What is inbound marketing? What are the advantages?
In contrast to classic outbound marketing, inbound marketing attempts to establish a dialog with the customer. The customer is to be accompanied in his decision-making process on a neutral and partner-like level. In doing so, customers are addressed via distributed channels. The company is positioned as an authority in the market. The significant difference to outbound marketing is thus the transition from push to pull marketing. Inbound marketing now represents a part of the marketing mix in most companies. Even companies with smaller advertising budgets benefit from this development.
The average investment costs for inbound marketing are much lower than for outbound marketing. For example, with the latter, paid advertising in Google Ads always budget is invested to maintain the advertising measure. At Content Marketing is in turn invested once in the creation of the content. These then remain in place and involve little or no further investment.
In inbound marketing, the production of valuable content plays a crucial role. This should be tailored to the target group and also offer real added value. Tailored content works best in the respective phase of the purchase decision. To define the target group, the development of buyer personas is an important tool in inbound marketing. Buyer personas are fictitious representatives of your target group, defined by various characteristics.
The main channels of inbound marketing are:
- Search engines (search results, advertisements)
- Personal contact (newsletter, email marketing, phone, SMS, WhatsApp, chatbot, offline mailings, etc.)
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Xing, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Website content (blog, infographics, website)
- Web tools (self-assessment, consulting, appointment setting)
- Web resources (glossary, videos, podcast, webinars)
Inbound marketing and marketing automation
In principle, all contact channels to prospects and customers can be mapped to build a stable relationship. Modern marketing automation solutions map all channels to provide a cross-channel view of the user. As a result, these solutions make it possible to reach users at the right time, with the right content, and on the right channel in real time.
Technology is necessary for comprehensive inbound marketing, according to experts. Providers of marketing automation solutions offer these technological prerequisites. Their products are mostly available as software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Nevertheless, the term marketing automation encompasses more than a technological platform. Rather, the specialist literature speaks of a method for achieving business goals.
"Against this background, the Institute for Sales and Marketing Automation (IFSMA) Marketing Automation as the IT-supported execution of recurring marketing tasks with the goal of increasing the efficiency of marketing processes and the effectiveness of marketing decisions."
Marketing automation can automate inbound and outbound marketing activities, thereby optimizing the use of resources. As a rule, marketing staff are the most expensive resource. But repetitive tasks can be mapped into software journeys and run fully automated, 24 hours a day in the background. This relieves employees and allows them to devote themselves to more complex tasks. Automated journeys, for example the lead nurturing process, run automatically in the background.
Lead nurturing as part of inbound marketing
Besides offer Marketing Automation Solutions another advantage. Sophisticated reporting tools of SaaS solutions allow processes to be continuously optimized. Closed loop reporting provides the ability to track and analyze the customer's entire decision-making process. Campaigns and communication channels are analyzed and compared in real time through constant reconciliation between marketing and sales systems, which also reduces the workload on sales. For example, a lead can only be transferred from marketing to sales at the right time. This is because the lead may not yet be ready for direct contact from sales and must first be accompanied by marketing in the decision-making process.
This process is referred to by marketing experts as lead nurturing. Based on this evaluation, employees can continuously optimize marketing processes and use the findings when creating new campaigns. This not only automates processes, but also develops the management strategy into a learning organization that can continuously improve its processes.
Marketing Automation is thus a 360° solution for coordinating inbound and outbound marketing activities. Test the extensive possibilities for marketing and sales yourself with the free demo version of SALESmanago.