Integrating inbound into your marketing strategy

case for inbound marketing: puzzle cube

Kevin Williams

Posted on March 19, 2015

In the age of the empowered buyer, an IFA or investor looking for your products and services will most likely start their research online.

  • 94 percent of B2B buyers do online research and 78 percent of all shoppers use the internet to purchase and research products and services.
  • B2B buyers are 57 percent of the way through the buying process before first contact.
  • 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is completed digitally.

With your customers looking online, it’s essential that you take full advantage of your website as a marketing tool by integrating inbound marketing into your overall marketing strategy.

An efficient process

With inbound marketing, the pages of your website, your company’s published blog articles, social media, white papers and other digital content become tools in the inbound process to ‘attract qualified prospects to your business’ and efficiently nurture those leads until they are ready to convert to customers.

Inbound is a step-by-step process, which tracks the buyer on their journey towards conversion (and beyond).

  1. Attract the buyer. There is a lot of noise on the internet, but an inbound strategy aims to slice through it by generating content based specifically on the keywords and topics your ideal buyers are searching for. The value of the information you provide helps to build a relationship with the customer who hasn’t yet contacted you directly.
  2. Provide a call to action. Inbound marketing uses built-in elements on the pages of your website to convert the visitors you attract into quality leads, which gradually fills your sales funnel. It starts with a call to action button, which usually features at the end of an article or on your homepage, offering additional, valuable information to the buyer in, for example, a white paper or eBook.
  3. Use landing pages to capture visitor information. When a visitor clicks on a call to action button, they are taken to a landing page where they are asked to provide their email and other information in exchange for the offer. If they think what you are offering is valuable enough, they’ll hand over their details, at which point they become a lead.
  4. Close sales. Regardless of quality, 50 percent of leads aren’t ready to buy immediately after their initial conversion. Instead of trying to make the sale, inbound marketing nurtures those leads with more quality, relevant content until they are ready to hand off to sales.
  5. Delight customers. It costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. Inbound uses content on social media and in email marketing to create loyal brand advocates and foster long-term relationships, which makes perfect sense in the financial services industry.

The case for an inbound marketing budget

The efficiency of the inbound process sounds ideal, but the prospect of integrating inbound into your marketing strategy presents a key challenge: how do you get a budget for inbound approved before you’ve proven its return for your company’s investment?

Take cues from others’ success

  • 85 percent of companies increase website traffic within seven months with an inbound strategy.
  • Companies which excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sale-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost.
  • The percentage of marketers that practice inbound marketing in the UK has grown from 54 percent to 79 percent in the last 12 months.

Establish credibility for inbound in your company

  • HubSpot’s State of Inbound report recommends a service level agreement between marketing and sales, promising to generate a certain number of quality leads. This demonstrates how effectively inbound can drive business results.
  • With inbound, utilising a tool like HubSpot, which we use to measure and manage our own inbound marketing, you can monitor and nurture individual customers, track ROI and automate your marketing processes. Good news for all of the ‘bean counters’ out there!
  • Companies report the number one reason for increased marketing budgets is proven success with inbound marketing activity.

What does it take to integrate inbound marketing into your strategy?

Integrating an inbound strategy doesn’t necessarily require an overhaul of your current marketing strategy. It may however, require consideration to the way you use your content and website.

Consistency is key. The personas you have developed for your target market should clearly be the same whether it’s an inbound or outbound marketing tool being utilised. Add cohesive messages targeted at those respective personas and you have the guiding principles for a successfully integrated marketing strategy.

Quality content. Successful inbound requires a consistent output of quality content, relevant to your buyer personas at every stage of the sales funnel. And relevant to your outbound messages.

An optimised website. The placement of content and offers on the pages of your site are key to executing inbound.

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) companies surveyed either agree or strongly agree that they are working towards delivering cohesive customer experiences, rather than standalone campaigns or interactions, according to Econsultancy’s Marketing Budgets 2015 report. Customers don’t think in channels and marketing strategies – they just expect a consistent experience everywhere they go.