How Does Inbound Marketing Work? A Proven 5 Step Process

23 July 2013 - 17:51, by , in Inbound Marketing, No comments

You may have heard that you should be investing in this thing called “inbound marketing” but you’re not sure if it’s right for your business.

Perhaps you have read a whitepaper on content marketing, maybe a few articles on social media or maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard the phrase. Either way, you’re probably still wondering, “how does inbound marketing work?”

First off, inbound marketing starts with a change in mindset by the marketing team and upper management. Instead of selling, you are educating– and through educating your target audience, you will generate more warm leads.

Let me walk you through how my company has used inbound marketing to generate leads for our business. Hopefully this process will help you understand how inbound marketing works and give you some ideas how you can implement an inbound marketing strategy for your company.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience –

Inbound marketing is all about creating content that provides value and resonates with your target audience. The first thing you’ll want to do when developing an inbound marketing strategy is identify your target audience, and be as specific as possible. Having a clear vision of who you’re marketing to will help you determine what kind of content you’ll need to produce, what resources you’ll need leverage and what platforms will be the best to get the content you’re producing in front of the right audience.

For Example:

For my company, our target is a company with $5M or more in annual revenue. Usually the companies are B2B focused and we’d be trying to reach the decision maker in the marketing department.

Step 2: Create A Blog and Content Strategy–

Now that you know who you’re producing content for, it’s time to create a blog and figure out the type of content that your target audience would find valuable. Usually, you’ll want the blog to live on your site so when people visit your articles, they’re already on your website. For your content strategy, I recommend creating a list of questions you commonly get from clients and answering those questions in the form of blog posts. Chances are if one of your prospects or clients has a question about your industry, services or one of your products- others are going to have the same question… and where are they going to go to find this information?? The answer: Google. By educating your target market, you’ll attract new visitors to your site and help them get answers that they’re looking for.

For Example:

My website, Social Proof Interactive, launched June 3, 2013. This month already we were able to attract over 1,800 visitors to our site through our content marketing strategy.

traffic to site

Step 3: Create Premium Content –

You need premium content on your website to help convert your traffic to leads. Premium content could be defined as an eBook, whitepaper, video, or podcast – something that provides more value to the reader. The strategy would be to create premium content that relates to what your blog posts are talking about.

For example:

If you are a solar company and you are creating blog posts about the cost of solar vs. the cost of electricity, your premium content might be an eBook entitled the Solar Buying Guide.

Here’s an example of one of our pieces of premium content:

Internet Marketing eBook

Step 4: Capture Leads-

You’ll need some sort of system to capture the leads on your website. For my business, we use Hubspot as our content management system. Hubspot enables us to create landing pages and capture information about the people visiting our website. Your target audience will be more likely to give up personal information in exchange for something that they find valuable. This is why premium content is needed on your website to generate leads.

For example:

In the last 22 days, we’ve generated 16 inbound leads. We launched our site 2 months ago and we’ve already generated more than 30 leads total. These leads are top of the funnel leads- which means that the buyers are probably still in the research phase. Step 5 will show you how to move these buyers down the sales funnel.


Step 5: Convert Leads to Paying Customers-

How do you move your leads from the top of the funnel towards the bottom of the funnel?

The answer: Nurture them.

This is where the e-mail component of inbound marketing comes in. You’ll want to keep on answering questions that your target audience might have as they move down the funnel. This might be: helping your target audience assess the different options in your competitive landscape and show them why you’re better than your competition.

For example:

We’ll go back to the solar example; this might be another eBook on how to choose the solar company that’s right for you. The eBook might delve into different solar companies in the market and what makes you different than the rest. This way you’re taking the pain of doing competitive research out of the consumers’ hands and you’re becoming the thought leader and the one the consumer trusts.

Another important part of converting leads to paying customers is having the proper lead intelligence. Are you able to see what pages your consumers are visiting on your site? Having a CMS (Content Management System) that allows you to see browsing behavior on your website, will help your sales team start the conversation around the right talking points.

lead intelligence

Still have questions?

Leave a us a comment below or give us a call at 858-300-6168 and we’d be happy to help answer any questions you have.


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