Inbound Marketing, what it is and how it works
In a previous article in our blog we have already partially covered this topic, in particular when we explored what it is and how to build a Landing Page.
But Inbound Marketing is a very large world, of which the Landing Page is only a small portion. The term was born in 2005 by Hubspot, an American company that wanted to describe the phenomenon in these terms:
“Unlike old outbound marketing methods like buying ads, buying mailing lists, and begging for contacts, Inbound Marketing focuses on creating quality content that draws people to your company and product, where they spontaneously want to be. By aligning the content you publish with the interests of the customer, it is natural to attract inbound traffic that you can convert, close, and delight over time.”
Inbound Marketing is a real process that follows the entire product life cycle, from promotion to purchase.
What does this mean in practical terms?
First of all, in the definition of the target audience (the so-called Buyer Personas ). And then in the creation of quality contents. And by quality contents we mean personalized content, i.e. contents created specifically for the target audience, that satisfies needs – informative or concrete – and that are a solution to real problems.
Once we understand this, it is time for the second point: to align our interests with those of the target audience. Through social networks, blogs, websites, landing pages, and much more, we will be able to ensure that our content reaches the public. Understanding which channels and tools to use often determines the fate of the campaign, and a focus on timing and coincidence – in terms of anniversaries, current issues, and times of year – certainly doesn’t hurt. In short, in addition to the content, Inbound Marketing also looks at the context.
But what is a buying cycle? Essentially it is a four phases process:
- Attract: bringing people who may potentially be interested in your brand to the side of your barricade. How to capture the right people? By identifying their specific problems, their life habits, their goals.
- Convert: being so convincing that they turn them into contacts, i.e. leave you sensitive information such as name and email address. To achieve this, however, you have to give something in return. What? Preferably, contents by download.
- Close: when the contact becomes a customer. But not all contacts choose to buy so quickly. To keep their interest alive, you will need to continue to engage them with quality contents.
- Keep: it is currently much easier buying from someone who is already a customer, rather than someone who is just a quick contact. If the customer estimates the brand, it will create a miraculous chain effect, called word of mouth (digital or not), which will involve many other users.
With this process the “cold” target audience will turn into a “warm” audience, i.e. promoters and fans.
But now let’s see the tools. Each phase has its own.
To attract them there are three tools: blogging (it allows us to show the expertise of the brand, thus influencing the public opinion), search engines (SEO and Google AdWords), and Social Media. To convert we take advantage of Call-to-Action (links or buttons that lead the user to act on our interest), Landing Pages, and Form. If you want to close, you will use Newsletter and DEM, Community Management (maintaining relations with the public), and Social Media. Finally, to maintain the acquired clients, we will nurture content with the same tools as in the previous phase.
In short, Inbound Marketing is a method, a process, that must be thought in detail for it to work. And certainly, Storytelling also has an important role in involving the audience (discover here the article we wrote about it).