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A Guide to the Basics of Inbound Marketing

If you’re a small business, you might be missing out on some vital opportunities to grow your business. Although it’s a relatively new concept, inbound marketing has evolved alongside the internet and can be really important in attracting a loyal consumer base.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a business strategy. Its purpose is to attract customers. This is done by creating content and experiences that are considered valuable to your target audience. You tailor your content, your site and your output to suit who your potential customer might be.

Unlike outbound marketing, which initiates the conversation, inbound marketing is about listening to what your customer wants and trying to actively engage them. You need to develop connections with your audience by solving problems they already have and listening to what they need.

Why Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is essentially a more cost-effective strategy than outbound marketing. With outbound marketing, it’s hard to track your return on investment (ROI) and increasing blocking techniques mean that much of your marketing could be wasted. Not only that, but inbound marketing helps develop trust with a consumer as your business will demonstrate that it provides a service for its customers.

person analyzing marketing opportunities

The perception of outbound marketing is also fairly negative – as social media and the internet has grown, trust in your brand has become incredibly important. Customers don’t want to be pushed into a sale, they want to understand why your brand, or your service, might help them. They need to be encouraged to engage rather than feel forced to.

Inbound marketing can also refine your marketing strategy to make the most of search engine opportunities. According to Smart Insights, 81% of people search online for a product or service. Inbound marketing makes the most of this kind of data – by marketing your company around these kind of things – search engine results, algorithms and calls-to-action – you can build a loyal customer base that actively engages with your service.

This all starts with the implementation of the inbound methodology.

The Inbound Methodology

The basis of inbound marketing centres on a three-stage process. Its aim is to help grow your business by creating a meaningful relationship with your customer base. An important part of this is recognising your position in a potential buyer’s journey with you.

The first stage is to attract: by drawing in the right people – those who would benefit from your product or service – through the production of content that is valuable are serviceable to those people. The aim during this stage is to establish your business as a trusted source for information on the service you provide and, more importantly, the service your potential buyer is looking for.

Next, you need to engage your potential buyer. This is all about presenting valuable insight and solutions that solve the issue your buyer may have – doing this makes them much more likely to convert into a customer.

The final stage is to delight. You should provide as much support as you can to aid your customer to be successful when they utilise your service or buy a product from you.

When a customer has a good experience with your brand or service, they are much more likely to develop from customers into promoters for your brand. Doing this helps bring in more potential buyers during the attract stage. The idea behind this methodology is that by providing a fulfilling and valuable service, your business can potentially develop a self-sustainability where your successful conversions help bring in new customers by promoting your products or services.

If you need help developing your inbound marketing strategy, get in touch with Floodmaker’s experts for some help or take a look at our guides for more information!

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