Everybody knows the tools used in digital inbound marketing, the best channels to deliver a message, why blogging is important, how to remarket campaigns, prepare the targeted content, take advantage of native ads, and all that. What most people tend to forget, however, is the essence of inbound marketing.
What is this essence? Basically, it’s a philosophy, an approach to marketing that goes beyond the mere sale to build long-lasting relationships with customers. The inbound marketing philosophy satisfies needs, connects with people at multiple levels and points in time, and encourages them to give feedback that is addressed. And there’s more…
1. Inbound B2B is a true commitment – inbound is not about a quick sale, it’s about gaining trust. This comes with ‘long mileage’ and true responsibility. You cannot drive (successful) inbound marketing without the mileage. So before getting into the car, think – can you invest the time, creativity and writing you need to commit?
2. Inbound digital marketing is a phase in a constant work in progress – be agile, remember that no one can predict what the right channel is for the B2B message you are trying to convey. There is no cookbook. For one message it can be microchannels in LinkedIn and Twitter, for another mass awareness in remarketing platforms, and for yet another support content using content tools. Be ready to change channels based on performance, cost per lead and conversion rate.
3. Analysis is more than just measuring – while you need tools to measure response, analysis is rooted in the philosophy. Analyzing helps you know what’s working and what’s not (channels, funnels, content assets), and what drives traffic to your brand or service. Trend, investigate and calculate so that you know what’s paying off and what needs to change.
4. Wrap process, channels and content together – here is where philosophy meets tools and people. Draw the business process path you want your potential customers to follow. Select the channels you want to use for each message and meeting point. Then write the content for each. This is where you will need the right combination of tools, technology and skilled people.
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5. What does your target audience really need? Each junction in your inbound campaign targets different people. Each needs or is looking for something different. One needs to learn because their boss asked them. Another has to sell your solution to management and you have to give them the tools. Finance will need to see metrics, how much they are saving, whereas IT will want to see availability, redundancy or ability to perform under stress. It is not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Content, tools and technology are always in flux, but the underlying philosophy is here to stay. These concepts are crucial for understanding your target audience and what you need to do to drive recognition.
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