According to Hubspot, inbound marketing is a “business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them.”

But what exactly does that mean?

Well, inbound marketing was developed as an alternative for the traditional way of attracting new customers through ads, commercials, promotions, and so on.

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Since today’s customers are more sophisticated than ever and have access to in-depth information on any subject, the best approach for promoting your website is not by interrupting their browsing experience, but instead by becoming the very thing that they search for and eventually find.

In this article, let’s compare inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, explore some of the best inbound marketing tools, and figure out the most effective inbound marketing for B2B strategies.

Outbound Marketing in 2020 - Why Not?

Millions of businesses around the world are still using outbound marketing, so why should you focus on inbound marketing as your primary growth strategy?

Well, if you look at Google Trends data, it’s more than obvious which strategy is more popular, and the gap between them is set to increase even more int the coming years.

Outbound Marketing in 2020 - Why Not?

Getting people to respond to intrusive messages is becoming increasingly difficult. The internet is oversaturated with advertisements, and most users have learned to ignore them and look for content that’s relevant to them.

In essence, outbound (or “interruption”) marketing positions you to fight an uphill battle, as justifying that unwanted interruption is going to make developing positive associations with your brand much more difficult.

On the other hand, with inbound marketing, you are actually providing your prospect a favor in the form of useful information that he is actively seeking himself.

Instead of shoving an ad in his face, the prospect finds your useful articles, blogs, videos, or social media posts that talk about their problems and how to solve them. At the same time, they also learn more about your company, what it does, and what solutions it offers.

This is especially important in B2B markets, where audiences tend to be more sophisticated, consume more content, and do their own research before deciding on a product.

A solid content strategy for blog, social media, emails and outside of owned content channels is important for reaching out to B2B audience and building authority.

If you’re not guiding the conversations in your market, you can’t drive the narrative in your favor and leave it in the hands of the competition. Still not convinced that inbound marketing is the way to go? Here are a few stats that drive the point home:

  • Hubspot found that acquiring an inbound lead costs 61% less than getting an outbound lead;
  • Other reports state that every dollar spent on inbound marketing yields three times more leads than traditional methods;
  • Inbound marketing can save you more than $14 for every newly acquired customer.

Outbound vs inbound marketing stats

These stats clearly show that both in the short-term and the long-term, inbound marketing produces more leads while simultaneously helping reduce costs and maximize every marketing dollar that you spend.

But while it’s clear that inbound marketing can be incredibly effective, you must know the best tools to use and strategies to implement if you want to achieve results that you’ll be happy with.

So, let’s explore some of the leading inbound marketing tools you should consider.

Best Inbound Marketing Tools

Since inbound marketing centers around delivering positive experiences to prospective clients, you will need to use multiple channels and tools to attract, engage, and delight the people and companies that you want to work with.

Inbound marketing pillars

As illustrated by a helpful graphic in this Hubspot article, these three inbound marketing pillars must work in unison if you are going to achieve success.

After attracting people to your site, you will need to continue helping and supporting them. That is the only approach that will allow you to consistently turn visitors that know little to nothing about your company to loyal customers who also become your best ambassadors.

But what’s the exact process behind the Attract-Engage-Delight approach?

Let’s explore below.

Attract Tools

When trying to attract customers using inbound marketing, your strategy must revolve around providing value and addressing the main problems that the prospect is facing.

You can achieve that using two main tools.

Content

What types of content should you be creating?

Different types of content are the driving force behind any effective inbound marketing strategy.

By providing helpful and relevant information for your audience, you will not only position your company as an expert but will also attract the right prospects to your website and, ultimately, your funnel.

But what types of content should you be creating?

Well, one of the most worthwhile approaches is to create video content. Although it can be time-consuming and requires a bit more effort, video can help separate you from the crowd, engage more prospects, and help you cast a wider net for your inbound marketing efforts.

You should also start a blog and create content on a range of topics, as that can also help you rank for various keywords in your niche and attract organic SEO traffic, which is a huge part of any inbound marketing strategy.

Finally, if you want to leverage audiences of other brands and influencers, you should consider starting a podcast, as podcasts provide unique value and insights that can be incredibly valuable to your target audience.

The main goal of content is to spread it around across social networks and various platforms to maximize your reach and cast a wide net, attracting prospects that are the most likely to become your best customers.

Ads

Targeted ads campaigns

While organic reach through social media and SEO is extremely important, you shouldn’t discount the potential that targeted ads campaigns can offer as well.

For instance, since Facebook’s organic reach is in decline, you will need to consider how to supplement your social media efforts with paid ads on the platform. That can help you reach not only a wider audience, but also run hyper-targeted campaigns that engage your most valuable prospects.

Google Ads are another excellent option for supplementing inbound marketing campaigns. Although they were traditionally associated with outbound marketing, Google Ads can help your results stand out among the organic search and appear for some of the more competitive keywords.

What’s more, since Google users are already actively looking for answers, these types of ads aren’t as disruptive, especially if they provide valuable information or a solution to their problem.

Finally, you should also consider running ads on Quora - it’s one of the most valued resources online, and so people trust the information that’s shared there.

Running ads on Quora

People that end up on Quora are already in the research phase, so if you can display relevant ads to people who are seeking information about a topic related to what you offer, there’s a high probability of them being interested.

Engage Tools

Attracting leads to your site is a big step, but it won’t make much of a difference if you aren’t able to engage and capture those leads effectively.

You need to use lead capture and lead nurturing tools that will help you have meaningful and relevant conversations with your leads, which will guide them towards a decision to become your customer.

Let’s explore some of the most effective tools you can use below.

Lead Capture

Once someone clicks through to your site, your main goal is making sure that the visit doesn’t become the last interaction the prospect has with your company.

In other words, you need to engage and capture that lead so that it can be nurtured later on. But how can you capture leads?

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of powerful tools that can help you do that.

In the B2B world, opt-in forms that offer valuable information or a free trial in exchange for contact information are always popular. Here at Albacross, we use Free 14-Day Trial Period along with the other known approaches.

Engage and capture the leads

It help to not only further educate the lead about your products and services but also ensure that you can keep the conversation moving forward.

You can use a lead magnet that incentivizes the subscription and also serve as a lead nurturing tool that helps the lead solve problems or gain knowledge.

In recent years, pop-ups have also made a strong comeback - although they used to be considered a nuisance, today’s customers are more open to pop-ups, especially if they offer value and a reason to stay on the site.

Lead Nurturing

Once you have a lead’s contact information and permission to reach out, you can use multiple lead nurturing strategies to engage them and move them through your sales funnel.

Use multiple lead nurturing strategies

If you capture a lead’s email address, the best way to engage them is to create an email newsletter or an email nurture sequence.

An email newsletter, also known as a drip campaign, is an automated campaign that sends out emails at regular intervals, helping keep your company on the mind of the lead while also providing useful information.

With a nurture sequence, on the other hand, you would not be sending out the same emails to the entire list but would instead send out customized sequences based on behavioral data such as which pages the lead visited, what they subscribed to, or what they have read.

Nurture sequences are instrumental when you want to introduce yourself to a new lead and have personalized interactions that are the most relevant to them at any given moment.

If you have lead behavioral data, you can also use it to run paid retargeting campaigns, which engage leads that already visited your site on social media and other relevant websites.

All of the above can be executed much easier if you use marketing automation tools and integrations that can replace manual tasks and send out the right messages at the right time, completely on autopilot.

Delight Tools

The difference between losing a lead or converting it into a customer often comes down to how many positive experiences you have.

And that’s why it’s so crucial to engage your leads at the right time and the right way, providing the most relevant information each step of the way.

Luckily, with the help of marketing automation tools as well as a structured approach to gaining insights, you can make sure that you delight your leads every step of the way to them becoming a loyal and happy customer.

Support

If you want to delight and help your leads, you need to provide them with the right information at the right time. But the timing won’t matter if the information itself isn’t helpful and insightful.

That’s why you need to focus your attention on creating helpful articles that will eventually form a user knowledge base which you can point to and share accordingly.

Comprehensive support system

Another crucial part of the equation is having a comprehensive support system that can provide assistance and answer questions via multiple platforms such as email, phone, and chat.

When you have a user knowledgebase, you can also use chatbots to direct users to a relevant article without the need for a live representative.

Gathering Feedback

The only way to continuously improve your services and products is to listen to your leads and customers.

That’s why customer surveys and live calls can be incredibly useful.

By gathering feedback and listening to what you should improve on, you can run inbound marketing campaigns that your audience will be much more receptive to.

And by offering product demos and live calls, you can hear in real-time which parts of your presentation or your products generate the best response, and which raise the most questions, continually tweaking and adjusting your presentation and approach.

Promoting the Brand

When you have positive interactions with your leads and customers, you’re not only positioning yourself to make more sales but are also developing valuable relationships in the process.

Promoting the brand

You can use those relationships to ask for referrals, turning your best customers into ambassadors that help you reach ideal clients that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

What’s more, by identifying your most engaged customers and developing better avatars, you can use that information to run better campaigns that provide the best returns for your efforts.

How to Implement Inbound Marketing for Your Business

Inbound marketing can be up to 10 times more effective than inbound marketing if executed properly. Still, you need to understand how to implement it for your business if you want to achieve the best results.

Here’s the exact process to make it happen.

1. Figure Out Who You Want to Reach

Since inbound marketing revolves around helping prospects move past obstacles, you need to have a deep understanding of who you want to target and develop a buyer persona that will become the basis of your entire strategy.

Develop a buyer persona

2. Identify the Best Approach

Once you have a buyer persona and understand his needs and frustrations, as well as his online habits, you will have a much easier time identifying the best channels for reaching these ideal customers in each stage of the Attract - Engage - Delight approach.

You will also likely discover which stages have the most promise in your market to deliver results, and can focus your attention accordingly.

3. Audit Your Current Strategies

Before creating the plan, you will need to take a look at your current marketing strategies and evaluate where you’ll need to make changes, as inbound marketing is a wide-ranging approach that will require a unified effort during all stages of your sales cycle.

4. Come Up with a Detailed Plan of Action

Only at this point will you be able to prepare a detailed plan, outlining the funnel that you will use from now on and mapping out the tools that will be required to execute it.

Prepare a detailed plan of action

Finally, you’ll need to track your performance using KPIs, which will provide you insights and also show you the areas that you want to improve.

But what types of KPIs should you track?

Well, here are a few you should consider:

  • Total Traffic - In order to see whether your strategies are working, a good starting point is looking at how much traffic you’re getting week by week.
  • Traffic by Source - Besides looking at the total traffic, you should look at which traffic sources are producing the best results.
  • Number of Incoming Leads by Source - Another crucial KPI is measuring which lead capture pages or forms are capturing the most leads so that you can tweak and adjust accordingly.
  • Sales Revenue - You need to measure the amount of revenue that your inbound marketing campaigns generate so that you can calculate whether it is profitable and whether the performance is satisfactory.
  • Customer Lifetime Value - One of the biggest benefits of inbound marketing is the long-lasting relationships that you develop with your customers, which is why you should measure how valuable the average customer is over their time with you.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost - You will need to look at the CAC against the Customer Lifetime Value (CLF) to see if the cost is justifiable.
  • Website Traffic to Leads - By calculating how many of your website visitors turn into leads, you can determine how much you can spend on your ads and other lead generation methods.

What types of KPIs should you track?

In the end, you can’t expect to measure all of the KPIs, as that would take up too much time and would make inbound marketing unsustainable.

Instead, you should pick the KPIs that have the biggest impact on your results and focus on them, as that will help you focus your efforts and make informed decisions quickly.

Bottom Line

Even though inbound marketing came to be only 14 years ago, it has completely reshaped how companies generate leads and make sales today.

Whether you’re a small startup or a well-established company, building relationships using inbound marketing can provide excellent results on any level.

And the best news is, with the range of inbound marketing and automation tools that are available today, providing seamless experiences for your customers is now easier than ever before.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that inbound marketing is here to stay and will only become more prevalent going forward.

But even though inbound marketing is incredibly powerful, there is another way to capture leads without the need to use forms or lead magnets.

If you operate in a B2B industry, you can use Albacross to capture leads that visit your site, even if they don’t subscribe. You can learn what pages they visit, what company they represent, and how to reach them, getting a list of new leads delivered to you every single week.

Try Albacross

Albacross

Marcus Svensson

Head of Growth

Marcus Svensson is responsible for the Growth of Albacross with previous experience as a founder and background in Mathematics.