In this post, we tell you what inbound marketing is, how it works, and why it is a valuable tool for B2B businesses.
Introduction To Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a methodology that allows your potential customers to find you more easily on the internet, learning about your brand, products and services through valuable content specially oriented to their questions, doubts and needs.
To do this, it uses content marketing techniques, SEO, SEM, email marketing and social media, in combination with advanced marketing automation and web analytics tools.
Although it is based on techniques used by other methodologies, the value of inbound marketing lies on the one hand, in how it manages them, based on a software tool that makes it easy to work with all of them in an integrated manner; and on the other hand, in a philosophy that values the customer and puts him at the center of the entire process.
Inbound was born in 2005, by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. They founded Hubspot and created the software platform that allows the methodology to be deployed more efficiently, facilitating the management of the different tools and the analysis of results.
How Inbound Marketing Works
The “inbound methodology” is divided into four main stages: attract, convert, close and delight. They emphasize each of the stages of the purchase cycle of your prospects (discovery, consideration, decision), plus a fourth stage that takes into account the post-sale. This is because, for inbound marketing, loyalty is very important in the consolidation of a business.
Below we explain a little more about each stage.
This stage has to do with positioning your company on the internet and attracting your ideal customers so that they find your content, and through them, your products and services.
For this, an optimization of the digital infrastructure of your company is carried out aimed at achieving a significant increase in traffic to your website. In addition, a content plan is developed especially oriented to your buyer personas, with the purpose of capturing their attention and helping them find a solution according to their needs.
Learn more about how inbound works to generate qualified traffic in our post How to attract more and more customers to your company’s website.
content + context = nutritionOnce you have managed to attract your ideal clients you work to convert them into contacts (leads).
Different types of resources specially designed to achieve conversion come into play here, such as leadflows, chatbots, CTAs and forms, usually associated with downloadable content offers or special promotions.
These tools make people who come to your website voluntarily share their data (name, email, telephone, etc.) and consumption habits, joining your contact base. Hubspot’s smart segmentation helps marketing and sales teams prioritize the most interesting leads in this instance.
In the closing stage, efforts are focused on finalizing the sale. For this, it seeks to align the work of the marketing and sales teams, so that it is possible to maximize the results of the entire strategy.
At this point, the CRM is used as a meeting place where one and the other can dump all the relevant data to achieve a more precise level of personalization in business relationships.
The B2B sales process usually involves long negotiations in which the purchase decision is subject to a chain of people within the company. In this exchange process, the contextual knowledge provided by a CRM is decisive to fully understand the problem of each client and provide a truly focused solution.
Loyalty is a central aspect in inbound marketing. This means that, with inbound, the relationship with customers does not end with the purchase, but from there you work to retain them and turn them, little by little, into promoters of your company.
Our Hubspot partner explains it best:
The inbound method is based on offering an exceptional experience to customers. In addition, users now have much higher expectations of companies and the attention they receive. Therefore, it is much more important to interact with them in the right way, to delight them and help them achieve success. If you succeed, they will continue to buy your products or services, build a long-term bond with you, recommend your company to their friends, and tell everyone that they are fans of your brand.
In a few words, what it is about is working so that customers become amplifiers of your brand and add value to your business.
Why Do Inbound Marketing?
Following this methodology, companies start a virtuous circle in which customers amplify the reputation of their brand, reaching even more people.
In this way, with inbound marketing it is achieved:
- Strengthen the presence of a company on the internet, so that potential customers find it first when conducting a search related to its industry.
- Position a company at the top of mind in its category, transforming it into a benchmark.
- Consolidate long-lasting business relationships, based on trust and personalized attention, maximizing the lifetime value of each client.
- Generate more leads, more sales opportunities, and more profitability.
Inbound works well for all types of businesses, both B2C and B2B. But in the B2B sector, where the buying and selling processes are longer, it is particularly useful to consolidate a brand reputation among potential customers, nurturing them with valuable content in a personalized way.
The result is a robust digital infrastructure that does not depend on the contingent effects of advertising but is based on pillars such as brand authority, content, SEO and analytics. In Argentina, where achieving sustainable growth is always a challenge, inbound provides security and a long-term perspective on marketing and sales processes.
Keys To Inbound Marketing For Industry And The B2B Sector
Industries (and, in general, any B2B company) go through complex, usually long, sales processes. In them, the potential buyer spends a lot of time researching the product or service they are interested in purchasing, analyzing each of its aspects before making a decision.
This is logical, considering that these operations usually involve large sums of money and significant time investment due to testing and implementation factors.
From this point of view, incorporating a “consultative” marketing methodology is strategic. Inbound marketing allows a company to offer valuable content to educate its prospects on the use of its products and services, helping them to solve the doubts, concerns and problems they may have about them.
This includes technical specifications (white papers, technical sheets, brochures), user aids (educational posts, manuals, best practice guides, implementation protocols), post-sale support material (FAQs, installation tutorials), among others.
The wide spectrum of content, multichannel and multiformat, serves both to help current customers and to attract potential customers, and gives a company intellectual authority in its field, transforming it into a benchmark.
Internet is a huge source of business. With inbound, industries learn to capitalize on their digital strategy to gain greater visibility and multiply their sales opportunities.
Inbound Marketing Profitability
Our Hubspot partner reports hard data about the effectiveness of inbound marketing for their clients. According to a study conducted by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on a Hubspot customer base, after implementing inbound marketing
- 3% of companies obtained a significant increase in traffic to their website;
- 7% had an increase in leads or potential customers;
- 2% increased their sales.
In our own experience, after a year of work, one of our clients reported a 25% increase in traffic to their website, more than 8,000 new leads generated and more than 3,000 sales opportunities.
In Hubspot’s success stories, you can find many examples of companies that have chosen inbound to grow, such as Casio, Suzuki, or Shopify. We recommend perusing the gallery, which covers all types of businesses and industries.
How To Implement Inbound Marketing
Inbound campaigns are the backbone of the methodology. In our post Inbound marketing: the main pieces of a campaign you can find more information about how they are structured.
In turn, we designed a template to help you implement an inbound plan from scratch.