Inbound Marketing, or content marketing, is a methodology focused on attracting and creating lasting relationships with your target customer by providing relevant content that engages with them.
The main characteristics of content marketing are:
- Close and open interaction with your community.
- Your message is shared constantly so that users consume the content when it suits them best.
- Increase trust with your audience (greater engagement) thanks to the value provided without invasive interruptions.
In this post, you can read several key points about inbound and its strategies for
attracting potential customers and their subsequent retention:
- Differences between inbound and outbound marketing.
- Phases of content marketing and its distribution through digital media.
- Benefits obtained after the application of inbound marketing.
- How to improve and/or establish your content marketing strategy (with examples).
How does Outbound Marketing differ from Inbound Marketing?
Outbound Marketing is related to conventional media (intrusive ads in digital media, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, etc.) that have always brought new people to our brand. Its main characteristics are:
- In one-way communication, there is no interaction, we are only in charge of transmitting our message, and choosing our distribution channel.
- You “force” the audience to listen to your message, which causes a huge reduction in the success rate achieved.
- Users do not receive the message at the time they want, so that reduces the engagement with our audience.
Phases of Inbound Marketing
The phases of the inbound strategy depend on each business, on what? On your ability to understand your Customer’s Critical Cycle (CCF) and on your ability to measure each of the stages (otherwise there is no point in having an intermediate step in your process), or even on your company’s business model.
Simplifying the process, we tend to set the AIDA model (Attention → Interest → Desire → Action) in which you “guide” your customers on their way to purchase. This is represented in the form of a sales funnel, and although we believe it is a good approximation to reality, at MORHE we prefer the model observed below (done by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf in The Startup Owner’s Manua).
Why do we like it better? Because it represents the complete flow that the customer goes
through, not just till the purchase, it also comprehends the importance of customer retention in search of recurring purchases.
Both models can be applied both for outbound and inbound, but this last one is essential in the digital era we are involved in. In this other article, we tell you in much more detail all about the sales funnel and its ins and outs.
Digital Distribution of the Content
To advance through the funnels shown above is not only a matter of creating content but also of establishing a strategy to disseminate it through the right media channels.
What media platforms do we recommend? Again, there is no one right answer. You must analyze your target customer and industry and then understand which are the ways to access those leads. Our advice is to focus as much as possible on the digital media (WARNING! Without leaving aside the conventional ones). Do you want to know why? We answer you with several key points:
- It provides you with specific metrics for each content published or ad campaign launched.
- It generates interaction with the community, which makes you more accessible and
increases trust with your community.
- You ensure that your audience receives your message, increasing the reach of your content to qualified users (leads).
- Ease of mass distribution of messages (makes your business more scalable).
Conventional media still offer certain advantages such as face-to-face interaction, massive reach in the media, etc. But, on the other hand, it is difficult to measure the results obtained, the distribution is not scalable, the price is very high and you usually reach an unqualified audience…
We need to be aware that it is no longer the best alternative so we must enable digital alternatives which allow your business to grow. What are the distribution channels we can apply to our strategy? Here are the answers.
Here we paid content dissemination that is NOT intrusive. By non-intrusive, we mean that content is delivered to a specific audience that already has shown some kind of interest in us so that they can consume it when they are ready.
Digital media allow you to carry out campaigns from just a few amount of money (depending on the platform varies the minimum amount) but making your content reach people who meet the requirements that you set (age, sex, tastes, etc …) so that increases the effectiveness of your campaigns.
We seek to provide content to our community but without making an economic investment for its distribution on the platforms. This content, except for virals, has less reach but is the one that usually allows you to keep your community bringing value to them.
Dissemination through partnerships
This method is a variant of organic distribution but with the caveat that you make a collaboration with another person or brand causing the other person’s community to know you.
A clear example of this would be a podcast in which you interview or chat with the person discussed.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
You may have been able to deduce it from what we said till now, but why should you apply inbound marketing in your company? We highlight several points so that you can think about them a little more:
- You are approaching the right audience. Inbound campaigns have conversion rates about 6 times higher than outbound campaigns.
- Instantaneous measurement of results. We will obtain very specific results in real-time thanks to the digital means used that offer data analytics on the platforms themselves.
- Greater flexibility when approaching your community. This is a great advantage if your business model deals with both B2B and B2C sales or with different audiences within each (several business units).
- It is a highly scalable methodology by digital means. You can even automate certain phases of the sales process which allows you to focus more on other steps such as closing. Read this article to learn more about digital sales automation.
- Cost reduction. Your improvement in customer retention results in a significant reduction in Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC). It is much cheaper to retain someone with whom you have already generated trust than to create it with someone from scratch.
How to improve your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Before going into the strategy, let’s go through different examples of content marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEM/SEO)
- Podcast or video
- Studies or whitepapers
- Newsletter (email marketing)
- Webinars and seminars
Content Strategy according to its typology
To set a good content strategy we need to know what types of content exist. At MORHE we classify them according to the objective pursued:
- VIRALITY: focus on reaching as many people as possible and having them follow
you for future publications. It usually attracts users to the first phase of the process (interest).
- VALUE: it is about providing content that helps or that may be of interest to our followers. It is not sales, NOR CONTENT THAT INCITES THE SALE we are looking for at the end of the process, we want to provide value for free in such a way that facilitates the closing process when we want to sell (it feels like a “debt” to you and your company).
- SELL: offers, promotions, or participation in certain events to convert users into customers.
Can you imagine discovering a new company and when you do a little research about them you see nothing but sales content? Can’t you? It’s what we are used to… we hate being sold to, and even more so if you haven’t generated enough trust with the brand yet. That’s why we recommend that these sales are made through paid campaigns (dark posts) so as not to tarnish the image of our profile on social networks or our website.
And now you may be asking yourself, what content should I create, and in what media should I share it? Think about the needs of your target customer and the answer will come by itself. In the illustration, we leave you a recommendation, but it is not a universal truth, you must analyze each business separately, and depending on what you are looking for, (gain notoriety, increase interactions, …) to obtain the optimal strategy.
If we go into detail on the types of company transactions, we find notable differences in the application of inbound marketing, if you need any help with this just contact us.
Inbound Marketing for B2B sales
For business-to-business (B2B) transactions, the strategy should focus on providing value as knowledge related to the functionalities of what you offer. These customers are more analytical, so you have to build trust by demonstrating that you comprehend what they are interested in and that you are the expert they are looking for.
The main objective when applying inbound marketing for B2B companies is to improve the conversion rate, that is, to close more sales for the same number of interactions with customers.
The general characteristics for B2B products or services are:
- Create content with a more practical, rational approach or focus on training the user (providing value).
- Whether a user is qualified or not will be determined by the user’s characteristics rather than by his behavior. That is to say, we look at where and what he works on or what problems arise in their company, not so much at things like their hobbies.
- Loyalty is more complicated than in the case of B2C. In B2B they do not always have the needs of the initial service with which they hired you, so even if you have their trust but you do not offer what they are looking for in their next challenge they will not count on you.
Content Strategy for B2C sales
In the case of direct business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, the user tends to choose information about the advantages they will obtain by acquiring your service or product. For B2C transactions, objectives are usually set more closely linked to the increase in the number of visits and/or cumulative impressions.
The key guidelines for the content provided if your company has B2C products/services will be:
- Selling is a little more focused on the benefits and values of the brand. What makes you so different that I want to buy from you?
- We look at the actions that the user performs with us (web navigation, where he clicks, how he contacted us, …). This is key because when your customer is the end-user and not a company, purchases are more emotional.
- Loyalty strategies are easier to apply than in B2B. An example could be the allocation of points or rewards after a purchase is made.