The 6 steps of the methodology of inbound marketing

The real case of Lantares

To explain the methodology used in the inbound marketing we will refer to a real case of a B2B Company: Lantares, a consultancy specializing in IBM (obviously, could have also spoken about a B2C business, since, although with some twists, the methodology is similar).
Let's look at the different phases of the process:

1) the effect of attraction and attachment of the expert

The staging of the inbound marketing has the effect of attraction and engage expected, has to be a necessary condition: creation and publication in a technological vehicle online content that have a high value and interest for the audience that we wish to attract.
Without a doubt, the most appropriate for this vehicle is a blog. The same effect of attraction using another format, could also be achieved provided serve to House a valuable and interesting content for the potential audience of the company.
In addition, and with very few exceptions, the majority of Internet users are perfectly familiar with the blog format: a blog of articles sorted in reverse chronological order, with a list of categories in a sidebar on the right of the screen and the ability to sign up as a supporter.
Now let's look at the arrangement of elements in the Lantares's blog:
To attract the audience that interests us, we must ask what are the concerns (or points of pain in its own marketing slang) related potential customers to our products and services. Precisely, the will to respond to these concerns is what will mark the theme of the content, because that is what our potential buyers are looking for resolve on the Internet.
At the moment in which a profile of potential customer who wants to resolve a concern is a satisfactory response on our blog, two things happen:
  1. On the one hand, it satisfies your need and granted to the originator of the information the consideration of expert.
  2. Follows that the rest of the content on the site is of the same quality. For this reason, there will be some probability that you subscribe to our blog, to return him to new publications.
But back to the case of Lantares. In an effort to attract own the business systems Department profiles, the firm publishes content resolving the questions that this target is often search the Internet. Here is an example:
The user enters the following search on Google: "Scorecard", and among the first results is a proposal of content of Lantares, which offers "Scorecard: everything you need to know". A percentage of users who perform this search click on this entry. If the content pleases you, stop looking and stays with the blog.
This phenomenon occurs simultaneously to all content which hosts the blog up to date, and cumulatively for future web items. In this way, the greater the number of published articles that solve problematiacas, the greater the chances of responding to possible doubts of our potential audience.

(2) choose the most suitable format for the content

So with regard to the format of the contents, this should be changed, since, depending on the personality of our potential customers, they may prefer to consume content in one format or another.
These are the most common:
  • Text
  • Graphics
  • Infographics
  • Audios in podcast format
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Videos
  • etc.
In relation to this issue, it should be emphasized, despite its peculiarity, the inbound marketing is often confused with the content, marketing a Variant most popular, with a greater number of years in use and with a more descriptive name.
According to the State of Inbound Marketing 2014, 59% of respondents understood the content marketing as a discipline contained within the inbound marketing, conceived the latter as a broader and more complete.

(3) how is the traffic generated on the blog?

If the content is of high quality and interest, traffic was born naturally. There are four main sources of traffic:
  1. Organic traffic originating on Google:
    • The stated mission of the search engine is to give the user the best answer that exists on the Internet. Google's algorithm has the ability to identify when a content is relevant or not in relation to a given theme.
    • When a content is identified as relevant by the search engine, it displays at the top of the results list and begins to deliver traffic.
    • Thus, if we base our content strategy to generate relevant content for a particular audience, Google will reward us with traffic that meets the profile we are looking for.
    • When we create and publish content on an ongoing basis, this attraction effect is cumulative, so web site receives more traffic ever.
  2. Recurrent traffic subscribers:
    • The user's usual response to a blog with relevant information is the subscription. Thus, when we publish new content, we get that the registered user again visit our web site, since it receives a notification of a new entry.
    • The life of this user as a Subscriber will depend on keeping their need for information on the subject and the quality and interest of the content that we continue offering.
  3. Organic traffic originating in social networks:
    • When the content is quality, a percentage of users often shared in their social networks. Since users tend to be surrounded by profiles with similar needs and tastes, this formula will generate us a natural effect of attraction of traffic equally. Cumulative also to increases the number of faithful followers.
  4. Reference items relevant from other blogs. When an author of other reference blog some of our articles, this action creates a new source of additional natural traffic: that of their regular readers.

(4) the conversion of traffic

Once we have launched the blog with a frequent content publication, the four sources of traffic mentioned in the previous paragraph will begin to send visitors to our site or blog.
Since some of these users will fit with the profile of our potential customer, it will be important that we Let's take a more personal and contact details in order to know them better.
For more information of our user, we have at our disposal the following instruments:
  • A higher quality content to delve into a subject determined in a downloadable format (type .pdf, audio, video, etc.)
  • A call to action or call to action, which will help us to capture the user's attention and explain the existence of that content in depth.
  • A landing page with a built-in form that will provide the content quoted in Exchange for personal information.
We continue with the case of Lantares to facilitate the understanding of the process.
Once the user has found through a search on Google, a social link or a social reference, read the following article from the blog: "scorecard: everything you need to know".
Throughout the article, you can find one or more calls to action that offered a content related to what you're reading (and with a greater volume of data):
If the user is interested, you will click on the call to action button and arrive at a landing page where you will have the opportunity to get the document offered in Exchange for their data.
This is the moment where he is given what is called conversion. In other words, it's the moment in which the user is no longer someone anonymous to become someone with names and surnames (i.e., an contact or lead).

(5) the scoring of the captured data base

At this point, must bear in mind that, in reality, the user is not interested in our services or our products. The reason why the data we have is because the user has been interested in content.
Anyway, if our blog we have published contents that are related to the type of solutions that provide our products and services, we can say that there will be some coincidence between the user and what offers our company, although we still won't know if it's time for a commercial offer or not.
The next step of the methodology of the inbound marketing is to discover what users who have entered in our database are ready to accept a commercial offer or not.
To do this, we use an automatic system of lead scoring, which will qualify us dynamically the level of qualification of the user according to two variables:
  • Demographic profile
    • Depending on this factor, the user will be more or less about our ideal profile, by what we'll give you a higher or lower score. En_el_caso_de Lantares, takes into account aspects such as the country, office, Department or company size).
  • Behavioral profile
    • Depending on the level of interaction that has had with our blog and website, we will consider the user as more or less committed to our brand.
    • In this dimension, we will not only evaluate the number of interactions that has the user, but, in addition, we'll its behavior. Indeed, it is not the same that visit a blog article explaining to that go to our website to see the services we offer and then ends up on our contact page.
According to all the commented about the profile and the route of user interaction, we will be able to distribute to all the leads from the database according to whether they are more or less prepared for the time of the sale.
Once we identify a user or group of users who we believe qualified, due to his scoring, will have to synchronize the database from the project of inbound marketing with a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Sales team receives only the leads of those users whose level of demographic scoring and interaction is high. At this point, these professionals will have between hands who already know the brand and contacts that match the desired socio-demographic profile. In addition, they have all interaction with the company history, so the commercial approach has all the numbers to be highly effective.

(6) Lead nurturing

Once we have the parameterized database according to our quality criteria, it is time to educate them according to their level of qualification and interests automatically. This is what is known as marketing automation.
Marketing automation tools to implement a series of campaigns of interaction with the database (e-mail, interactions in social networks, actions offline, direct marketing etc...). These campaigns are personalized for each user, according to the moment in which they are needed, and cumulative.
Therefore, after awhile, get building a machinery's education and maturation which helps to turn what were users interested only in content in qualified users prepared to receive a commercial offer.
Returning to the example of Lantares, in the case of the user who has downloaded only content in depth over a control panel will begin to receive a series of automatic emails related to this topic of interest:
  • First, we will provide you with information that will describe what is a control panel
  • We will continue communicating to him the benefits of its implementation in a company
  • We will let you get some success stories
  • Finally, we formulate a project proposal for your company
According to the user interactions with the aforementioned chain of e-mails, process can be modified, accelerated, slow down or even combined with other related campaigns.

Some conclusions

The inbound marketing has resulted in the construction of a machine capable of generating qualified traffic to a company's web site, create a database related needs covering our company and, finally, educate and make mature this database to get qualified business opportunities.
Since the result of the expenditure on a project of this nature is in the construction of a channel of creating commercial opportunities, we could say that the used amount not should be considered as an expense, but rather an investment, since the result is the creation of a series of assets with intrinsic value and ability to generate performance.
These assets are:
  • A file of interest and quality content that is indexed on the Internet.
  • A organic with origin in the search engines online traffic, growing in time if we continue creating new content.
  • An organic origin social networking traffic, in crescendo due to the viral effect that own networks.
  • A (reach) Group of faithful followers of our subscribed to our blog and social channels, whom we call our brand evangelists.
  • A database of users with needs that covers our company, and month-to-month increases.
  • A brand. The fact give increasingly more visibility to the brand through valuable content, not only makes us experts, but it contributes to popularize the company.
Finally, we must not forget that all this channel generation of business opportunities is fully compatible with any other format of traditional advertising and marketing. In fact, the combination of the inbound marketing techniques (traditional) outbound generates a high leverage effect.
For this reason, we think that the inbound marketing will become the backbone of the marketing and advertising for any company, since it allows to take advantage of all the current marketing and advertising techniques to enhance its attraction effect and to accelerate the construction of the above assets.
Published for educational purposes

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