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What Is Inbound Marketing?

Mary Grothe Dec 8, 2020 11:17:51 AM
Inbound Marketing

As a Platinum HubSpot Agency Partner, we custom build HubSpot’s inbound marketing methodology and related services for our clients. This technology allows us to use automation to shift the focus of our clients’ revenue teams from a siloed approach to a holistic revenue scaling strategy. In other words, it allows your team to stop hunting, and start selling.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is the process and methodology that attracts your qualified, ideal customers to your brand while they’re in one of the three stages of their buying process; awareness, consideration, or decision stage. Inbound marketing is a process of developing your marketing channels such as SEO, SEM, paid media, organic media, social, email marketing, and other traditional marketing methods to drive qualified, targeted traffic to your website.

Inbound marketing requires your website to be written in your prospect’s language, have pristine navigation, relatable imagery, clear calls to action, and create an emotional connection with your prospective-customer by quickly answering their most pressing questions like “how can they solve my problem? How can they help me? How will my life be better if I engage with this brand?”

Inbound marketing also relies on opt-ins, educational content, nurturing methods, and a welcoming, no-pressure environment that creates a comfortable experience for your prospective-customers. By allowing them to engage with your brand and build a relationship with you, they’ll begin to emotionally connect and feel confident that you might be just what they were looking for. 

Building your inbound marketing process is one of the most profitable investments you’ll make in your journey to scale revenue. Inbound marketing funnels reduce, and sometimes eliminate, the need for expensive salespeople to spend the majority of their time prospecting. Imagine a sales department of well-trained and talented salespeople who get to show up to a calendar of qualified prospect meetings every day. What kind of results would you have? We’ve seen salespeople 2x, 3x, and even 4x their sales by removing the need to prospect.

 

HOW IT WORKS

 

STEP 1: GETTING THE OPT-IN

Make sure to stay compliant and don’t spam anyone, meaning, everyone you add to the funnel need to opt in. This starts with building a qualified lead list. Our methodology follows key principles in Account Based Marketing and Account Based Sales. We believe marketing and sales should work together, in alignment, on the same target list of qualified prospects. Marketing will always have a broader reach and attract additional potential buyers to your brand and those who are qualified and match your ideal customer profile (ICP) and targeted buyer personas will most likely convert through the funnel as well as your targeted list. Potential buyers who don’t fit your ICP will likely realize they’re not a fit for your company and disqualify themselves. This is a good thing. No one wants their marketing or sales team to waste time on unqualified leads who don’t have buying intent.

Building the Lead List

The first step in creating your in lead list is to identify your ICP and the unique buyer personas within each profile. Most companies have 5-10 ICPs and 5-7 buyer personas within each ICP. Here is a high-level, basic example of an ICP and a corresponding buyer persona:

High Level Ideal Client Profile Example

Industry: Manufacturing & Distribution

Company Size: 200 employees

Geographic Location: Midwest

High-Level Buyer Persona Example

 

Title: CFO

Pressing Challenges & Day-In-The-Life: 

  • Lack of visibility into key business intelligence required to make business decisions, resulting in frustrating leadership meetings and missed revenue targets.
  • Unable to rely on department heads for accurate information from accounting, payroll, and inventory systems which causes team members to feel uneasiness and dissatisfaction with their jobs.
  • Long work days several days per month for month-end, quarter-end and year-end closeout and reporting which creates stress at home with their spouse and children.

 

Once all ICPs and buyer personas are established, you need to create a human-verified lead list with accurate contact information. 

We partner with Cience to build custom, human-verified, pre-qualified lead lists (if you have used other list-building services, you know how key the ‘human verification’ element is here). We also partner with database partners like Zoominfo and have recommended LinkedIn Sales Navigator for certain teams (synced with HubSpot).

Your CRM most likely has dozens, hundreds, or thousands of inaccurate lines of data. Your marketing team and sales team are held back when they receive email bounce backs, call bad phone numbers, or mail information that gets returned. Set them up for success by investing in a human-verified lead list that only contains your targeted, ideal buyers’ contact information.

Once ready and imported into HubSpot, marketing and sales should work this list in tandem. By doing so, you’re already positively impacting your prospective-customers’ experience because marketing and sales will have access to the same data, in real time, and there won’t be delays or disjointed communications.

Working the Leads: Sales

The sales team is responsible for the initial outreach to ignite the prospect’s curiosity in the company. This includes:

  • Connecting with their leads on LinkedIn and following our proven LinkedIn method (we teach this method in detail, access for free in our training room.)
  • Using the automated HubSpot sequence to send a short and sweet customized intro email, asking an easy question that prompts a response or the email’s CTA drives them to the website—this is where marketing comes in.
  • If the initial email doesn’t convert to an opt-in, we encourage salespeople to begin a 10-15 step cadence of emails, calls, social media engagement, invites to webinars or events, handwritten letters and other physical mail, and drop-ins, if applicable.

Working the Leads: Marketing

Marketing guides the prospect to an opt-in, in tandem with sales, by focusing on a few key strategies:

  • An engaging website that offers value on every page. We can build, update, or rebuild your website, using HubSpot’s CMS, or any service you’re already using.
  • A content marketing strategy, using important tactics like pillar pages and topic clustering. House of Revenue™ has a full-service content team that creates buyer persona specific content for each stage of your funnel.
  • Follow an Account Based Marketing approach by using a targeted list, generating content specific to each buyer persona (title, industry, geographic location, and size of the company), and adding buyer-persona specific landing pages and content on the website. 
  • An SEO strategy, which goes hand-in-hand with a content strategy. Google’s algorithm is shifting, and SEO is no longer just about keyword stuffing. Google is smarter every day, and knows what pages people end up spending time on when they search for specific terms, phrases, and questions. This means that engaging, buyer-persona specific content is the SEO strategy we implement.
  • If a prospect clicks on the intro email from sales, HubSpot registers the action and guides the client to relevant content (both free and gated) created by the content team. Both marketing and sales can be notified immediately and the sales team may choose to directly engage the prospect via phone or email when they know they’re on your website.
  • Each piece of content offers value to the prospect and guides them to opt-in for even more relevant, valuable content. 
  • An SEM strategy. Most of us know that building organic search results takes time, but paid media and search can drive results today, so implement ads and social media marketing to supplement traffic until the SEO strategy holds its own. Build a digital strategy that delivers targeted, qualified impressions, clicks, and conversions, all by focusing on quality over quantity.

STEP 2: LEAD NURTURING

Once the prospect has opted-in, nurture the lead by getting them interested in and excited about your brand. How? By talking about the pains and problems you solve. Match the problems in their buyer-persona specific day-in-the-life with how your products and services solve those problems. They’ll begin receiving emails as the automated marketing email drip campaign kicks in. 

Sales can also build their own customized, personalized email cadences to run alongside the marketing email funnel. The email campaigns should continue to guide prospects to more valuable content that helps answer their most pressing question, How can this company help me, make my life better, and address my key challenges?. This doesn’t have to be an endless barrage of fliers, either. Create rich content for prospects in the lead nurture funnel, including:

  • Compelling and powerful content meant to help them solve problems on their own
  • Webinars
  • In-house podcasts
  • Podcast guest spots
  • Guest blogging
  • Blogs
  • Brief how-to, instructional, or informational videos


STEP 3: LEAD SCORING MQLS BASED ON ENGAGEMENT

Once a prospect begins engaging with the brand through the lead nurture content, HubSpot can automatically assign lead scores based on the actions the prospect has taken. This is customizable, and you can determine the qualifying points that translate to a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).


STEP 4: SALES QUALIFIED LEADS

Once the prospect has been scored high enough to become an MQL, your sales team can reach out to qualify the prospect, at which point they become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Top-of-funnel sales reps should be trained on making pristine first impressions in order to tee up a qualified discovery or demo meeting if they’re passing the lead to another salesperson, depending on the sales process flow for each company. 


STEP 5: OPPORTUNITY & FORECASTING REVENUE

Now that the prospect has been properly nurtured and qualified, the salesperson turns that lead into an opportunity, forecasts the revenue, and begins doing what they do best: selling!

Notice how the steps get progressively shorter as the lead goes through the funnel? 

That’s because this methodology does the heavy lifting on the front end. This allows your salespeople to focus on the opportunities that are most likely to convert—and that’s how you build the front end of a revenue engine. 

Want to talk about whether this methodology would make sense for your company’s environment? Contact us to start a conversation!