Up until recent years, Inbound Marketing was considered to be a novel concept. It was primarily seen as an optional supplement to more traditional push marketing campaigns. However, in the modern era, the internet has necessitated a change that puts the customer in the center of all stages of the marketing process. This is the reason why Inbound Marketing practices have become ubiquitous.
Inbound Marketing is the process of creating original, engaging content that will attract, engage, and delight potential customers in order to draw them to your business. This pull oriented approach is centered around the concept of a flywheel.
The inbound flywheel (as pictured above) has largely replaced the traditional marketing funnel as the prime means of developing marketing strategies for many companies. While the marketing funnel is focused on linearly passing the customer from marketing to sales and finally to customer service with each group picking up where the last left off. The flywheel methodology enables all these groups to work in conjunction to give the customer the best possible experience with the least amount of friction.
Under this approach, the responsibility lays on every team to provide a holistic experience to everyone interacting with the business. The flywheel builds on momentum that is generated from each consumer interaction to fuel the next in a cycle that perpetuates growth and awareness.
This whole process kicks off in Step 1: Attracting
The responsibility of attracting customers falls chiefly to the marketing department. With the inbound model this is accomplished by creating quality content. This is most often executed by utilizing blogs and social media marketing through as many channels as possible. The key is to create content that provides the viewers with value so that they will be incentivized to follow up for more.
Once prospective customers decide to come back the onus is on sales people for Step 2: Engaging
If attracting customers is like getting a fish to nibble on your bait, then engaging is all about setting the hook. This is done by showcasing to these prospective customers what you bring to the table. GMS accomplishes this by posting previous example of our projects and through blogs highlighting our members and their accomplishments.
This step goes beyond the initial interaction and is designed to show the customer exactly what they are looking for.
Once the interaction reaches an individual level it’s time for Step 3: Delighting
Delighting is all about reeling the customers in. CRM or customer relationship management focuses on driving growth by personalizing all interactions with current and prospective customers. This is where the customer focused approach really shines though in the flywheel. Constant contact and feedback ensures that your relationships are constantly improving so that customers are left satisfied.
Once the process is done and you have a satisfied customer, the wheel never stops turning. Happy customers interact with your content more and propagate new customers by themselves. Once the flow gets started the focus can shift to reducing friction between the steps in order to build momentum.
Getting the wheel turning may be challenging, but once it gets started it will quickly speed up and new customers organically appear. Enticed by content that provides undeniable value, engrossed by your business offerings, and enchanted by quality customer service. These are the makings of a successful inbound model.
My name is Dan Bruwer and I am a junior studying marketing and management information systems at Boston University. I hope that this has been able to demystify the inbound methodology. If you have any questions or comments be sure to reach out to myself or any of our knowledgeable GMS leaders. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.