New marketing trends are appearing constantly. Inbound marketing, at first glance, may seem like no exception. But this strategy has become a vital paradigm across many sectors, be it in sales, technology, non-profit, or something else.
What is Inbound Marketing?
It is a strategy designed to help brands become more attractive so that customers come to them.
In many ways, this way of inbound thinking is a break from the past, where customers had to ask for information about prices, product details, and more. Now, buyers can do a large portion of the buying process themselves online.
To answer the question “what is inbound marketing,” Sales Artillery illustrates this through the example of a car.
Years ago, if you were looking to purchase a vehicle, you’d have to visit a dealership in person to get all the information that’s needed to make a decision. Now, however, you can find just about everything you need on the dealer’s website. You can research price points, add-ons, and availability with the click of a mouse. You can also find reviews and ask questions without having ever made contact with the dealership directly.
Thus, the buyer’s perception of a product or service is influenced before they ever formally engage in the purchasing process.
What is Inbound Marketing: Principles
It is a set of principles to help a company adapt to this changing situation by shifting the consumer’s relationship with the product.
To achieve this organic relationship, initiated first and foremost by the customer, the seller must adopt an inbound market strategy. This strategy is generally defined in three or four phases, typically categorized as attraction, engagement, action, and satisfaction. Many inbound thinkers visualize this process as a “flywheel” to show that energy can push or stall the process.
Each phase must be successful to sustain momentum through the following steps:
- Attraction: A targeted customer base is drawn to the product through relevant digital means.
- Engagement: The process in which customers are onboarded to the product and engaged throughout the buying process.
- Action: This is the customer’s purchase decision, including the momentum leading right up to the action.
- Satisfaction: This is the post-purchase decision that helps the customer transform from purchaser to an advocate for the product.
What is Inbound Marketing: Strategies
This phase is focused on bringing targeted customers who are more likely to engage the product and be satisfied with the final phase. A crucial point here is that customers typically don’t like feeling “marketed” through interruptive messages such as telemarketing calls, unsolicited emails, TV ads, and other means. This is a crucial shift in a digital age where people have more control and selectivity over what they can consume.
Due to this situation, technology and digital tools must be continuously leveraged and evaluated at this stage. Using analytics to intelligently target a desirable customer base, for example, can be incorporated in the marketing strategy.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game in the attraction strategy.
After an initial attraction to the brand, the customer typically wants a seamless engagement process that empowers them to take action easily while also giving them control over their choices.
There are specific strategies used to pull a customer in from the attraction phase to a deeper connection with the product. This may look like seamless landing pages, intuitive forms, calls-to-action, and more. Calls-to-action must be made with the customer in mind as they inform the customer what step(s) they should take next to engage.
What compelling message is the customer seeking from the marketing they’re exposed to? Inbound marketing emphasizes value above all else as a marketing strategy. SEO, social media, blogging, and other means can increase brand awareness and attraction to bring people to you.
This is the customer’s purchase decision or action that solidifies their relationship with the company. On both the front-end for the customer and the back-end for the company, action steps should be clear, concise, and specifically designed for the customer. Expectations for a seamless, organic buying process have been established in the attraction and engagement processes, so the action steps must meet that perception.
Incorporating a customer relations management (CRM) system can enable user-friendly calls-to-action. These CRM systems help companies collect customer information and track engagement, action, and satisfaction all in one place. Basically, this management tool can track the customer’s relationship with the company.
Companies should not end their marketing once the customer has made a purchase. From this point on, customers should be encouraged to become ambassadors of the brand by sharing their opinions, knowledge, and experience with others.
Marketers and technology specialists should consider this situation as they engage a customer after the product by providing opportunities to submit reviews and post on social media to help those who are entering the attraction phase.
Do you want to master the essential disciplines in Digital Marketing? Check out the Digital Marketing Specialist course now.
Fast Track Your Career in Inbound Marketing
Learn the practical aspects of inbound and digital marketing by signing up for Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Digital Marketing. Provided in partnership with Purdue University, this comprehensive online bootcamp will help you to learn abut the top digital marketing tools and techniques through live, interavtive learning, online self-paced courses, masterclasses from industry and academic experts at Facebook and Purdue, and through real-world case studies from Harvard Business Publishing.