% of marketers consider that their marketing strategy is efficient. What happens with those marketers that implement inbound? Well, their confidence level rises to 75%.
Some other interesting findings in the study by HubSpot are:
- Companies are three times more likely to obtain a higher ROI with inbound marketing campaigns compared to those with outbound marketing campaigns.
- Inbound Marketing generates 54% more sales opportunities than outbound.
- The sales opportunities generated by outbound marketing are 49% more costly than those generated with inbound.
So far, so good, but… How much time does it take to see the results of inbound marketing?
Stage 1: SEO success (from 3 to 9 months)
This is the typical timeframe for SEO with or without Inbound. But in relation to the Inbound methodology specifically, it is likely that the content that is produced in the first three months doesn’t transform the business from one day to the other. Frustrating? Surely! “No one reads my blogs” is the typical phrase used in this stage. But with time you will gain relevant traffic to your web, which will generate more direct inquiries via email and telephone. Long gone will be the days of generic questions asked by curious web visitors.
Stage 2: MQL success (from 6 to 12 months)
The continuous content production helps to generate more relevant traffic: higher quality visitors in the different stages of the buyer journey but also drives a continuous increase of inquiries, caused by a healthy SEO. Moreover, generating relevant content for your audience will help you educate and convert those potential clients that are almost ready to make the purchase decision. This can be translated into having numerous MQL (marketing qualified lead).
Stage 3: Inbound success (from 9 to 24 months)
If you keep on investing in excellent content, by the end of the first year you can expect what the majority would describe as “Inbound Success”, beyond the SEO improvement and MQLs generation. This is the “full funnel” stage where the marketing and sales funnels connect and sync, without any delays in interaction. You will achieve that prospects find and interact with the brand or business multiple times through multiple digital channels
Managing complexity: orchestration
Marketing automation tools (an integration platform that manages multiple systems) take on a leading role if you want your marketing team focused on selling and nurturing the prospects that enter the funnel. It takes less time to monitor multiple tools if they are organized on a unique dashboard. Also, it takes less time to make reports, which are used to measure progress and keep on improving.
What company does not want to sell more? Which sales team wouldn’t be happy to receive prospects?
The Inbound Marketing methodology brings value to the process of nurturing potential clients and leading them to buy. The sales team as well as the marketing team will focus on one objective: to sell more.
HubSpot is one of the automation platforms that has grown the most in the past two years. The team at HAL Company worked three years in the implementation of Marketo and we also analyzed Eloqua. Nonetheless, the user-friendly interface and the integrated AI make HubSpot our favorite.
As certified Platinum Partners, as well as recognized Advanced Implementation Certified Partners, we are satisfied with the results that are seen in our clients’ businesses. We encourage you to try it out.
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