It’s no secret that email marketing is evolving. Once considered a B2C (Business to Consumer) channel, inbound marketers now focus on B2B (Business to Business) strategy.
The term inbound comes from the words “in” and “bound.” Essentially, inbound marketing is about bringing the brand, product, and value to the table and ensuring the customer is aware of everything that is available. Inbound marketing also focuses on creating marketing content that is useful, valuable, and solves a problem. This strategy, which focuses on the customer rather than the product, is the future of marketing.
Why B2B Marketing?
In the past, businesses would advertise in trade publications or purchase adverts in popular magazines, assuming that consumers would then come back and purchase their products. However, digital marketing has changed all that. Thanks to platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, companies can now build personable, automated marketing campaigns that specifically target potential customers.
Because many B2B companies sell to other businesses, marketing to this audience is particularly valuable. If you sell to other businesses, you’re already competing for customers’ attention. And since they are likely to be more knowledgeable about your product or service, inbound marketing ensures you stand out among the competition. Furthermore, a 2015 HubSpot study found that businesses that adopted an inbound marketing approach saw a 145% increase in lead generation.
Steps to Successful Inbound Marketing
If you’re looking to implement an inbound marketing strategy, here are some of the things you’ll need to consider:
Identify your targets
When you develop an inbound marketing strategy, it’s important to focus on identifying your target audience. With a little research, you can identify who your ideal buyer is, what their needs are, and what advantages your product or service can provide. Start by considering who you know will benefit most from your product and take into account demographics, psychographics, and digital marketing analytics. This will help you to craft the right message to resonate with your audience and guide you towards more effective and efficient marketing campaigns.
Here are a few examples of questions you might ask yourself to help determine your target audience:
- What are the demographics (e.g., age, gender, education, etc.)?
- Where do they hang out (e.g., on social media, blogs, forums, etc.)?
- Which products or services do they use?
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- How much are they willing to spend on solutions?
- What makes your product special (e.g., unique features, quality, safety, etc.)?
When you can identify your target audience, you can create buyer personas to better understand them. A buyer persona is a hypothetical model of a typical user of your product. You can use these characters to flesh out user stories, gain an understanding of what they want, and determine which version of your product or service to develop. Furthermore, you can use personas to craft better pitches to potential customers and determine the content and performance of your marketing campaigns.
Study the competition
Once you know who your target audience is, you can move on to the next step, which is to study the competition. Simply search for your product (e.g., hair wax) and you’ll see a list of products similar to yours. Look at the competition’s website, social media accounts, and other similar products to learn about the different approaches they take to market their products. Additionally, you can read trade publications or go to seminars to learn more about the industry.
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the competition, it’s time to formulate a strategy. Begin by considering the type of content you’ll need to create to outmanoeuvre the competition and establish yourself as the go-to source for your product. Then, take some time to plan out your overall approach, including the creation of key supporting materials, and establish metrics to measure your progress.
Determine your goal
After you’ve formulated a strategy, it’s time to set your goal. Simply put, your goal is what you’re going to use the information you gathered to accomplish. It might be to generate more leads, boost engagement, gain more credibility, or simply make more money. Whatever your goal is, consider the last step of your strategy (e.g., conversion, etc.) and build a plan to achieve it.
Develop key content
With your goal in mind, you can begin to develop key content, which is essentially content that is designed to further your cause. To best achieve your goal, the content you create should be of high quality, original, and as entertaining as possible. As a rule of thumb, make sure the content is valuable, solves a problem, and isn’t just self-promotional.
To illustrate the importance of good content, consider the revenue generated by HubSpot and Marketo from product descriptions alone. These companies charge businesses for the right to describe their products in a blog post or online article, respectively. Between the two of them, they have over 200 million unique monthly visitors.
The average person spends 4.5 hours a day, 15 to 16 hours a week online. This is one place people turn to for information, and it’s also one place digital marketers track user behaviour and establish baselines for future marketing activity.
The Rise of Inbound Marketing
Thanks to platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, the future of marketing is inbound. Inbound marketing is simply a model of marketing that focuses on creating valuable content that attracts, engages, and satisfies customers, rather than using paid advertising to attract customers to your company.
Inbound marketing takes a different approach to marketing, focusing on customers rather than leads, building trust rather than using offers to acquire customers, and providing value throughout the buyer’s journey.
Thanks to platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, the future of marketing is inbound.