If there’s one thing you can’t avoid it has to be change - and this is no different in the marketing world.
Marketing has had to move with the times and engage audiences in new and interesting ways, sometimes even encouraging audiences to act on their own and engage with the business themselves. That’s not to say that marketing has become less powerful - on the contrary, it has grown from strength to strength with each new iteration. Marketing has evolved from something that was a quick and fast burn into something more organic and nurturing for prospects.
I’m talking about inbound marketing, the shift that changed the industry forever and made marketing automation, email marketing and HubSpot household names.
However, in order to understand inbound marketing as we know it today, as well as what makes it so effective, we have to take a look at where marketing came from.
The marketing of yesteryear
A one-way street.
For years marketers relied on top-down communication through constant radio advertisements, TV commercials and even billboards and flyers to promote their product and keep their businesses top of mind for their target market.
Things were great for the companies that could afford to flood the market with one-way communication to a mass audience and drown out the competition. After all, how can a consumer buy a product that they haven’t heard of?
And then the internet took off.
People started sharing information on an unprecedented scale and gained the ability to decide what information or content they were exposed to or consumed. This took away a lot of the power of marketers who relied on a one-way stream of communication.
While the internet opened up whole new avenues to reach consumers, those consumers could simply filter out any marketing communications they wanted and focus on content that they enjoyed. If marketers wanted to stay relevant, they had to engage consumers on their turf, with their rules. They had to change.
They had to evolve.
The marketing of today
Enter inbound marketing.
The term inbound marketing was coined by HubSpot’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan in 2005. Inbound marketing slowly gained popularity until it became fully realised in 2012 and accepted as the best way to market to an audience. It espoused a way to market a product or service through content creation and a two-way conversation between businesses and their consumers.
The idea behind inbound marketing was to create useful content that consumers actively engaged with and desired. Content such as white papers, blog posts, webinars and email newsletters were offered freely as a way to educate, entertain and ultimately sell to consumers. This process became known as ‘the buyer’s journey’, which consists of 5 basic steps that consumers would take before they buy. Content and inbound marketing techniques were the wheels on this journey, providing the value while slowly nurturing leads to an eventual sale.
Demodia has a white paper that delves deeper into the concept of the buyer journey, but briefly, it consists of these 5 basic steps:
The awareness stage is where your target or possible lead starts to become aware that there is a problem or need to be resolved - even if that problem or need did not exist before you made them aware of it
The education stage is where your content really shines. This is where your content educates your leads on the solution to their problem. Rather than forcing your own products onto your leads, your content will focus on a more generalised solution, and why it works.
The content in the consideration phase will focus on the perks of your solution over competitors by identifying and relating to your lead’s specific challenges.
The decision stage is where your sales people convert the lead into a sale by supporting the lead through the buying process.
The implementation stage is where you assist your customer in using your product and support them in getting the most out of their product. This is to ensure future business and customer satisfaction.
Today, businesses and entrepreneurs capture their target market with blog writing, podcasts, videos eBooks and more by promoting their content via social media and email campaigns which encourage users to participate. This way, businesses nurture their ideal customer through the buyer’s journey, generating a valuable and powerful online sales funnel.
The marketing of tomorrow
Inbound marketing and marketing content aren’t going anywhere.
According to HubSpot, leads derived from inbound marketing have a closing rate of 14.6 percent, while direct mail leads have a closing rate of only 1.7 percent.
While it is true that consumers are becoming more discerning with the content they receive and engage in, consumers are spending more and more time online and looking at their devices. This creates a great opportunity for marketers to take inbound marketing to the next step, and innovations such as marketing automation have already made this possible.
Marketing automation is the next logical step for marketers who want to engage consumers with what they like, enjoy and will make them invested in their product. Platforms such as HubSpot have gone a step further and have created the most comprehensive inbound marketing suite available.
With HubSpot, all of your inbound marketing needs are located under one roof, with all the tools, education and support you need. You can create websites, blogs, schedule social media posts and create easy yet powerful sales funnels through HubSpot.
Inbound marketing is one of the most powerful marketing and sales concepts of the 21st century. Any business from multinational corporations to small tech startups can incorporate some form of inbound marketing today and see the results slowly build up to a result that is truly spectacular.
Through tools like HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot and more, a complete inbound marketing campaign has never been more achievable. However, getting around the various tools can be daunting at the best and overwhelming at the worst. Finding a marketing partner who knows the ins and outs of these platforms could be essential to your success.
Demodia is an inbound marketing agency that specialises in inbound marketing and marketing automation platforms like HubSpot. We have assisted enterprise organisations around the world get their inbound marketing campaigns off the ground, sometimes completely transforming a company’s results and profits.
Contact Demodia today and find out what your business is capable of with marketing automation and inbound marketing.