The inbound methodology is a term used by HubSpot to describe the process of converting website visitors into customers. Your site’s content should align with your customers’ needs – allowing you to attract, convert, close and delight clients naturally over time. Below is the definition of inbound methodology used most by HubSpot…
“Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer's buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers’ attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”
Why It Matters?
Buyer behaviour has changed. Today’s buyers hold all the cards – B2B buyers use the internet as their number one source of information when researching potential solutions. Statistics vary but it’s estimated that a B2B buyer will be at least 60% of the way through their buying journey before engaging with a salesperson.
Therefore it’s really important to align your content with your prospect’s buying cycle so you can serve relevant, useful information to build trust and help your buyer through their journey. You can see more on this here.
If you want to create a successful inbound campaign, there are 7 key steps you’ll need to consider.
The 7 Steps to Execute the Perfect Inbound Campaign
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Each campaign should commit to a certain message for a specific audience. You can’t be all things to all people. It’s important to consider the following when developing a campaign in order to make sure every engagement is highly targeted for your audience:
- Pick a specific sector – without focusing on a sector you’ll find it difficult to fully align your content with the typical business objectives of your target clients. Buying cycles, customer value and competition are all completely different depending on the industry a business is in!
- Pick a specific persona – similarly, without understanding the pain points, buying triggers and objectives of each individual persona, your content will come across as a bit ‘vanilla’.
- Agree which parts of the buying journey your content will influence – for example blogs defining and introducing a subject are considered ‘top of funnel’ content whereas a product demo is suitable for users much further down the journey.
Once you have agreed who you will target, you’ll be able to define the objectives and KPIs for the campaign. One outcome you may wish to track could be the number of white paper downloads and how many of these converted into sales qualified leads.
2. Develop Campaign Messaging And A Content Offer
A content offer is a key piece of content in an inbound campaign designed to attract and interest users to part with their contact details in return for the content offer. This might come in the form of a whitepaper, a tutorial or a product demonstration.
For a successful campaign, you’ll need to decide on a content offer that is:
- educational and informative
- aimed at your chosen sector
- aimed at your chosen persona.
Your offer needs to be valuable enough to attract new visitors and interesting enough to encourage visitors to read more.
3. Surrounding Content
Creating content (and lots of it) is a key part of any inbound campaign. Blog content is still pivotal in supporting campaign activity and in our experience, you need a minimum of 10 - 20 supporting blogs and articles to build traction and support organic search. This will ensure that your site is found for relevant searches and questions.
Here are some top tips to take into consideration when creating blog content:
- Talk in a language that will resonate with your personas
- Use the keywords and terms they use to describe your services
- Share your content on social media and get your team to help build reach
- Answer common questions asked by your key personas
- Include a call-to-action on EVERY blog that points to your content offer
- Leave your audience needing more!
Of course, building up this body of content takes time. So, in the interim you may decide to supplement content creation with some paid advertising.
4. Promoting Content Through Advertising
As mentioned, it is important to use paid search to support and promote your campaign content to drive a steady stream of traffic towards your campaign.
Start by doing some keyword research to identify and target long tail phrases that link to your content offer and campaign content. Make sure you drive traffic to relevant landing pages or a ‘pillar page’ and – as you would with any paid search campaign – split test ads and landing page content to improve conversion rates.
Depending on the offer, we would typically recommend that you focus on the search network in Google Ads (target keyword searches) and incorporate re-marketing to build brand awareness and remain front of mind.
Typical platforms include Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Bing Ads.
5. Create Content Pillars
Content pillars are made up of several blogs and supporting pieces of content (cluster content) that feed into a main pillar page. The pillar page summarises each of the blog posts surrounding it and links back into each of the blogs.
The below shows a close representation of what this looks like:
The pillar page forms the hub of the campaign and will promote the content offer – this page is designed to consolidate all relevant information into the one page and should provide further insights aimed to help the searcher.
Don’t worry if the page is long and scrolls way below the fold! The more information and content on the page the better!
6. Capture Data And Nurture Leads
The data captured from your content offer should go into your CRM. Once in the database, a series of emails should be used (using marketing automation) as part of a sequence to nurture the lead into taking the desired action.
Once the lead has completed the action (or set of actions) required to be considered a sales opportunity, they should be handed to your sales team to follow up.
7. Measuring Success
It’s important to measure your campaign performance against stated goals and KPIs set at the beginning. Reporting back on results on a monthly basis will allow you to learn lessons and make informed decisions to enhance the visitor experience.
Benefits of Adopting Inbound
Inbound marketing empowers buyers with timely, helpful content, rather than interrupting them with unwanted irrelevant communications.
It allows you to target specific, best-fit buyer personas – in turn creating higher quality leads for you. It provides prospects and leads with a more relevant experience while supporting the digital purchasing journey that modern buyers go through.
Another really important point to consider is that by HELPING rather than SELLING to prospects, inbound establishes marketers and sales reps as trusted sources of information – rather than as pushy sales-obsessed individuals.
Remember, the inbound methodology is designed to:
- attract relevant visitors to your website
- convert visitors into leads
- nurture and close those leads into customers
- continue to engage and delight those customers
- transform them into promoters!
Results From Inbound
See how Astutis achieved a 49% increase in lead generation in just six months with inbound marketing!