A Friendly Definition of Inbound Marketing
Asking around, we’ve heard guesses on this definition to include “sort of like inbound sales, customers call you,” and “when you put your telephone number on an ad and the interested prospect dials your number or visits your site.” Kind of.
Inbound Marketing is a combination of a variety of marketing efforts that pulls (potential) customers to you. So, when a stranger searches for items related to your services (e.g. landscape architecture), they might come across your site. They’ll browse, read articles that interest them (because after all, they came to your site because they had time to look at it and because they are interested in the services your business provides).
They’ll click through various action buttons (download files), share them with their spouse and friends on social media (because, again, they are interested in this topic). Then, you stay in touch with them. They share their email or other contact info with you automatically on your site (you got it, because they’re interested in your services). You have automatic flows in your site and contact system that keeps this visitor (not a stranger anymore) engaged. You share content with them based on content they downloaded or read (e.g. landscape architecture -> adding outdoor kitchen and entertaining to resemble their home architecture).
When they show even more interest by opening your emails and clicking on content, they’re automatically transitioned to more detailed content (e.g. budgeting, timeline, etc.). And then you finally talk with them because they are ready to buy and they call you! They’ve learned quite a bit along the way with your automatic communications with them. You learn more about each other and you close them on a project they’re excited about.
After they’ve been made happy, you keep them delighted by continuing to send them content and engage them on social media with relevant info for their new space (e.g. ways to accessorize an outdoor kitchen or tips on entertaining in the fall). Learn more about effective email communication with your prospects and clients here.
You might find yourself thinking that inbound marketing is a lot like having a digital sales rep. You’re right, it is. It's your online sales rep that handles many customers all at the same, with individualized attention based on what they need and where they are in their buying journey. One of the common favorite parts of Inbound Marketing is that these leads are qualified before they get to you. This means less 7pm appointments for you and your team! Learn more about driving more leads through your site.
Explaining inbound marketing wouldn’t be complete without mentioning content marketing. The most critical element of inbound marketing includes content marketing – which is content creation and then distribution (e.g. blogs that are posted on the site, emailed, and are on your social media accounts).
In summary, we think inbound marketing is another way of saying, “automated digital sales rep.” We hope you have one!