Inbound marketing is about creating a valuable experience for your audience. It attracts, engages and delights your customers. This is a smarter way to do marketing because it demonstrates value. The methodology takes your audience on a journey. When the sales and marketing teams align around an inbound approach, you can provide a comprehensive experience.

Supporting this methodology takes time and content. I also believe that this methodology includes the modern-day funnel. The funnel consists of stages – awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation and purchase; and in order to communicate with the users in those stages, you'll need to use attract, engage and delight methods. It just depends on where that user is at in the funnel and what method will make the most sense.


Drives users to your website

Driving people to your website can be done using communications, advertising, social media and search engine optimization. If you're targeting users in a particular publication, it's important to remember that those users are in the awareness stage, so your content would not be promotional. Instead, this is where you would showcase your thought leadership.

If you're using Google Adwords, these users would most likely be in the evaluation stage when it comes to the product or service, but in the awareness stage when it comes to your brand. Therefore, while you're bidding on keywords that are targeting users ready to make a decision, you need to remember that they may not know your brand. Therefore, your landing page content needs to include trust symbols – memberships, certifications, testimonials, press mentions, etc.

Nurtures your leads

Now that you've attracted your audience to your site, what are you going to do with them? This is where nurturing is key by providing specialized content. This content needs to make sense to where that user is landing on your website. Users landing on a content marketing hub would not be ready to buy. Therefore, it makes no sense to add a “buy now” button on that hub because the users are in the awareness stage. Instead, it would make sense asking them to download an ebook, white paper or guide that pertains to providing more information on what that campaign is about. This is where you establish your expertise with the audience. Like any relationship, you need to establish credibility.

Delights your customers through re-engagement

Everyone likes to be looked at as special. Therefore, a good re-engagement campaign will do just that but with content. A happy customer will spread the word about your brand, and other users will visit your website, thus starting the cycle all over again.

I truly believe that a good inbound marketing strategy will include a solid understanding of the marketing mix. Many times I have seen digital marketers try to implement inbound marketing and fail because they don't understand the other types of marketing and how all the pieces fit together.

Ashley Jones
Ashley Jones owns Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC ℠, and she believes in having an integrated marketing approach, incorporating strategy, digital, copywriting and communications.
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