Inbound marketing is a lot different from the traditional marketing that companies used last century. Most forms of traditional marketing were just like taking shots in the dark. Marketers would create messages and send them out en masse.
They had no real clue who was interested in their messages, or better yet, in their product/service unless the campaigns were meant to build loyalty among repeat customers.
Inbound marketing – when done correctly – takes all the questions away. Marketers know what tools attract consumers and where the consumers found links or content.
Inbound marketing produces three types of people for companies: visitors, leads and customers.
Anyone who arrives at a website from a link or from typing a URL in directly on the Internet is a visitor. As a whole, website visitors usually are referred to as traffic. Honestly, most visitors are just that. They view the website for a while and then – like traffic – they keep on moving along with their web browsing.
Some visitors do more than contribute to traffic stats however. They end up in the next category.
Leads are website visitors who’ve provided contact information. Conversion forms usually collect names and email addresses. Conversion forms can be on any page of a website to collect visitor information. It does not have to be squeeze pages only. Once visitors grant you access to their email inboxes to send your marketing messages, they become leads.
There are different types of leads. Some opt-out of email contact. Some delete emails or simply allow them to accumulate in their inbox. Some read them but do not intend to do anything more. Then there are those who read emails and click through to landing pages or to download complimentary content.
They are qualified leads, but only a percentage will see the inbound marketing funnel through to the end.
As indicated above, qualified leads are those people who are most interested in a company’s solutions. The most qualified of leads are in the purchasing phase of the consumer buying cycle. They have enough information about what they want. They’ve done their homework. At this point, they are pretty much just waiting for the most compelling emotional trigger.
Reel them in with persuasive copy and a solid guarantee. At the point of purchase, they’ve completed the cycle and become your customers.
Inbound marketing starts this process of elimination of sorts by sending targeted traffic to a website. That’s one of the advantages of inbound marketing over traditional marketing. Inbound marketing utilizes focused content (blog articles, videos, webinars, white papers, e-books, etc.) to attract ideal prospects.
With all the right elements in place, companies motivate attentive consumers to visit their websites – where leads are gathered. From there, good relationship building and high quality content convince leads to become the customers that every business needs to stay afloat.