Inbound Marketing, in its most basic form, is the process of using marketing and promotional tools to attract a wider audience to your website and business, turning this audience into customers and in turn transforming these customers into promoters of your company.  Since 2006, inbound marketing has been considered the most effective and efficient way of running a successful business online.

Inbound marketing has replaced the traditional form Outbound marketing that we know of, which included things like buying competitors phone numbers and email addresses and hoping that these would eventually turn into leads.  Now inbound marketing enables you to continuously attract a larger audience, furthermore it ensures more of the audience become customers, who will eventually promote your business to their family, friends and colleagues.

The process involved in inbound marketing is four staged:

  1. Attracting an audience
  2. Converting audience to Leads
  3. Converting Leads to customers
  4. Converting customers to advocates

Here are each of the stages in more detail:

1. Attracting an audience:

Unique content improves your website rankings on organic search results and expands your potential audience.  The content on your website needs to be original and fully search engine optimised (SEO), it should include keywords that your customers find search on to find your business and must sell your company’s goods/services to the audience.  Content should be tailored toward the customer, answering questions they may have and detailing how you as a company can satisfy their needs.  Content can come in various forms such as content pages, articles, blogs and even social media.

2. Converting audience to leads:

There are a number of tools that can be applied to ensure more of your audience are transformed into leads.  The landing pages that your audience are directed to play a significant role, and preferably they should request some details of the audience, such as their email address, which when attained will secure the audience member as a lead. Any calls-to-action, or forms that the audience member needs to complete and could potentially provide some personal information, are ideal tools to include on your site.

3. Converting leads to customers:

With leads it important to close the right leads at the right time, as such using tools on your site may prove to be significantly useful. Use a lead scoring tool that represents the sale readiness of a lead in a numerical expression. Follow up on leads with emails and marketing automation, and comprise a complete on-going report on leads that have become customers, and those that haven’t and why.

4. Converting customers to advocates:

There is no better form of advertising than by individuals promoting your business through word of mouth. Using a variety of social media tools, calls-to-action and email and marketing automation you can improve the level of customers that would refer others to your business.

In order to become a successful business, you must give considerable though to your inbound marketing strategies.