Everyone has heard with one ear about the great changes that Inbound Marketing has brought. However, some companies are still getting lost in the amount of new ideas and tools, not knowing how to combine them efficiently to get more customers from the search engine. Inbound has become a new standard for building relationships with online customers, and brands need to use it to meet people's growing preference for online shopping.
In 2005 we started our adventure with YouTube, and the Internet was just filling up with real entertainment. It was then that marketers noticed that before shopping people choose the most convincing supplier after assessing its image in the network. A year later, HubSpot called for mass advertisements to be abandoned in favour of a valuable conversation with customers who search for information about sellers mainly in search engines. The industry has started to shift from convincing uninterested groups to caring for active users. This is how Inbound Marketing was created - the most effective form of marketing generating 54% more potential buyers compared to traditional activities.
Customers, Internet and you
Thanks to the increased availability of product information, customers have changed their habits and are now checking literally everything online before they buy - opinions about the company, its products, and, of course, unquestionably check it out. Today's consumers increasingly appreciate the opportunities offered by shopping online - more choice in a shorter time and no need to visit many shops. In our country, 47% of Internet users already buy online and this number goes up year on year, and Inbound Marketing benefits from this trend. It can be understood as the process of guiding customers from the search engine level (by which we also mean search engines on sales platforms and price comparison engines) to the purchase of products on the target website. Google already processes about 1 trillion different user queries a year, including questions about your company. Properly run Inbound Marketing will help companies connect to these users through interesting marketing content. The idea is quite simple, but still problematic, because Inbound consists of many elements.
Invite the customer to yourself
Then we meet brands that do only "something out there" on the website, on the blog, in social media, in emails, forgetting that the customer should be directed in one direction - closer to the purchase decision. It is inevitable that every company that speaks about itself in marketing and not about matters important to its customers, who are increasingly counting on support in making purchasing decisions, loses out.
Understand how Inbound works
Inbound's successful actions can only be talked about when we know the relationship between its elements. This understanding seems to be a common problem for companies that operate scattered across multiple channels without remembering about their sales aspect. The simple formula for Inbound looks like this:
Inbound Marketing = Performance Marketing (mainly SEO and PPC - traffic generation and analyst) + Content Marketing (distribution of content on the web)
What is the point of Inbound for us?
Its task is to interest customers in the company's offer and sell its services through activities that will encourage them to interact. Initially, we will convince our tailor-made target group to visit the site, increasing our online visibility through positioning and online advertising campaigns (Performance Marketing). By regularly posting content on a blog on topics of interest to them (Content Marketing), we will give them a good reason to visit regularly. One of the most important tasks at this stage may be e.g. obtaining e-mail addresses of potential buyers, e.g. as part of an exchange for access to useful manuals. And when they're outside the site, we'll encourage them to return with email and social media messages.
An integral part of these tasks is to work on analytical tools to understand customer behavior, which allows us to develop more effective marketing activities. Collected data about users helps to evaluate their customer journey, which is extremely important from the brand's point of view. It may turn out that the customer checked many places on the website, because he was just preparing for shopping - there is a good chance that an offer, e.g. with a discount proposal displayed as part of a remarketing campaign will convince him to choose our brand's products.
Each of the above mentioned stages is a key part of Inbound's marketing activities, where customer trust is a reward for their positive contact experience. We will summarize this process on the example of shopping in an online shop with leather footwear:
1. customers are looking for a product on Google or advice about it. In order to direct them to the shop, our website has to fight for the first place on the website with the results through SEO positioning, creating engaging marketing content, as well as conducting PPC advertising activities in the search engine. We also gain traffic thanks to other activities such as Social Media, mailing, lead generation, etc.
We use tools to analyze customer behavior (inside the company it can be Google Analytics) to increase the effectiveness of our campaigns. By evaluating their online activities (such as clicks, subscriptions to newsletters or opening emails), we measure the data that will help us improve the sales process from acquisition to purchase. It is good practice at this stage to profile our customers on the basis of their online behaviour, which allows us to optimise our operations in terms of effectiveness and reducing our budget expenditure.
3. through a good blog we encourage shoppers to return, regularly answering their questions and problems in articles. For example, customers may want to hear about how to choose shoes to suit their style, how to polish them, or how to protect them from breaking. Such and similar tailor-made advice will increase their loyalty.
To get your customers' emails, we offer tutorials, courses or programs on our website and remind you of our contacts and useful information - the more you like them, the more of them we will convince you. We should segment contacts on the basis of their "willingness" to purchase, which will be helped by the analysis of the purchase route.
5. check whether our methods work for each group, assessing their effectiveness by analysing data from the available tools. The collected results will be used to discover their behaviour more precisely, under which we improve our entire strategy, and the process starts anew.
Only when we see Inbound Marketing as a unified process will we be able to decide what actions will allow us to best connect with our clients according to their strategy. Our website should be the heart of sales for us, and in order for this to be the case, it must offer them valuable content. As Larry Page has said many times, talking about online and offline marketing loses its meaning - we should always think about our customers as a whole, no matter which channel they buy through. That's why Inbound's success in running is a thoughtful online presence and strategically gaining their trust through helpful marketing content that gradually increases their chances of making purchases. What counts here is friendliness, usefulness and meticulous work on analytical tools, which in time will allow us to find the best way to turn an unknown user into a loyal customer.