What is Inbound marketing? You may have heard about this methodology alongside other popular expressions such as “content strategy” and “lead generation”. However, even if we see them everywhere, it’s not always easy to understand what these terms really mean.
At Globalia, we understand this concept well and we want to help and support you in understanding this notion. Even if it seems very specific, it is easy to understand thanks to the tools that HubSpot (the enterprise that developed this method) has made available to you.
Definition of Inbound marketing
To start off simply, it is important to know HubSpot’s definition of Inbound marketing:
"Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.”
This definition allows us to properly understand that the client is, and must remain, at the heart of the strategy put into place, while positioning yourself (as well as your brand) as an attentive and reliable ally in their mind.
At Globalia, we define Inbound marketing as a method that promotes, through a digital strategy deployed on all the digital tools at an enterprise’s disposal, potential clients’ engagement and loyalty.
What is the FLYWHEEL? While researching Inbound marketing, you may come across this multicoloured graph that represents the different stages and levels of an Inbound strategy. If you felt a little bit confused by this representation because it differs from all the others you have had to use, don’t panic! We will help you to dissect it so it no longer holds any secrets from you.
Faced with the never-ending transformation of enterprises’ rapport with their clients, HubSpot decided that it was also time for them to modify their way of viewing sales funnels and communication. The need for transparency and easy access to ever-increasing information for their clients has only strengthened their decision.
This is therefore the reason behind the Flywheel. The idea was to use the concept for the classic sales funnel and modernize it in order to answer to the needs of the enterprises as well as their clients and favour harmonious growth. How can this be achieved? It’s very simple: the main difference is that contrary to a classic sales funnel, existing clients that are already loyal to your enterprise remain in the virtuous cycle and ideally refer new clients through word of mouth. It is this notion of continuity that the Flywheel’s circular shape provides.
Your objectives are represented in an orang circle at the center of the Flywheel. Whether it be to grow your enterprise in order to hire 3 new resources or to sell twice as many products as last year, the idea will be to really coordinate the efforts of your various teams (represented by the second circle) in order to provide a great experience and impeccable service to your prospects and clients (represented in the third circle).
In the second circle of the Flywheel, you can see the three phases through which a prospect will ideally pass in order to become a client, and later an ambassador for your brand. For a potential client to enter the first phase “attract”, your marketing team will have to put an array of content and good-quality tools at their disposal which will allow them to define their problem and get an idea of one or more solutions to resolve it.
Once the potential client has found and chosen the best solution to resolve their problem, it will be your sales team’s turn to take over during the “interaction” phase and provide attentive support regarding the use of your product or service.
Once the client is happy with the use of their product or service, the idea is to not stop there and use your service team to gain their loyalty. On the contrary, if your client seems dissatisfied with your product or service, your team could also intervene in order to resolve their problem and not create new “pain points” for the client.
In the Flywheel’s third circle, there are certain phases of the Lifecycle stage, which will allow you to gage each client’s level of engagement with your enterprise.
In order to be able to understand the level of engagement a potential client has with your enterprise, its people, website, and various content, HubSpot has developed a way to classify a website’s visitors: the Lifecycle phase. Seeing as the Inbound methodology is largely based on your online presence, it is also in these places that you will be able to learn more about the people interested in your brand and how close they are to becoming your clients. Here are the different phases in which your future clients could soon find themselves:
- Subscriber: a person who’s email address you have collected after they signed up for a newsletter, for example. Did you know that in HubSpot, a client’s email is also the element that makes them unique?
- Lead: a person on which you have been able to collect more information than just their email address after they completed a different action than signing up for a newsletter: submitting a form, for example.
- Marketing Qualified Lead: a person whose problem you have started to center on and that you can nurture with the hope of bringing them further in their journey.
- Sales Qualified Lead: a person who raised their hand to obtain your help and that can be defined as a potential client. Usually, when a person has reached this step, we know their B.A.N.T (Budget-Authority-Need-Timing).
- Opportunity: a person we will be able to associate with a transaction/potential purchase.
- Client: a person who has completed at least one transaction. In the Inbound methodology, the objective is to reengage each client in the phases of the Flywheel. It is less expensive for an enterprise to gain their existing clients’ loyalty rather than regularly trying to attract new ones.
- Promoter: a person who is already a client who now spreads the word about your enterprise to their friends and family and who will incite them to call on you for a similar problem.
- Other: a person with a different profile who is important to keep in your CRM but who will never become a client (ex: your service supplier).
If your Inbound strategy is well-designed, every person who visits your website should go through these steps and, once their Lifestyle Stage is defined as a “client”, they should be encouraged to become promoters.
The different channels you can use to make someone advance in your Inbound cycle
There are several ways to allow your prospects to go through the various steps of your process. We have brought together the most common and efficient ones in order to help inspire you:
- The best way to attract visitors to your website and tell them about your brand/ offer, while defining the problem they have, is creating a blog. It will contain articles that, if they are well written and contain pertinent key-words, will allow you to not only improve your positioning in the search engines, but also in your visitors’ minds. It will then be very easy for you to repurpose this content into posts on social media, starting the “interaction” phase.
- There are multiple opportunities for you to interact with your future clients. As mentioned previously, social media can be a good place to start. You can use the comments to start building a rapport with your potential clients. To convert your subscribers into leads, it is recommended to use contact forms. In this way, you will be able to collect complementary information easily while supplying even more relevant content in exchange (ex: white papers, explanatory videos, case studies, etc.) to the people who are interested.
- For the “loyalty” phase, you should consider putting a database into place containing advice on the use of your product/ service. The fact that your clients can contact your service team during an instant purchase is also a strong point that they would be happy about. You can also use mass email sending to reward your most loyal clients and offer them a promotional code to share with a member of their family or a friend.
Main advantages of Inbound marketing for your enterprise
If this article has helped you to understand Inbound marketing better, but you are missing a few arguments to decide to make the leap, we have listed the main advantages of using this method below as well as where to observe the first changes to occur:
- First of all, by choosing Inbound marketing, you will be able to paint a much more precise picture of your different target clients; you will understand them better, provide a better service, as well as gain their trust and loyalty.
- Next, putting into place a quality content strategy adapted to the problems your various personas encounter will allow you to elevate a simple client to the level of promoter while saving your resources and simplifying the conversion model.
- Finally, as Inbound is a methodology that uses all of an enterprise’s teams, you will be able to use this to encourage cooperation between your different internal resources.