What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is essentially permission based marketing, which looks to capture users who are in the initial “research” phase of their purchasing cycle. Inbound uses technology to automate the scoring and nurturing of these leads into sales qualified prospects.
As a long-term strategy, inbound can be the most cost-effective channel for acquiring new leads. Inbound utilises SEO and content marketing to drive awareness of your solution when prospects are trying to research or actively solve their problem.
If you are only targeting users who are purchase ready aka “sales qualified” then you are missing out on a vast majority of the people who visit your site.
How does your company currently obtain leads?
- Outbound Sales?
- Cold Calling?
- Paying for Leads?
- Buying lists?
Inbound should be an essential part of your marketing activities and can dramatically lower your overall cost per lead and cost per sale.
Foundational Elements of an Inbound Strategy
Search Engine Optimisation is a core component of Inbound. Once the “Primary”, “Secondary” and long-tail terms are found and chosen, you will use content marketing (blogging, guides, ebooks, videos, infographics, etc.) to target prospects when they are in the “discovery” or research phase of their purchasing decision cycle. Instead of relying solely on the highly competitive “primary” terms (Mortgage Broker) we would target long tail searches such as “How much house can I afford?” (1,600 searches/month) or “How to choose the right mortgage.”
Lead Magnets are tools we use to collect data (contact info) in exchange for information. Lead Magnets often come in the form of Guides or E-books, but can also be any form of media a prospect can engage with. Depending on how users reach the site (paid, organic, referral, brand term, email, etc.) a vast majority of users will not be ready to purchase or commit. This fact is why conversion rates on B2B websites are in the single digits. We utilise lead magnets to maximise the “stickiness” of a site and engagement with a prospect. In the past, a business might try to entice users with a newsletter, etc. When we’ve done our SEO keyword research and identified our customer’s motivations we can create lead magnets which are gated (must provide info, to download or access) and targeted to their purchase intent. Example: “5 questions to ask your mortgage advisor” or “5 strategies for to help accelerate your home buying goals”.
Once an email is collected, you will begin the task of nurturing users into a purchasing state. Email nurture streams are a series of emails that are sent at timed intervals to engage and educate the users. The goal of the email nurture stream is to build trust, engagement and further qualify the leads. Nurture streams can be used to correct and address misconceptions and objections which your sales teams commonly encounter.
Marketing automation tools allow you to apply a score to leads based on the leads interactions, behaviour and demographic data. With lead scoring, organisations can observe a prospect’s behaviour to determine when a lead is getting “warmer” and is turning from a lead to a sales qualified lead. If a user engages with emails, downloads multiple lead magnets, volunteers a phone number and notifies you of when they are looking to make a purchase decision, this prospect may be sales ready.
For inbound to be effective, an organisation must rely on automation and scoring to target the correct leads. The default reaction of most sales teams is to reach out to all leads in the pipeline immediately. With Inbound you will be widening the net and capturing more leads, some of which will never become clients. Organisations must rely on scoring an automation to allow the engaged leads to “rise to the top” and only to contact those who have shown the most potential and velocity.