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The way businesses have traditionally marketed to their customers has predominantly revolved around outbound marketing. We are here to talk to you about the importance of moving towards inbound marketing and how adopting this strategy will help you drive highly qualified and engaged customers to your business. Sounds awesome right?

Chances are you have most likely dabbled in this area through your marketing efforts without any clear defined inbound marketing strategy. That’s ok because most marketers tap into this world through trial and error.

Through this guide, we will take you through the steps involved in formulating a solid and tactile strategy. This will help you understand what inbound marketing is and how you can develop a solid inbound strategy to drive continued success to your business. If you are seeking growth then you have landed in the right place.

As a digital agency located in Melbourne, our goal is to help our clients utilise this marketing methodology as part of their total online and digital performance and strategy. We are in the business of delivering technology solutions and marketing platforms that will help you achieve and smash your goals. This will happen through an integrated approach to your digital strategy.

What is inbound marketing methodology?

Marketing has evolved through the internet age and we are here to talk to you about harnessing the power of inbound marketing.

But what exactly is inbound marketing and how does it work?

There are three parts to inbound marketing and this happens through the following process. The stages you will take are attracting, engaging and delighting potential customers. This strategy will allow your business to drive high value to a potential customer and build a high level of trust. Hence giving them the confidence to use your company's services or products.

Technology has changed quite considerably during the last decade. This in turn has seen an evolution in the way we market to our clients. The inbound marketing process is one which helps your potential client go through a very human and helpful way online. It’s almost seamless to a point where they do not feel like they are being sold, but rather helped and educated.

We believe as a digital agency that inbound marketing is the most effective and efficient way to attract and sell to your potential clients now and in the future. So jump on the inbound marketing bus as we take you through how it all works.

It all makes sense when you think about it this way. If a customer has a great experience with your business through inbound marketing, this will in turn  lead to a better outcome for your business over the long run. Building relationships rather than just selling to customers is the way forward. Be part of the marketing change which is helping rather than shouting.

The three stages of inbound marketing are: Attract, Engage and Delight.

This method of marketing will allow your business to build a level of authority, leading to credibility, moving the client forward in doing business with you. By adding value throughout each stage of this process you will be able to drive a much more qualified opportunity to the business.

I know this all sounds all so exciting, a different way to market to your customers, right?

Well, get excited because this methodology will help deliver growth to your business you have never seen before. By driving customer happiness this will help fuel this growth as their experience through this customer journey will lead to them becoming repeat customers and also become online advocates for your business. The best kind of marketing. As word of mouth is now the singular most powerful factor in converting online today.

The key to the success of this approach is to have your whole team on board and aligned. This will lead to a consistent way of interacting with your potential and current clients. They will be delivered a similar experiences, independent of the phase that they are in the buying cycle.

The best way to look at it, is that through all stages of the process, attract, engage and delight, it is the responsibility to deliver an exceptional customer experience. At no stage does it fall into the responsibility of different areas of your business.

Everyone owns the whole customer journey. Everyone is responsible for all the elements which will help your business build trust and authority. This in turn leading to advocates of the business leading to continued overall growth.

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What is the difference between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing?

The simple way of putting this is that outbound is what we all used to know as “marketing”. It is the traditional way that businesses used to market to their customers.

This method is not about adding value, but purely focussed on interrupting your potential audience through actions such as TV and radio advertisements, outdoor ads, banner and display ads online. You know, the kind of ads that you basically ignore today.

Outbound marketing has become less favourable over the past decade for a couple of reasons. Firstly as stated, it’s mostly ignored by the potential customer and secondly, it is very hard to measure its ROI. We are even at the stage now that a lot of people use ad blockers to remove these nuisances from their daily web surfing activities. Along with the fact that the market is moving away from commercial television and radio.

If you are like Honest Fox, you will see that the way forward for your company is to harness the power of inbound marketing. Ultimately it will deliver value rather than annoying potential customers into becoming customers.

Please see below for the main differences between the two forms of marketing:

Inbound Outbound
Draws in readers through interest Shouting at everyone, not specific
Written to meet the customer's needs Focussed on product rather than customer
Interactive One way communication
Pulls in potential clients Looks for customers
Falls part of information consumption Disrupts other content consumption
Where: blogs, social media, EDMs, SEO, influencers Where: TV Ads, Print Ads, Billboards, Telemarketers, display ads

What are some inbound marketing examples?

To help you understand a little better at how inbound marketing works let’s look at some examples of inbound marketing and how they work.

Content Marketing - Blog

A blog is a great way to interact with your potential customers by answering some of the questions they may have around the product or service that you offer.

The key part of your blog is to have it as informative and educational as much as possible. By keeping your content fresh and up to date you will continue to build a level of trust and authority within your market.

This will help introduce prospective customers to your company at the top of the funnel when they are in the stage of scoping.

Blogging is also very important to build up authority from a search engine perspective. As the information, you include within your blog will help Google and other search engines work out exactly what your website is about. The greater focus on specific niches of content, it will help drive an understanding of what your site is about by the search engines.

Without blogging your website is basically just a billboard for your business without any real added value to potential customers. So use your blog to drive high value so that they build a connection with your brand.

This will help drive a stack of revenue opportunities for your business.

Marketers who place blogging as a priority are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.

Publishing 16+ blogs per month will see a website get 3.5 times more web traffic and 4.5 times the amount of leads.

Social Media

Using social media effectively can help you talk to millions of potential customers for FREE! It is a great place to start the engagement with both potential and current clients and works right across all stages of the inbound marketing process.

Creating social media posts which have been optimised to talk to your audience will help drive engagement and traffic to your website. It can be an iterative process to understand which types of posts are working best.

As with blogs they will help drive your authority in whichever niche of industry leadership you are wishing to take. As part of your inbound marketing efforts, you want to demonstrate that you are a trustworthy company and that you can be relied upon.

Having a well thought out social media strategy is also an integral part of your overarching inbound strategy. Figuring out things such as the tone of voice and your posting frequency will allow you to have a consistent presence on whichever platforms you choose to use.

Just like blogging a core element of your social media activity needs to be both informative, adding value and overall entertaining to whichever audience you are talking to.

Time spent on social media per day: 2 hours and 22 minutes - it pays to be active here.

54% of social browsers use Social Media as part of their scoping stage.

If a customer has had a positive experience with your brand, 71% of them are likely to share this with their friends and family.

Infographics

While written content and posting engaging content on social media is a great example of inbound, sometimes people just don’t have the time to read all the content associated with a blog. This also ties into the fact that our attention spans have dramatically reduced over the past two decades.

A simple solution for this as part of your inbound marketing strategy is to incorporate infographics. If you’re a little unsure what an infographic is, it is simply an image and diagram of a snapshot of statistics and data. Typically designed to be visually appealing and draw potential consumers to it.

Tying into our previous example of social media, typically you will find that infographics become highly shareable information that people will post and share on their social media profiles.

Infographics are super engaging and are shared and liked 3 times more than any form of content.

People's willingness to consume content is increased by 80% when colourful imagery are included.

Infographics have the potential to increase your website traffic by 12%.

Email Marketing

We all know what email is right? But how do you use this tool as part of your inbound marketing strategy? A lot of people within marketing believe that email marketing is a tool of the past but in fact, it is an amazing way to keep your potential and current customers informed and up to date.

As part of your inbound marketing tactics, email may well be the tool which has the greatest ability to drive potential revenue and growth. There are two major methods of doing so.

Firstly nurturing your potential customers during their scoping and decision phase of the buying cycle. You do this by providing them with valuable information that will help them make the purchase decision. This will also assist in establishing your company as an authority in the space. This will help build trust and move them through the funnel to make a purchase with your company.

The second major part is re-engaging with your current customers. The lifetime value of your customer is a very important part of your revenue strategy and having a strategy which re-engages with your past customers to continuously provide value will increase your potential to maximise the dollars generated from that individual.

Cross-selling and up-selling are vital tactics to implement as part of your sales and marketing efforts. Plan and execute this correctly and your company will reap the rewards of servicing your clients with value and driving up their life-time value to your business.

Looking to acquire new customers? Email is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter.

On average Email marketing will deliver 4,400% ROI. Thats $44 for every $1 invested. WOW!

There are approximately 4 billion email accounts around the world.

E-Books and White Papers

Want to lift your content game to the next level? E-Books and White Papers, while they serve different purposes, they are both EPIC content pieces. E-Books are typically how to guides which people will want to access due to the value of information contained within.

White Papers, on the other hand, are usually in-depth, well researched educational pieces of content. They will typically have a formal tone of voice compared to your regular content marketing blogs.

The one thing you must bear in mind about preparing such pieces of content is that they are MASSIVE. So they take a fair bit of time to be invested compared to say a blog post. The information needs to be thorough and accurate.

Finally, you should design these to look super professional as this will add a level of worth and authority to it.

As noted in the previous point, the importance of email. Typically these two items will be used on a website or through social media as lead magnets. A lead magnet being something that is offered to potential customers in return for their email.

This inbound marketing strategy then adds further weight in the ecosystem of your total strategy.

In the B2b world 79% of buyers list white papers as the type of content they are most likely to share.

Hubspot's top lead magnet ebook of 2018 was shared more than 12,000 times

Other Inbound Marketing Examples

When looking at other examples for your inbound marketing strategy there are a plethora of options. The key is to choose the correct mix of items and build out a solid strategy which allows you to have the right focus to execute correctly. Here are some further examples of inbound marketing activities:

Case Studies - This will allow you to showcase the work you do for potential customers.

Webinars - Sometimes writing about content isn’t the best way to convey a message, so host a webinar on a specific topic. Typically a good option for lead magnets, as webinar guests will be people you can actively email market to afterwards.

Podcast - Podcasts have become extremely popular over the past 5 years or so. They do take some effort to maintain but can become unbelievable sources for new customers. Try a 30-minute weekly episode delivering engaging and valuable content.

Video - It goes without saying that video is MASSIVE right now. It’s what most people notice when they are scrolling through their social media feeds. Valuable video content takes time and effort but reaps rewards if executed correctly.

SEO - Get your website and channels optimised correctly for search is SO important. There is no point in creating this content if nobody will find it. Having best practice on-page and off-page SEO will place inbound marketing on steroids. So don’t ignore it.

Creating the perfect inbound marketing strategy plan

You’ve made it this far through this topic, so you probably want some assistance in getting an inbound marketing strategy on the go. As you can see from the above examples of inbound marketing you need to implement, you will require a whole bunch of skills.

Building out your inbound marketing plan will help you be more strategic about your efforts rather than having a crack and hoping for the best results. You will prioritise your tactics and activities, what works best for whatever goal you are trying to achieve. This will formulate the path to success in driving inbound lead generation. Ultimately the main purpose of inbound marketing.

Having an inbound marketing strategy is both suitable for large established companies all the way to fresh start ups. This plan will set you on a path to inbound marketing success. The growth you are wanting to achieve will be fulfilled by having a well planned and executed inbound marketing strategy.

This plan has 9 steps that you go through to create your new inbound marketing plan.

  1. Define Buyer Personas
  2. Define Marketing Triggers
  3. Keyword Research
  4. Lead Nurturing
  5. Content Strategy
  6. Inbound Marketing Goals
  7. Blogging Strategy
  8. Inbound Marketing Platform
  9. Team

Define Buyer Personas

This is simply the stage which you define who you are selling to. What are their motivations and how they communicate will help with your messaging through this strategy? Who is your ideal customer and how will you talk to them?

You may have a few personas that your messaging will be targeting, but it’s good to be clear on who these people are. Define their interests, their priorities and their goals. Have a clear understanding of their characteristics and this will aid with creating content around topics that will help draw in your buyers.

Define Marketing Triggers

In this part of your inbound marketing plan, you will identify what are your customer's pain points and events that put them in the mode of searching for information about your product or service. We call these events marketing triggers.

Being focussed on the triggers will help deliver a message and content at the point when customers are in a position to seek out your services or products. Compared to outbound which is talking at them, even when they are not in the market.

Figure out what exactly are these triggers and this will be the basis for how you will talk to your customers when they are at the top of the funnel. When they commence scoping their options.

Keyword Research

You now know who and what causes your potential customers to search. The next step is to understand how people search for your product or service.

At this stage it will help you understand the volume of opportunity by location. You will also get an understanding of how difficult it will be to rank for specific keywords. It will also assist in planning out a budget for any paid PPC advertising you plan to do as part of your traffic acquisition.

There are many tools to do this, such as Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, SEMRush and HREFS. By doing this research you will create a list of keywords and phrases to commence creating content around.

Set your inbound marketing goals

To measure the success of your activities it is important that you define what your inbound marketing goals will be. This will help you measure your ROI and further enhance and improve any of the tactics that you are implementing as part of this strategy.

We recommend that you set up SMART goals. These goals are to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

At this stage, it is also best that you take stock of what your current metrics are. So be sure to have a state of play. What are your monthly unique visitors per month? What sources of traffic do they come from? How many leads did you get from these?

What is your content strategy?

The inbound marketing funnel is broken down into three stages. Awareness, Evaluation and Decision/Purchase. It is important that you formulate your strategy to be talking to your potential customers throughout the different stages of the inbound funnel.

Top of funnel content is all about building awareness and driving the customer down a lead conversion path. This can be done through blog posts, videos, infographics and so on. Making sure these content pieces are of value, engaging and shareable.

Middle of the funnel content helps to position your product or service. Back to the examples, you can think of content such as case studies, e-books and webinars. These items will help build trust in your product or service, taking them further down the funnel by providing valuable information that will assist at the bottom of the funnel.

Bottom of the funnel is when the customer is ready to make their decision. At this stage, they sometimes need a taste of the final product. So implementing offers such a free trial, product discount or complimentary assessment and estimate will assist in the customer making that final decision.

Hopefully this demonstrates the importance of planning your content strategy to be continuously providing valuable content.  As your customer travels down the inbound funnel until they are in a position to BUY!! Having an understanding of potential customer concerns and their questions and providing such insight will help your content plan come to fruition.

Lead Nurturing

You’ve got a lead hey! It’s time to give them some love. Not all leads are the same and require different levels of attention. Some make purchase decisions much quicker than others. Some stall through the funnel and this is most likely due to having unanswered questions.

A solution for helping your potential customers through this is to provide them with the answers to any potential questions they may have. This can be done through a series of automated emails. These emails act as a nudge in the customer taking steps to making a purchase. They act as a reminder about the amazing content you have for them and gets them re-engaged, helping them along the inbound marketing funnel.

Your automation should be focussed on delivering the right information for whichever stage of the funnel that they are at. Once a lead is considered to be at the bottom of the funnel this is the point where your sales team comes into play. Their job is to contact potential clients directly and turn them into paying customers.

Blogging Strategy

Your new blogging strategy should be focussed around conversion. Each blog should be created to find the right traffic to your website and turning them into a lead conversion.

Your blog will be based around sharing content that will help the buyer by answering relevant questions they may have through the stages of the inbound marketing funnel.

In the case for our company and for ironies sake, if we were to write a top of funnel E-Book that it would be something like “The Ultimate Guide to Building an Inbound Marketing Strategy”. On the back of this we would then continue to write a series of articles such as:

  • How to create the perfect buyer personas
  • 3 Examples of content that converts into leads
  • 22 Subject lines that get people opening your emails

Within each of these blog posts you would then also include a clear call to action to download the Ultimate Guide E-Book.

This process is assisted by having a solid content calendar where you can plan out your content in advance.

Inbound Marketing Platform

The success of an inbound marketing plan lies in the work we have gone through in the previous seven steps. In saying that, having an inbound marketing platform that will help facilitate your inbound lead generation is also very vital to the success of your inbound marketing efforts.

As a digital marketing agency, our platform of choice is Hubspot. We have found it to be the ideal platform to facilitate both client and our own inbound marketing efforts. It allows an all in one platform rather than relying on interconnecting several platforms.

It’s seamless and easy to use.

Team

You’ve made it this far and you are probably thinking, how in the heck do I make all of this happen? There are two things to consider here, finding the right team members that will facilitate this process in house.

You obviously need to find the right team members that have the right skill base to be able to plan and implement a strategy that is successful.  The team members would need the following skills:

  • Inbound marketing strategy
  • Copywriting
  • Blogging
  • Web analytics/data analysis
  • Front & back end web development
  • Web design
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Pay-per-click marketing
  • Conversion rate optimisation
  • Email marketing
  • Social media/community management
  • Project management

Your other option of course is to partner with a digital marketing agency which specialises in inbound marketing that can assist you through this process. That’s where the team at Honest Fox can help you out and take the stress out of implementing a well oiled inbound marketing machine.

How we can help as an inbound marketing agency - our digital agency services

As you can see an inbound marketing strategy can really boost your business into a lead generation machine. This focus on inbound marketing will help drive growth that your company is looking for.

We understand that a lot of this can be quite overwhelming if you haven’t gone through the process before. Your other problem is that you may not have the in-house expertise to implement a sound inbound program.

That is where Honest Fox can assist you and your company becoming an inbound juggernaut. We have a team of experts who can help you build and implement an inbound marketing program.

If you want to have a chat with us about facilitating an inbound marketing workshop to understand the potential of an inbound marketing program, feel free to contact us.

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We can also provide you with an audit of your current digital framework to help understand the grander picture of what can be improved with your online presence as part of building an inbound plan.

What does inbound marketing services pricing look like? It all depends on how much you would like us to be involved in that process.

You may already have some content guru’s at work. You may already have a digital marketer who handles the email marketing side of things. There is no one size fits all solution and we prefer to work on a solution that works best for you and your organisation.

We love helping companies grow their business by implementing sound inbound!

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