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Inbound marketing – what is it?

Advertising is the leverage of trade – a mantra repeated by experts for decades. But just imagine if your customers suddenly started reaching you on their own. Think what would happen if the company phones suddenly rang and the e-mail inbox was filled with inquiries. Impossible? Take a closer look at the possibilities offered by inbound marketing and … turn the situation around. Re-establish relationships with your clients.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategy aimed at persuading the customer to contact the company on their own. It was created in opposition to traditional methods of promotion – included in the circle of outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing involves:
– building long-term, valuable relationships with the client – those that will result in not one conversion, but many,
– partner, two-way communication – one in which the company really listens to feedback and reacts to it,
– shaping and strengthening the company’s image and building an emotional bond with customers,
– “leading” the client through the sales process in an advisory form – so as to provide him with the necessary information, but not directly persuade him to buy.

This strategy has been the most popular promotion method in recent years, used by both large brands and smaller companies. The place where it is easiest to implement inbound marketing strategies is the Internet.

Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing: what’s the difference?

Before I go over the specific tools from the “inbound” palette, it is worth explaining in detail the differences between traditional promotional communication methods and inbound marketing.

Messages in outbound marketing:
– have a highly persuasive character,
– they are typical advertisements – they can be easily identified among other content (thus they can be “filtered” by recipients, and thus – ignored),
– they are often overly intrusive, which can evoke negative emotions (although this does not have to be the case, as long as the outbound communication strategy is well planned),
– they are less likely to be precisely targeted, which means that they also reach random recipients, which translates into relatively low efficiency.

It is also worth knowing that outbound advertising can carry high costs per pageview / click, because it has to pass through a fairly dense screen before it reaches the customer who is really interested in the offer. For these reasons, modern marketing focuses precisely on building inbound traffic.

In inbound marketing:
– communication is two-way in nature – it is focused not on one-sided message, but on interaction (thus building partner relations and commitment),
– the goal is to build a relationship, not a one-time sale,
– focuses on counseling, not intrusive persuasion,
– messages are personalized and reach well-targeted recipients – thanks to this, they enjoy a better response.

So you could say that inbound marketing puts the customer in the spotlight and realistically adapts to their needs, not just promising to do it.

What does inbound marketing do?

Reaching for inbound marketing tools is not just a temporary fashion. These activities bring very tangible results – in the long term. By using these tools and, in fact, by changing your approach to the client, you can gain a lot.

– Own database of potential, very promising customers
Not the random ones, of which one or two people out of every 100 people will be interested in your offer. One in which there will be consumers with high conversion potential, and therefore in human terms: more willing to make a purchase. Importantly, the list of potential customers builds itself – those interested will leave the data for you, e.g. by subscribing to the newsletter. This is the beginning of a long road that will ultimately lead to a positive transaction closing in many cases.

– Building commitment
How do you make purchasing decisions? Is it only based on “hard data”? What if you have two products with very similar features and price in front of you? How do you choose then? Then even the most hardened “logicians” will reach for emotions, so they will choose a brand that they simply associate better. One that is not indifferent to them. Being focused on interacting with users and encouraging them to take action on their own is like a foot in the door – the commitment invested builds a bond, and thus increases the chances of the final purchase of the product.

– Financial benefits
Inbound marketing strategies bring long-term benefits – also financial. The costs of generating a lead and then converting are much lower than when using outbound techniques. Reason? Much more precisely targeted communication. Since you reach people who, at least initially, are interested in your offer, the chances that they will decide to buy becomes much higher. Simple! In addition, once set in motion, skilfully selected inbound strategies can function almost like a perpetual motion machine, or at least operate and attract new customers for several years.

– Better meeting customer needs
When you reach for inbound marketing, you focus on how to realistically solve your clients’ problems. And since you give them ready-made proposals tailored to what they really want (and not what you think they want!), You can count on positive interest.

In summary, inbound marketing means lower costs, higher effectiveness in reaching customers and long-term effects. In a word: everything you dreamed of!

How to start using inbound marketing?

You already know what exactly inbound marketing is. However, this is just the beginning of the road. Now you have to plan your strategy in this spirit. What tools to use? How to prepare for it?

First things first: in inbound strategies you give the client a sense of control. You give him your responsibility. You just let it find you. You don’t urge. You show possibilities. Only this and so much.

How to implement inbound marketing strategies?

Inbound is based on three main tasks that the marketer has to face – obviously related to the stages of leading the customer through the sales funnel. You use inbound marketing to:
– attract the recipient’s attention – inform them in advance about your presence on the market and show that you are a partner who can be trusted. At this stage, it’s all about building a brand image,
– engage him in interaction – it does not have to be a purchase of the product right away At the beginning, it is enough for him to like your post, write a comment or subscribe to the newsletter. The time for the “harvest” will come later,
– provide a solution to your problems, so you can enjoy your purchase.

Remember: the above levels of commitment also define the relationship with the customer, who from a complete stranger becomes a “friend” (feeling a hint of sympathy for the brand), a friend, customer, and finally a promoter of your company. And this is exactly what it is about to achieve.

What inbound tools can be used on the Internet?

The range of tools suitable for generating incoming traffic is huge – especially in the Internet space. At each of the stages discussed above, you can apply different solutions and media.

Inbound techniques at the stage of attracting the recipient’s attention

Attracting a customer’s attention – especially in a competitive market – can be the biggest challenge. So how do you get attention by doing it in a non-pushy way? The answer is simple: prepare valuable content for the recipient. For that to be the case, you must define in advance who and for what purpose you will be addressing.

In inbound marketing it will not be necessary to clearly define the purpose of the promotion and the meticulous creation of personas. It’s about identifying exactly who your potential customers are. You have to answer questions about their needs, concerns, worries and … how their day is going. How do they use the Internet? Where can you find them?

Once you know this, getting their attention becomes much easier. You will not be blind, and you will appear where they are also. And what specific tools to use?

Content marketing
Create a company blog and publish valuable content on it – the kind that will allow you to find answers to the questions bothering your customers. They cannot be strictly advertising. The more expert and specific the responses you give your audience, the better your impression will be.

Social media marketing
Start promoting yourself on social media. Not all of them, but those that your customers visit. For example, a clothing manufacturer can “win” little by promoting itself on LinkedIn or Twitter, but already on Facebook or Instagram – much more! Remember that promotion through these channels is about building engagement – and therefore about making your posts receive the greatest possible response from “live” users.

Positioning is the first step to attracting attention to your offer. The higher your page is in the search results for related phrases, the greater the chance that the interested party will find your page and leave a lead.

Classic ads
preferably in the remarketing model – so that they reach people potentially and initially interested in the solutions offered. Thanks to this, you will gain a greater impact on real results.

How to engage customers?

The second step is building commitment. You can also use the tools above, but the ones below are most suitable for bonding and interacting.

Landing page
So “landing page” – a special, short and specific website, the purpose of which is to obtain a lead, i.e. customer contact details. It must be very interactive and offer the recipient an advantage for leaving an email – it could be, for example, a free e-book.

Sent to people who have left their own leads, it is much more effective than communication with recipients from an external, random base. E-mails will remind recipients of your existence and encourage them to click, read an interesting article, and take advantage of the current promotions that you offer.

Those that appear directly on your website and, for example, on your Facebook fanpage. Their task is to encourage the client to start a conversation – in a simple and easily accessible form. They can automatically answer frequently asked questions or… redirect you to the seller.

Marketing automation tools
This includes intelligent solutions that contact the customer when he has already taken some action. For example: a customer visited the website looking for vacation offers, but at the last moment changed their mind. The system can send the person a question about why this happened or send a message with similar offers.

How to build a positive relationship and satisfaction with cooperation?

Cooperation with the customer in the inbound model does not end with the purchase. This is just the beginning of the road. Therefore, communication with him also continues after the transaction is completed. At this stage, you can use, among others:
– mailing – sending an e-mail with thanks, a discount code for subsequent purchases or a request to evaluate the course of cooperation evokes positive impressions,
– marketing automation – periodic communication with the customer and sending him new offers.

Of course, there are many more tools that can be used for inbound-style communication, and a specific strategy should be developed taking into account the specifics of the company’s operations.

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