Inbound marketing is a way of thinking and approaching marketing that focuses on building a relationship with a person. Drawing them in and offering solutions to their specific problems along the way. Even in the B2B space there is a person behind the screen. Inbound targets ‘Steve the Marketing Director’, not just the company he works for. Although, we do love a bit of ABM too.

Inbound is all about nurturing relationships. It’s about sending them an email that triggers serendipity. Or, writing a blog post that they just needed to read. It’s about showing up consistently as a brand across your all platforms. Inbound is a strategic and tactical way to get more of the right kind of customers. Customers who love you and love your brand. Customers who will refer you to more of the right people.

Three Reasons Why We Love Inbound

1. Conversations

At Perfectly Picked we value words. More than that we value communication. Chats. Talks. Conversations. Debates. These two-way exchanges that happen naturally in real life are difficult to replicate in the digital space. Inbound is our solution to this. It focuses on treating each interaction as a conversation no matter where the prospect is in the buyer’s journey.

If you know a little bit about ‘digital’ you’ll know that the basis of old school online marketing was to interrupt the customer, get in their face and show them your message, whether or not they were interested. Or worse, doing this based on the assumption that your product or service is desirable for everyone. Some call this Outbound, we call it outrageous. We never got into this, we couldn’t see the point. Like throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping some of it sticks. It’s messy, wasteful, loud and unlikely to work.

The shadow of a person shouting into a funnel

But ‘digital’ has evolved. Tech has improved and usability has improved. Search engines think more like we do and show more relevant results. Customers prefer to research online and have much more information available to them than they ever have before. The time felt right for us to step into the ‘digital’ space. Fully. Not just to dabbling a toe with a website and a LinkedIn profile. But, all in. We set goals, we put strategic thinking in place and we built a proper plan.

Inbound is our way into the conversation. It gives us the opportunity to talk about what we do, what we are good at and how we can help. Most importantly, it’s focused on meeting people where they are at and taking them on a journey.

2. Lead Nurturing

The power of the referral is real. A friend of a friend. My boss knows a guy. You know the sort. Over the years we’ve done really well through word of mouth and sterling reviews. We’ve worked with amazing companies, done heaps of energising work and produced great results. Yet, some of these jobs just haven’t hit our sweet spot. Outsourcing tasks we didn’t love. Saying ‘of course’ when the answer should’ve been ‘nope’.

Through developing our own marketing strategy, we got clear on the real value we offer to our customers. What we’re good at, what we love to do and the types of customers we want to do it for.

Inbound offers a flexible way for us to tell our future, and existing, customers what we do, how we do it and why it’s important. So, they can find us, and we can find them. Even without a straight-up referral.

3. Marketing Automation

Ok, this one is not strictly about inbound marketing but bear with us, there is significant overlap. In one way or another your business is already using Marketing Automation. If you send an automated ‘thanks for subscribing’ email then you are already using marketing automation. In that sense, it has been around for a long time. Think about it from a retail point of view. It powers vital communications about orders, delivery and customer care.

Marketing automation has changed the game. It allows marketers to have conversations with customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. It listens to what they are saying and reacts appropriately to their behaviour. Well, it does, if it is done well. It requires a very good level of understanding of your prospects, your personas. You’ll need to know what their pain points are, what they are trying to achieve and how you can offer a valuable solution. You’ll need to make judgement calls on what your prospects interactions with your brand mean and target them appropriately to that. Automation requires thinking and planning. It’s anything but automatic.

A fair warning for you, it is all too easy to fall into the category of spam. We’ve all had it sent us, we’ve all been chased and chased by the hard sell when we aren’t even interested. And don’t even get me started on those non-sensical, social media ads that follow you around for weeks after you google something arbitrary. No, I will not be purchasing a bed via your sponsored Instagram story just because I goggled ‘king size bed’ two days ago. Stop it, just stop it.

The point is, Marketing Automation can help move prospects down the buyer journey. If it is done well then it will point your prospects towards your most relevant, helpful and needed content. It will answer burning questions and it will offer solutions to pain points. It will demonstrate your value at the right moment, triggering an ‘aha’ moment rather than an eye roll moment. HubSpot is key to our success with automation. It is user friendly and the data it provides on user behaviour is easy to interpret and action. We are a HubSpot partner and can help you implement their solutions to enable you to deliver great automated marketing across all platforms. To read more on this, check out our post 'What is Marketing Automation and Why Should You Care?'

Final Thoughts

The basic sentiment of Inbound Marketing is that you target the right people, with the right products and/or services, at the right time and with the right messages. It's as applicable in B2B as it is in B2C. It's logical and the rewards are big. It's allowing us as marketers to be truly outcome-focused. We believe in Inbound and we hope you do, too.