Which came first, inbound marketing or the methodology? It's a little less philosophical than the chicken and the egg, but still a question that's worth asking as we continue our Intro to Inbound series. Ultimately, the inbound methodology is a what describes the process of inbound marketing. Marketers were using inbound marketing tactics before there was a method to the madness, but with everything laid out in front of you, you can really see how it all fits together and works to grow your business.
Attracting people is perhaps what marketers are best at. Through advertisements on television and in magazines or with lavish sponsored events and celebrity endorsements or even telemarketing.
These types of tactics cast a wide net, attracting plenty of attention, but it can be difficult to target them to specific markets or personas. Inbound marketing is focused on attracting the right types of people through carefully constructed personas and lots of relevant content.
Once someone from your persona group has visited your website, you want them to become a lead. In order to convert a visitor into a lead, you have to offer them something of value. This is where your content offers come in. When you are able to create inbound content that really speaks to your personas, these visitors become willing to give something for it -- namely their email address and some relevant facts about themselves that will help you to further target your content.
Calls to Action are essential to this conversion process and we will talk about them in a later installment. What's important to know at this point is that when you have a visitor, the path for him or her to become a lead should be clearly marked on your site.
As you are able to close leads into customers, you will really start to see the positive revenue difference that inbound marketing can make.
In order to turn a lead into a customer, you have to show them that not only are you one solution to their problem, you are the best solution. When buyers are in the decision phase of their buyer's journey, you can have email workflows and CRM software making it easy and efficient to keep in touch and answer any questions these prospects might have.
Ultimately, inbound marketing is about creating relationships - with your leads and your customers. That's why once you close a customer, your inbound strategy doesn't simply end. You then have to work not only to deliver on the promises you made during your final sale, but also to continue to prove your company as a thought leader, a trustworthy resource, and an entity that they want to do business with. The delight phase of the inbound methodology is essential because when you delight your customers, they will become your biggest promoters.
How is this different from classic marketing tactics?
So how does the inbound marketing methodology differ from traditional marketing tactics? After all, you were always aiming to earn more customers, right? That is true, of course, but the inbound marketing methodology is different because when it starts to work, it will continue to generate customer for your and not just from your content. If you can master the critical last step of delighting your customers by continuing to offer them relevance and attention, you can turn them into champions for your company, who will in turn attract more people so that the cycle can start over.