How to interpret the graphic
Along the top are the four actions (Attract, Convert, Close, Delight) inbound companies must take in order to obtain visitors, leads, customers, and promoters. Along the bottom are the tools companies use to accomplish these actions. (Note the tools are listed under the action where they first come into play, but that’s not the only place they’re applicable! Several tools, like email can be essential in several stages of the methodology.)
What is Inbound?
Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.
People are getting really good at tuning out and not paying attention, and in an age of Netflix and PVR’s where commercials can easily be fast forwarded and where almost everything is on demand, companies are finding that their old fashion ways of marketing are costing more and working less.
ROI of Inbound
Inbound marketing is a methodology that fits in with today’s consumer behaviour, and since 2006 the results have been astounding. In 2015, an MIT Sloan MBA student completed a research study on the ROI (return on investment) of inbound marketing and marketing software and found that companies implementing inbound generated 4.77x more leads within the first.
Inbound Marketing & The Buyer’ s Journey
So, what is inbound marketing and how is it different from traditional marketing or “old fashion” marketing?
Traditional marketing by nature is interruptive and intrusive, forcing advertising and other forms of pitching on people when they don’t want it, like commercials, billboards or cold calls, these tactics used to work well, until we became completely saturated with information, whereas companies are now finding these tactics working less and less and costing more and more.
In today’s world consumers naturally follow a pattern, we call this pattern the “buyer’s journey”. The buyer’s journey is comprised of three stages a consumer takes to purchase a product or service.
By being aware of these stages and the mindset of the consumer at these various stages, we can be the ones to guide our prospects through this journey and be the natural choice when that project is ready to buy.
Where old fashion traditional marketing is a sledgehammer, inbound marketing acts more as a lure or magnet, attracting our prospects rather then interrupting them from something they want to be doing other then listening to us pitch, whether on TV, or the phone.
When we understand our prospects buyers journey we can provide relevant content that informs and educates our prospects on things that relate to our product or service.
The three stages of the buyer’s journey are – Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
In the awareness stage buyers typically realize they have a problem that they need to solve but have not given it a name yet.
A good example of the awareness stage of a prospect for a B2B automated packaging manufacturers might be that their prospect is realizing that they’re behind on production and they can’t keep up with demand.
In this stage the prospect is considering options to remedy the problem he became aware of in the awareness stage of the buyers journey. In our example of the B2B automated packaging manufacturers. The prospect in this stage might be looking for answers such as “do I hire more staff?”, “do I establish a more efficient manual system?”, “do I look at an automated system?”.
In this stage, the prospect has figured out how they are going to remedy the problem and is now looking at their options. In our example of the B2B automated packaging manufacturers, their prospect might be looking at various vendors or financing options.
By providing content for every stage of your prospects journey, and using the content to establish where in the buyer’s journey your prospect is currently in, you’ll find that when you actually do pick up the phone to call your prospects in the consideration stage the call will not be as cold as it usually is, in fact, the prospect is happy to talk to you because at this point they know, like at trust you.
The Inbound Methodology covers each and every step taken, tool used, and lifecycle stage travelled through on the road from a stranger to a customer. It empowers marketers to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight promoters. The new methodology acknowledges that inbound marketing doesn’t just happen, you do it. And you do it using tools and applications that help you create and deliver content that will appeal to precisely the right people (your buyer personas) in the right places (channels) at just the right times (lifecycle stages).