The past decade has seen many changes, but few industries have faced disruption as much as marketing. Once the preserve of the smoke-filled macho dens of Ad Men fame, sales and marketing have become a new animal entirely, one that’s truly taken form in 2019.
Having cut its teeth in social media, found its footing in SEO, and taken flight in all the sparkly new forms of content marketing such as video, downloadable ebooks, and on-demand webinars, inbound marketing has transitioned and totally replaced outbound marketing as the number one way to attract customers to your product or service, particularly for B2B brands.
How Buyers Have Changed/Evolved
Marketing has changed, in large part, because buyers have changed. Buyers have taken back control of the buying process or the buyer journey as it were. This means that they will choose their own path, and if your brand happens to be along that path, all the better for you.
People have always hated outbound marketing -- no one likes to answer the phone to a cold sales call at dinner, or come into work with their inboxes filled with spam on a Monday morning-- but these days, buyers are taking a stand against such tactics. If they don’t like your approach, they’ll not only not buy your product, but they hop onto social media to complain to all their friends and followers about you.
Discovery and research are now an essential part of the buyer journey, and buyers are looking for companies who add value to the research journey at no cost. Once they see the value in the free product, they’ll then consider parting with their hard-earned cash on a paid product...if they find you authentic, that is.
Authenticity is now more important than ever in brands. Your buyers don't just want to know what you're selling: they want to know how you make it (and it better be from sustainable sources), why do you make it (it had better be a good, wholesome story), and where you make it (and if it's in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, you’d better run for the hills).
What is Inbound Marketing
Put simply; inbound marketing is content within context. It's having your customers come to you rather than chasing them down, pounding them with unwanted sales outreach. It's content and experiences tailored precisely to your target customer. Also, quite excitingly, it can take on a rainbow of forms, and the pot of gold at the end is more brilliant than ever.
The New Buyer Journey
Whereas the old buyer’s journey, the outbound marketing path, was a very simple process:awareness (with advertisements), consideration (often talking one on one with the salesperson),decision (handing over the cash).
However, nowadays, most of your potential buyers are not ready to buy when they come to you-- they need courting along the journey.
This new buyer journey goes as follows: attract (with blogs, website content, social media),convert and close (with content landing pages and calls to action), and delight (with email segmentation and CRM).
Why you Should get Excited About Inbound Marketing
We’re in an exciting era of marketing. Yes, the market is bigger than ever, and therefore competition is stiffer by the day, and being seen in the sea of competition is becoming increasingly difficult. That’s the downside of capitalism in a low barrier to entry marketplace.
The upsides? Oh, there are plenty. The main one is that the cost to develop content has dropped so low that it’s often literally free. Many inbound marketing strategies can be kicked off with zero cash investment, and most others cost under $1000 USD.
What else? Well, the content you develop is usually evergreen. This means that once it’s up --whether on your website or another platform -- it’s there for good (unless it’s on Snapchat), and it will continue attracting leads far into the future, and for long after you remember even creating it in the first place. Plus, inbound marketing allows you to own your own marketing assets, rather than “renting” them off, for example, Google and Facebook in the form of paid advertising.
What’s more, inbound marketing software has grown so sophisticated that it’s now possible to automate your entire inbound marketing journey. This means you could go on holiday for weeks(or even months) on end, and not miss a single sales lead. Passive income is the modern dream.
Inbound marketing is not easy. It may be inexpensive, and it may be far more effective, and in the long run, it may run itself, but -- at least at the beginning -- it requires a significant time investment, and a clever head (or 10) to get it right. This is because, with so much competition, it’s no longer enough to be good. Nowadays, inbound marketing content must be remarkable.
Inbound Marketing Strategies for B2B Companies
Unlike in the past, when there needed to be different strategies for B2C marketing versus B2B, now both products and services do equally well with inbound marketing. Here are some ways your B2B company can implement inbound marketing strategies to propel your marketing into this new, exciting era.
● Write in-depth blog content: Blogging is by far the best way to drive traffic to your website. However, just blogging isn’t enough. Your blogs need to be the most engaging, most informative, and most in-depth on the topic, available on the internet. No pressure.
● Optimise it with SEO and social: Once your blog posts are the best, they need to be further improved with SEO keywords and shared to your growing, engaged audience across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.
● Collaborate with industry experts: Social media influencers aren’t just for wellness drinks and the newest tech gadgets. They exist in the B2B marketplace as well, and, carefully chosen, can make a massive impact on your brand.
Now is the perfect time to consider an Inbound Marketing strategy for your company and Wigwam Digital are ready to guide you to success.