Introduction to inbound marketing
Create growth and attract customers with inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing can help redefine your entire marketing strategy and give you new and different ways to grow and attract customers. With inbound marketing, you turn the classic marketing approach on its head and focus on creating content that helps and attracts users.
Here we give you an insight into what kind of size inbound marketing is and how it can help your company to grow.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through informative and relevant content and thus creating value at each stage of the customer journey.
There is no longer an emphasis on telling the user to “buy, buy, buy”, but instead the focus is on helping the customer find the information they are looking for. By using inbound marketing, potential customers can find you through Google, blogs, social media and other relevant platforms.
Contrary to outbound marketing, also known as more traditional marketing, inbound marketing does not have to fight to get a potential customer’s attention. By creating content that is targeted at solving the needs and challenges of your desired customers, you attract qualified prospects and build credibility and recognition for your brand. In short – away with all the noise and in with the relevant content.
Briefly about HubSpot
Throughout the next sections, you will come across HubSpot several times. HubSpot is a system that ties marketing, sales, service, operations, CMS and CRM together in one portal. They are behind the concept of inbound marketing, and therefore you should have the opportunity to briefly see what HubSpot’s thoughts are.
Inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing
Outbound marketing is what we also know as traditional marketing. These are the well-known marketing approaches that have been around for many years – TV and radio advertising, billboards, banner and display ads, newspaper ads, telemarketing, etc. are all examples of outbound marketing.
In short, any content where you try to push a message into the heads of a target audience that is expected to be interested in exactly what you have to say.
The State of Inbound 2017, from HubSpot points out that marketers point to paid advertising such as billboard, newspaper and TV ads as the most overrated marketing tactic.
Outbound marketing has, unsurprisingly, taken quite a beating over the past 10 years, and the effectiveness of the majority of all outbound marketing ads has dropped drastically. Overexposure to the consumer has led to more advertisements being ignored today, and it has become significantly more difficult to get through the golden eye of the needle – and to where you get attention.
We have tried to gather some of the differences between inbound and outbound marketing in this overview.
- Focuses on the needs of the consumer
- Builds on the attraction of interested visitors
- Interactive and focus on dialogue and relationship
- Engages the target group
- Often seen as blogs, social media posts, SEO and newsletters
- Pull communication – we attract consumers via content they seek out
- Focuses on the product’s characteristics
- Pushed out to everyone, regardless of interest or not
- Relationless and one-way messages
- Exposes products to the target group
- Often seen as banner ads, telemarketing and newspaper and TV advertisements
- Push communication – we push our message out to consumers
What does the overview show?
In this overview, you can see that the general focus is on creating some content that aims to be relevant to one’s target group.
With inbound marketing, you try to create content that is in demand among your target group, after which they will seek out your website to read the content. With outbound marketing, on the other hand, you try to push a message out to a target group that you think is interested in your products.
However, it must be said that it can rarely be simply painted in black and white.
Most companies that practice an inbound marketing strategy also need to use elements from outbound marketing. For example, if I have written a new blog, but do not have enough daily traffic on my website yet, it can make very good sense to promote it via social media with paid advertising.
The goal is, of course, for the article to generate visitors via strong SEO – and thus get a top position on Google – but this takes time, so if you want to increase efficiency, it can be a good idea to promote the content in this way.
What is more effective – inbound marketing or outbound marketing?
Where does it make the most sense to put the energy? Where should we prioritize our marketing dollars? It is a question that is often asked when discussions are held in management. Therefore, it is also a relevant discussion whether to prioritize inbound or outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing has for many years dominated the marketing picture and is still considered by the common man as the classic view of marketing. But is promotion through advertising and email list acquisition enough to generate sales? Email programs are getting better and better at sorting out spam, and ad blockers are removing more and more banner ads. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is among the hottest marketing trends.
Every year, HubSpot publishes the State of Inbound, which collects data and knowledge from over 1,600 marketers and analyzes how marketing has evolved over the year.
Ask yourself these 3 questions – if you can answer yes, you are well on your way to thinking the “inbound marketing” mindset.
- Do I solve people’s problems?
- Can I make recommendations and be helpful?
- Do I reflect my company’s values throughout the process? (e.g. an enthusiastic, warm and funny dialogue)
It doesn’t have to be either or…
As I said, you have to remember that some outbound marketing measures can have a place in an inbound marketing strategy, if you want to increase brand awareness in a short time, for example, or if you want to promote some new content you have created.
Display advertising, known as advertising via Facebook or Google, has come a long way with the possibilities in their advertising platforms and to a large extent gives the advertiser the opportunity to create targeted advertising, where the investment can be tracked down to the smallest penny.
Ad types such as retargeting, lookalike audiences and lead ads usually deliver high efficiency for the advertiser. These newer platforms are gaining ground to a large extent and are pushing the traditional advertising types such as billboards, newspaper, magazine and TV ads to their knees.
This type of advertising relies on inbound marketing, where the focus is on showing messages to such a targeted segment that there is a high probability that they will find it relevant. It is essential to emphasize that it must be included strategically in one of the inbound marketing phases.
This is how HubSpot defines the difference
In this video, HubSpot creator Brian Halligan tries to explain how he sees the future of outbound and inbound marketing. It must be emphasized that HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform, and therefore he is naturally an advocate for this.
Therefore, his points are still relevant to take into consideration when you have to choose whether inbound marketing might be right for your company.
Key takeaways about inbound vs. outbound
Briefly summarized, the statistics show that inbound marketing provides higher efficiency for your marketing spend. At the same time, it provides more qualified and hot sales leads, which means you can turn a higher proportion of your leads into customers. This does not mean that inbound marketing is automatically the right solution for you.
If your target group is not, for example, general users of the internet, then inbound marketing is not a good approach, as it is based on an online approach.
Many companies combine inbound and outbound marketing, and there are also still companies that have a good effect from an outbound marketing strategy – for example, webshops with low-priced products where the purchase journey is short.
The most important point is to lay down a clear strategy, set clear goals and analyze the results – this way you can ensure the best effect and measure whether you are on the right track.
How to get started with inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is based on “the inbound methodology”. Here you focus on your persona and the customer journey, which should turn unknown people into strong customers.
We want traffic to our site. But what is the purpose of getting anyone to visit your site? You want visitors who can probably turn into leads and ultimately customers. Happy customers. It is in the attraction phase that we must ensure this.
By creating relevant content that hits your target group at the right time, you attract exactly the visitors you need. And the right time, when is it? It is when your target group has challenges or other needs that you can give them answers to.
With a strong content strategy, you can hit your target group when they begin their digital customer journey, which usually starts with getting an answer to the aforementioned challenge or need. Therefore, it requires a strong SEO effort, so that you actually come up with exactly the terms that your customers will search for.
We must therefore have control over our buying persona, so that we can hit precisely. Then we can start producing our amazing content that will drive traffic and draw attention to our brand.
Conversion of visitors
Now I’ve attracted visitors, so what? It is in the conversion phase that we turn our visitors into leads. This means we collect some information about them, usually in exchange for some content we’ve created.
Here we again use our content marketing strategy. Does our persona want an e-book, a free analysis, the option to receive blog posts or something else? How you offer this content can be different – most often a lead form is used (a form that collects your information), but it can also be a live chat that creates dialogue, the option to book a meeting, the offer of a call – that depends on your industry.
The most important thing is that we get the most basic information from our visitors in exchange for them getting relevant content from us. This way we can continue the dialogue with our new leads.
The importance of having a CRM system to collect and keep track of your leads cannot be stressed enough. Read more about the importance of a CRM system here
From leads to customers
Yes – I’ve got a lot of good leads, but how do I turn them into customers? Here it is important that tools are used that can push our topic from lead to customer. Some companies have different sales and marketing departments. Others have the same people sit in both areas.
No matter what, our CRM system comes back into focus here, so we can keep an eye on what information our lead has accessed. First, through lead nurturing, we must ensure that our lead has received the information he/she was looking for. It may also be that there is something further that we can help with? Have we perhaps written an exciting blog post that can provide additional information to the ebook that was downloaded? Then he/she must have it!
It is important that we use our CRM system so that, according to best inbound marketing practice, we can guide based on the stage our lead is at. How many blogs have been visited, has the person watched our videos, is there a topic that the person has read extra about? Did we set up an email automation that worked well?
By being able to talk to our lead about the needs he/she has, we can have a sharper dialogue – and ultimately convert to a customer faster. With lead scoring, we can even see in our CRM system when our users are ready to be converted from leads to customers – is that smart? (Psst. it ensures more sales and lowers our costs = win)
From customers to ambassadors
The entire inbound philosophy is based on the mindset of creating sensational content for others. In a world where there are greater expectations of your company’s service than ever before, funnily enough it is also more important than ever to not only nurture the relationship with your customers, but strengthen it.
Happy customers buy more, cooperate with you for longer, recommend you to their friends and happily tell the rest of the world about you. It’s very delicious – and it’s also worth the money.
The White House’s customer care department found that it cost 6-7x more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. Despite this, a measurement shows that only 7% of all consumers have had experiences with companies where their service exceeded their expectations*.
In short: Successful inbound marketing is not only about attracting relevant visitors, turning them into qualified leads and ensuring that they become customers. It’s about providing an all-encompassing extraordinary inbound experience, both for potential and existing customers.
Set goals and create growth
Any good marketing strategy should have some clear objectives. Without goals, we neither know what we are working towards nor whether we have reached what we are working towards. It can be scary to set goals if it is the first time you are working with it. But the effect of that is just that much greater. It is absolutely essential that when working with inbound marketing, there are some specific goals that we must set.
How many people visit my page?
The number of visits to your page is one of the most important KPIs you can track in inbound marketing. It is important to have an expectation of the number of visits to our site, as it tells something about whether our content attracts visitors or not. It is also an indicator of how successful our SEO efforts have been and whether our target audience finds the content we share on email and social media interesting.
How many leads do I generate?
A lead is a visitor on whom we collect some information. We may receive a visitor’s email and name in exchange for them downloading our lead generation e-book. This lead is valuable to us as it gives us the ability to send emails going forward.
This way we can share new blogs and other knowledge material and hopefully make our “lead” more interested in our work. Therefore, the amount of leads is also important to us. If our visitors leave the page without us converting them to a lead, the likelihood of them revisiting the page is extremely low.
Therefore, it is essential that we measure how many of our visits are converted into leads. It also says something about how relevant our content offers are for the recipient, whether our CTAs are visible enough, and whether our landing pages are optimized for obtaining leads.
How many leads become customers?
There are a lot of goals you can work with in inbound marketing. You often work to move leads further down the sales funnel and turn them into sales-ready leads and from here turn them into customers. It is of course one of our most important KPIs to measure how many leads we can convert into customers. Otherwise, we get no return for our efforts.
These are just examples of some of the goals that can make a lot of sense to set. And with those goals, you have a good basis for working strategically and purposefully towards some successes.
Set goals with the SMART model
To set these goals, we use the SMART model, which is an obvious model for the purpose. The SMART model stands for
- S – Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve? Your objective must clearly and clearly communicate what needs to happen and where it needs to happen.
- M – Measurable: You must have concrete criteria for the goals you want to achieve.
- A – Attainable: They must be realistic and achievable, but of course also ambitious!
- R – Relevant: Your goals must be relevant to your company and the industry in which you work.
- T – Timely: You must have a deadline by which you will have achieved your goals.
Use the SMART model with these assumptions
It is particularly relevant to note how clear time limits have been set on the various figures, so that there is a clear provision for how large an increase is desired. It is our recommendation that you not only set an end date, but also have time limits on your goals, if possible.
Also remember to always describe what the status is at the start of the measurement and what you want it increased to. An example of this is seen in the sentence (starting with 1000 per month and increasing to 1600 per month). This gives a clearer impression of the goal and how far you have reached during the period.
The collection of data for these goals can be done with a variety of tools. For example, you can use Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Pixels, LinkedIn Insights, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Hotjar, or whatever tools you want. All can be used to collect various data points that can help you analyze your goals, whatever they may be.
It must therefore be stated that in today’s digital world there is almost nothing that cannot be measured. Whatever you want to investigate, there is probably a tool for it.
So don’t let your imagination set limits. If you want to collect everything in one platform, then HubSpot is the most recognized CRM platform on the market and our recommended tool for working strategically with inbound marketing and goal setting.
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