Inbound marketing is one of the many disciplines of marketing. The term has been increasingly propagated in the online marketing scene for several years. But what does this discipline actually include and how does inbound marketing work? Should an average marketing department deal with the topic? Many companies see the advantage of this form of marketing in the subtle approach to customers using high-quality content instead of bold advertising messages. In the following, we want to take a detailed look at inbound marketing and also examine which application options are available and which success factors need to be considered.
Definition: This is What Inbound Marketing is all About
Inbound Marketing assumes that the customer is interested in a certain product anyway. And exactly this gap between interest and finding the product is closed by inbound marketing. If the customer is looking for a certain product, you can get a clear advantage with your offer through successful inbound marketing.
The tool provider Hubspot, which has essentially established itself as a content marketing platform for websites, has been pushing the term inbound marketing for several years. Hubspot itself defines the term as a technology that aims to be found by the customer and not that marketing activities are structured towards the customer in order to activate them (outbound marketing).
But is this really so revolutionarily new? In marketing, we basically differentiate between different phases of action when addressing the customer. Classic advertising aims to activate the customer, raise awareness, and thus activate customers to take action, such as informing or buying. In contrast, we speak of sales when we target customers.
Inbound marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years, which can mainly be explained by the “subliminal” character. For example, while email marketing or sales marketing actively approaches customers or users, inbound marketing is different. Here the user already has the necessary interest and only needs to provide you with high-quality and useful content. Compared to the above forms of outbound marketing, there is a greater chance of success with inbound marketing.
You also may want to read our some of the related Marketing Guidelines.
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Inbound Marketing vs. Lead management
In the call center context, a distinction is made between the terms inbound calls and outbound calls. Inbound campaigns or measures are based on the idea that the customer logs in and activates the campaign, while in outbound campaigns the customer is actively addressed. So the term inbound marketing is not really new. If you take it exactly, the Hubspot approach described above is actually not a marketing approach at all, but rather a communication approach, i. H. Hubspot greatly reduces marketing to online communication via a website. Usually, however, this is exactly our basic understanding of online marketing, i.e. all activities of a company along with the activation, information, transaction via digital media chain.
At its core, Hubspot has established a new term for lead management. Since a simple CRM system is established in Hubspot, the context can also be created very easily here: Leads are generated via various measures, further qualified on the website with the help of Hubspot, and are then available for further processing. Therefore, the inbound marketing term after Hubspot is more synonymous with the term lead management (lead generation, lead nurturing, lead qualification). This makes inbound marketing a part of performance marketing.
Inbound Marketing: How can it be Implemented and What should be Considered?
The key to success in inbound marketing is content. Only with high-quality content can visitors be taken by the hand so far that they then make a purchase. The texts and content can add value, for example, by integrating images, tables, or infographics. The more interesting information the user already receives at a glance, the better the chances are that he will go deeper into the text – the first important step to lead. In addition, inbound marketing also aims to guide as many visitors as possible to their own topic. The reason for this is obvious: the more visitors find their way to your content, the greater the chances of a sale. So it makes perfect sense to combine inbound marketing with social networks.
Increase reach for inbound marketing through social media
Social networks are not only a meeting point for almost everyone but above all a huge marketing machine. As a rule, every site operator can increase its reach very well through social networks if he adheres to the right guidelines and approaches. In connection with inbound marketing, the approach of multi-value content for social networks can easily be adopted. Infographics and the like are often useful here since they can be used to quickly generate attention in the news feed of users.
Learn more about Social Media Marketing by reading our guidelines.
At the same time, you should also keep in mind that multi-value content in a search engine is usually not comparable to multi-value content in a social network. You should make sure that your article goes “viral” and is read by as many people as possible. A few dry facts about this or that product will hardly help. Instead, you should offer entertaining content that people would like to share with their friends. If these approaches are implemented correctly, the combination of inbound marketing and social networks can cause a surge in sales and leads.
However, keep in mind: Social media marketing is not child’s play, but rather time-consuming. After all, it’s not about just shouting content out into the world. Rather, it requires strategic planning and continuous implementation. In addition, a kind of community should be formed, which in turn requires almost daily contact with the users.
What is the Inbound Marketing Steps
Inbound marketing follows a multi-stage process that ends with sales. Inbound marketing takes into account the fact that the customer goes through different phases in the buying cycle and therefore has to be addressed differently.
This phase is about attracting users’ attention with useful content. Good keyword research can create content that appeals to users, for example, because they solve a specific problem. For example, recruiting works by posting relevant content on the blog and sharing content via social media.
Now it is important to convert the visitors of his content into leads. Leads can e.g. collected via forms, call-to-actions, and landing pages. So, potential customers, B. asked to leave their contact details to download a free e-book or white paper.
After attracting visitors and generating leads, it is important to turn them into sales. For this purpose, the leads can be addressed via personalized emails.
In order to convert new customers into regular customers, it is necessary to maintain his network and actively retain customers. Enthusiastic customers can become brand ambassadors.
You can learn more about maintaining customer loyalty by reading our User-retention Guide
Added Value Content for Inbound Marketing: How do I do it?
When looking at the requirements for the multi-value content in inbound marketing, it is noticeable that these agree fairly closely with the requirements in the area of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is a very simple reason for this because SEO of course also aims in a certain sense at high-quality content with added value. For inbound marketing, for example, it is helpful to set alt tags for the product images and other graphics. These enable the graphics to be found using the search engine’s image search. In addition, attention should be paid to the metadata of the article. These short snippets can be seen in the search engine and play a major role in attracting visitors. An interesting snippet aims to present users with short and concise key points that arouse their curiosity.
Also, we must say that Holistic Search Engine Optimization can be more easily integrated with Inbound Marketing. Because, thanks to the usage of Social Media Channels, Branding Articles and Shares along with Local, Image, GIF, Web Search and Page Speed, Server Optimization, CRO, and Click-path Optimization, Eye-tracking Optimization, Inbound Marketing can be improved further.
As Holistic SEOs, we will continue to improve our perspective and guidelines for Inbound Marketing.