In order to make sense of the ever-growing number of channels and techniques that B2B marketers have to consider, the internet is awash with different how-to guides, tip sheets and a multitude of metaphors to try and explain multi-channel marketing. We know this because we are one of the agencies trying to help marketers make sense of it all. Our previous blog posts have been filled with guides, overviews and even a graphic representation of the sales funnel. And, now there’s more…
One B2B marketing technique that is continually growing in popularity, whilst also provoking many questions and concerns, is inbound marketing. Ultimately, it’s about creating content that will attract leads to your business and show them that you are a company worth working with. However, when it comes to marketers implementing this strategy, it can be easier said than done. So, to help simplify this approach and empower you to get the most from your future inbound marketing, this blog post will discuss HubSpot’s take on inbound marketing methodology…
Running in parallel with the traditional sales funnel diagram, the image above further simplifies the entire process down to 4 simple stages. The first of these is the attract stage – otherwise known as demand generation. As the graphic shows, there are some marketing channels that will work better than others at this point. When trying to catch the attention of prospects in the research stage of their buying cycle and attract them to your product or service, blogs and social media are fantastic tools. Using SEO best practice for your blogs is a great way to ensure they appear highly on the search engine results pages, and therefore give prospects a better chance of finding them. Once prospects have clicked on your blog or social media post, it’s vital that they are guided to a landing page via a strong call to action.
This stage of the process is vitally important as it will convert unknown prospects into contactable leads for your business. In the traditional funnel diagram, this stage would represent prospects actually entering the top of the funnel. The two most important features of the convert stage are landing pages and forms. The layout, imagery and copy on a landing page needs to be good enough to convince the visitor that the content they’ll receive is worth providing their personal details for. And, in order to capture that information, it’s necessary to include a form on every landing page. The number of questions and length of the landing page form should be determined by the visitor’s perceived value of the content. For example, if you are going to provide a comprehensive report on the current state of the industry, you’d be entitled to ask for more information than you would if the content was simply a one-page tip sheet.
This close section is a highly simplified version of the standard lead nurturing process that would feature in the more traditional sales funnel diagram. As shown in the above image, the key tools at this stage are emails, workflows, lead scoring and CRM integrations. Once a prospect has converted to a lead, it’s now time to guide them towards a sale using relevant content and multiple touches. This of course can be achieved automatically if marketing automation software is available. By creating workflows based on certain content topics or decision-maker pain points, it’s possible to show leads your thought leadership and reasons why they should work with you. Employing lead scoring to identify when a lead has become ‘warm’ and potentially ready to speak to a salesperson is a highly convenient step in this stage of the process too. By building a relationship over time with a lead, it’s more likely to result in a sale (i.e. closing the deal).
This is a stage which is not typically covered in the standard funnel diagram approach to marketing. In the traditional approach, achieving the sale is the end of the process; however Hubspot’s approach to inbound marketing has taken it one step further. By continuing to use emails, automation workflows and social media channels, it’s possible to continue the buyer relationship and provide them with a never-before-seen customer experience. The outcome of this approach is that customers become so impressed and trusting of your brand that they begin to tell their family, friends and colleagues about your excellent service. Your customers have now become your brand evangelists and some of the most valuable marketing you could ever wish for. Some people may not trust marketing material, but they’ll trust the opinion of a friend, colleague or family member, as found by Marketo, “70% of consumers trust recommendations from a friend, whereas only 10% trust advertising’.
To find out more about implementing an inbound marketing strategy and increasing your leads, sales and revenue…