When digital professionals talk about inbound marketing, we believe that most are clear about what it is and what its most important advantages are.
Although reality tells us otherwise, today many of our clients get a little lost when they hear us talk about various technical terms or anglicisms related to the digital world and this is one of them.
So what is the definition of inbound marketing?
This is mainly the theoretical and philosophical idea that we are going to address in this post … But as most of you who regularly read my blog know, I do not like to be left with only the basic and elementary.
And as for this technique and other digital strategies, I see much more productive and interesting trying to always seek to offer content that provides extra informative value.
Therefore, today we will not only talk about definitions, but also about advantage, related terms, examples, etc. In other words, we will seek to look together a little beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. Or what is more or less the same:
The Keys To Inbound Marketing and Its Advantages
What is inbound marketing? What advantages does it bring? What are the most important concepts to know about this discipline? What does lead scoring consist of? And lead nurturing? Are there concrete examples of this approach?
These are some of the questions that are most mentioned in many of the questions that I have been asked on the subject and I could not help but answer them in this article …
Defining inbound marketing: Those who follow me know that I like to start things from the beginning. In fact, who doesn’t? As well. To start at the beginning in this case is to define this very interesting discipline.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
To understand the concept of inbound marketing, I recommend that you “reset” what you have learned so far in terms of advertising.
This “deletion and new account” is not intended to decrease your knowledge of how to reach the consumer, it would be missing more, but to get rid of the traditional way of doing it, based very often on the intrusive and not on what is truly of interest to the recipient of advertising.
Inbound marketing is a business marketing approach that is based on generating relevant content for the target audience we are targeting in order to make it a customer, but considering its context as the main factor in our success.
It is mainly applied to online environments, although it also has its application in the offline environment.
A common process of inbound marketing is the one we can observe in this infographic of The Valley:
Origins And Need To Do Inbound Marketing
Something that is often obvious is that it is necessary to carry out actions in a strategic and truly coordinated way. And the online aspect of the MKT does not have to be an exception, of course. On the contrary.
You probably know what I’m talking about, since surely on some occasion you will have seen yourself working in an environment where you invest in marketing channels but in a way in which real coordination is conspicuous by its absence. It is not like this?
As well. This was one of the topics raised by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah , two entrepreneurs who founded Hubspot , the company that created the concept of inbound marketing.
Brian Halligan, CEO and Co-Founder of Hubspot
Halligan and Shah even went beyond wondering about the issue of coordinating the channels of a marketing plan and also considered how to create a system that – to put it in some way – managed to close the loop and was not overly dependent on a direct economic investment in advertising platforms.
Inbound marketing starts from these premises.
What Are The Keys To Inbound Marketing?
All right. That said, let’s get into what the keys to inbound marketing really are or, what is the same, what characteristics it really has.
These four are the most important:
- Its fundamental axis is the creation of relevant content adapted to the context of each type of target consumer.
- It does not only stay in the capture of visits, but also allows to ” close the circle ” through lead scoring and lead nurturing.
- When direct economic investment disappears, its positive effects also do not disappear.
- Get the cost of the lead and the customer to decrease a lot, increasing in addition to the customer lifetime value, which means what the customer gives us during his relationship with our company.
Inbound marketing is not synonymous with attraction marketing
An important clarification. Inbound marketing is often used as a synonym for attraction MKT, but they are not exactly the same.
In fact, the MKT of attraction would be framed within the first phase of inbound marketing , which consists of the generation of content aimed at capturing the attention of the target consumer we are pursuing.
In this sense, there are other phases in inbound, such as the valuation of the received leads and their maturation, known as lead scoring and lead nurturing, respectively. Later, we will delve into both concepts.
That is to say, the idea of the name of “attraction marketing” , as it indicates, is none other than getting the attention of who our clients could be, and then working on that attention to turn it into real interest so that, or we end Buying directly, or be willing to leave us your data, thus becoming a lead for us.
Later, we will take advantage of this data to bring this prospect closer to our client. Everything will depend on the phase of the purchase funnel in which it is at the moment of interacting with our content.
Inbound marketing is not the same as content marketing
Inbound marketing is also not synonymous with content marketing . Before explaining it, I would like to make the following point: I am aware that all these concepts, as I commented in the previous point about the difference between inbound and attraction MKT, may seem almost the same, but I assure you they are not.
The nuances are important!
Having said this, I now explain the reason for the difference between the two concepts:
It is based on generating content in a strategic way for certain business objectives, which can be, for example, getting leads or direct sales in the case of e-commerce, among others.
Therefore, as you can deduce, the content MKT does not close the process, since it does not include the valuation and lead treatment phases.
So this is a strategy within a much more comprehensive approach called inbound marketing.
>> You may be interested to see: What is Artificial Intelligence And How To Implement It In Your Digital Strategy?
Lead Scoring and Lead Nurturing: What Do They Mean?
Before I said that content marketing is actually part of inbound, but that it does not close the circle.
What does it mean to close the circle? Well, it intends to adequately answer this question, very often asked by the way: “Okay, we are already attracting traffic – visits. And now that?”. That is to say, it affects the subsequent capture of visits.
First, inbound marketing creates systems, especially in the form of properly designed forms, to get the data of these people who have visited the company’s blog or other similar space.
It is about giving a score (valuation) to leads or prospects based on how much closer they get or move away from what we consider ideal to end up becoming customers. Next, I have put an example of lead scoring from the Hubspot company.
As you can see, they take into account parameters such as the number of employees or if they already know what type of CRM they need, among others:
As you can understand, each case is a world, in the sense that what can be a very important parameter for one company can be a minutiae for another. So what is really important is the strategy that we propose.
If the previous concept, lead scoring, is based on giving a valuation to the defined parameters, lead nurturing consists of providing an adequate treatment to each lead based on the score obtained in the scoring. We must remember that the ultimate goal is for you to become a customer, but not all of us can be treated the same.
Here the concept of context is really important. For us to understand each other, you cannot say the same thing to a person who becomes a lead of your company because an informational type ebook has been downloaded – to learn more about a specific topic – than to another that has come to you through attending a training in the framework of a recruitment process.
Below you can see an example of a lead nurturing process:
I would like to highlight that there are tools called “automation” that perform scoring and facilitate nurturing, but you must be clear about the premises for scoring and you must establish the treatment strategy yourself.
I mean , automation tools help, but they don’t do the job .
Buyer Persona, Another Key To Inbound Marketing
Earlier I commented that we must reach the target consumer in a way that is relevant to their context. Totally true. But for this we must be clear about what this target consumer is like. For this, inbound uses the concept of buyer persona . That is, our profile of a typical buyer.
There are two main differences of buyer people with respect to what we have been calling MKT so far as ‘target’ or target audience:
- The buyer people are based on visual representations, in addition to conceptualizations, with the aim of making them easy to remember
- The buyer people take into account not only demographic considerations, but also – and this is very important because it provides a lot of added value – psychographic
With buyer people, we do not limit ourselves to the traditional form of segmentation, based above all on gender, age and geographic location, but also other considerations that add value to such segmentation, such as motivations, interests and how our product or service can solve the “problem” – “pain point” in English – you have.
For this reason, the creation of ethos, both in terms of reflection and visual representation, helps us to better answer the question of who our clients are and also how to act to reach them effectively.
I am practically convinced that most companies, especially among SMEs, do not know exactly what really moves their customers into action.
Making an effort in terms of buyer persona can help us better understand you.
Here is an example of a representation of a buyer person by Hubspot:
Logically, one of the Hubspot buyer people is a director or a marketing professional, since it is these types of profiles who could choose to use such a tool.
Why Inbound Marketing Does Not Depend On Direct Investment?
A few lines ago, in the part where I exposed the keys, I affirmed that said approach allows not to depend on continued direct economic investment. Or, what is the same, which favors that when we do not have the budget to invest in said strategy, we do not lose the exposure of our brand to our target audience.
I’m going to explain it. When we buy a banner on a website and the deadline agreed with the webmaster for the banner to be visible ends, our exhibition – or visibility – also ends. That does not happen with the inbound marketing perspective.
Since we start from the creation of content framed in the context of our interaction with the buyer people that interest us and this content is often created through a blog, our effort always remains visible on Google and other search engines . Therefore, we are not so dependent on investment being “turned off”.
It is obvious that the more money we invest in an adequate strategy – note that I have emphasized the term ‘adequate’, because if we misdirect it it will not do any good – the more options we have to succeed, but at least inbound marketing allows us to make almost profit always the effort invested.
For this reason it is often said that in inbound MKT the cost of the lead tends to approach 0 .
TOFU, MOFU and BOFU: Was This Not Food?
Although it may seem like it, no, I’m not talking about nutrition 🙂
Throughout the guide I have been talking about the importance of context. Well now comes the explanation.
I recommend that you first read an article I wrote about inbound marketing concepts. There he explained it. But I think I can’t finish the guide without commenting here as well.
Within a customer’s funnel or purchase process, it is the part we call “Top of the Funnel” . It is about that phase in which the client is looking for information on a specific topic that our company can deal with, but in no case is he already prepared to materialize the purchase.
Your goal is not to buy, but to find out about something. Here it is recommended to make informational articles through a blog, general ebooks, webinars, etc. as a way of interacting with the buyer persona.
It is the phase called “Middle of the Funnel” , in which our buyer persona is in a slightly more advanced situation than the previous one. For example, you may be evaluating options in an initial phase –without having a thoughtful decision-. You must take care of the credibility, above all, for example with demo videos or more advanced ebooks.
This is the phase in which the customer already wants to make a purchase decision and materialize it. This is what we call “Bottom of the Funnel” , in which tactics such as free advice or discount coupons are recommended. Let’s say that it only takes the last push to become a customer.
As you can see, the context of the need of our buyer people is absolutely key, as I explained before.
The Top 10 Benefits Of Inbound Marketing
- It provides (and requires) full coordination of all digital channels , which favors a more strategic vision, thus optimizing all efforts.
- It provides a greater knowledge of our target audience (customers), through the configuration of buyer personas.
- Less invasive practices that generate more engagement.
- It takes into account the context of the client -or possible client, that is, buyer people-, working all the phases or stages in which it can be found (Tofu, Mofu and Bofu).
- More possibilities to build customer loyalty , favoring future sales .
- Build trust and improve the brand image.
- Powers the attraction of qualified traffic through higher quality content and greater virality in social networks .
- It favors a considerable decrease in the cost of the lead and the client, since it intelligently affects relational aspects and increases its lifetime value.
- It allows for dedication efforts to be profitable , even if we have less budget for the strategy.
- It facilitates “closing the circle” of the process of attracting a client , from their initial attention to the materialization of a purchase or the contract of a service.