Inbound Marketing: when is the customer who’s looking for you

Inbound Marketing: when is the customer who’s looking for you

Inbound Marketing: when is the customer who’s looking for you

Concepts such as “Outband Marketing” and “Inboud Marketing” are known by most marketing managers. However, it was only since 2009 that the real explosion of this method has occurred, possibly driven by the launching of the book “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs”, by Brian Halligan e Dharmesh Shah (2009).

The big difference between “Outband Marketing” and “Inbound Marketing” is based essentially on demand. On the first concept, the companies or brands are the ones looking for customers. On the second concept, the customers are the ones looking for companies or brands.     

Nowadays, we see a growing number of companies and brands identifying the potential of the “Inbound Marketing” because, more than selling, companies and brands want to keep the customers interested, want to establish the relationship and turn that customer into a reference or recommendation to other potential customers.

This process is simpler than it seems but it’s necessary that companies and brands pay attention to potential customers, understand their real needs besides using the same language. They must above all, communicate what the customer wishes to hear, because the customer wants to meet his/her need. Only this way it becomes possible for the customer to meet the company or brand.

Thus, “Inbound Marketing” is the set of strategies (content and automation) that aim to attract and convert customers voluntarily (when the customer is looking for the company or brand, not the other way around). Normally this kind of strategies are applied using content marketing, that is, content relevant for the potential customer, spread by several channels (for example on the company’s website or on a blog associated to it) is developed in order to educate potential customers while at the same time the company or brand becomes a reference to influence the purchase decision. For example, a car brand that develops content on improving the performance of vehicles, will certainly attract many people interested in this kind of topic and they can be turned into customers.

This way the “Inbound Marketing” process is divided in 4 stages: attract, convert, sell and keep.

#Stage 1 – Attract: the goal is to convert website visitors into regular visitors due to relevant content. There are several ways of attracting qualified leads such as content marketing, social networks, the website, the blog or the SEO.

#Stage 2 – Convert: is necessary to transform regular visitors into sales opportunities. There are several ways of converting qualified leads such as landing pages, call to action, CRM, and CRO.

#Stage 3 – Sell: this is undoubtedly the main goal of any company or brand and there are several ways of doing it, for example: personalise marketing contents, use marketing emails and use the lead scoring, which consists of a categorization of customers according to certain priorities.

#Stage 4 – Keep: more than actually selling, companies and brands now wish to extend the relationship after sale. The goal is to keep the customer, so he/she can recommend the company or the brand. Some ways of keeping customers consist of the after-sales service or the continuous creation of relevant content to those who have already finished purchase. For example, a car brand can develop exclusive content for the customers to use the vehicles, making people that are already customers keep visiting the website or other platform to get that information. This example reveals the brand is interested in maintaining the customer and establish a positive relationship.

Nevertheless, we know the results for marketing actions must be measured so it’s possible to evaluate the marketing decision-making and make any adjustments when necessary, and “Inbound Marketing” is no different. For this method we recommend that you use several metrics at the same time: ROI, conversion rate, funnel conversion, CLV (Customer Acquisition Cost) ratio, or customer lifetime value.

“Inbound Marketing” came to stay but it mustn’t replace the interpersonal relationship entirely. We believe there must be a balance between the automation of content and the relationship itself.


Márcia Monteiro – MA Marketing Course Leader

London School of Design and Marketing

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