Inbound marketing is no longer just a buzzword. It’s become the most effective way for businesses to generate quality leads and achieve a healthy ROI. And there’s good reason for why inbound has surpassed most of the old outbound marketing tactics. Simply put, inbound marketing is just more effective. In fact, companies that switch from outbound to inbound marketing are three times as likely to increase ROI and reduce marketing costs by 49 percent.
Inbound achieves these results because it is a less invasive and more consumer focused approach to marketing. But why is it so much more effective for lead generation? And where did it come from?
A Brief History of Inbound Marketing
Back in the mid-to-late twentieth century, when outbound techniques were at their peak, consumers were a lot different as well. There was no internet or smartphones. People couldn’t just hop online and search for the products they desired. Instead, they relied on marketers to tell them which products they needed and where and who they could buy them from.
Then in the mid-1990s, the internet and search engines came into play, allowing consumers to find products and retailers online. But the inbound method of producing content designed around the consumer was still a long way off. People continued to use the outbound approach with inbound tools, which is how spam came to be. Marketers would pay for customer lists, obnoxious pop up ads, and send invasive emails in an attempt to get the consumer to choose them over competitors.
So what caused the shift to inbound? Well, for starters, an entrepreneur by the name of Seth Godin published a book called “Permission Marketing” in 1999, which introduced many of the core concepts of inbound marketing.
Then, in 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the CAN-SPAM act. This forced marketers to think of a new, less invasive approach to reach consumers.
Shortly thereafter came social media, SEO, and Google Analytics, and HubSpot. All of these helped define the inbound methodology that we use today: attract, convert, close, delight.
Why Inbound Marketing with HubSpot?
It was actually HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan who first introduced the term “inbound marketing.” He and his partner, Dharmesh Shah, designed the HubSpot platform around the concept of inbound and together, helped inbound marketing to “go mainstream.”
One of the reasons why HubSpot is ideal for inbound is that it seamlessly combines many disparate marketing tools. You can build webpages, manage a blog, send automated emails, integrate your social media accounts, track your customers and where they’re coming from, and a whole lot more. HubSpot’s combination of email, social, and content marketing management tools also integrate with over 40 third-party applications including Google Calendar, Salesforce, SurveyMonkey, and Zendesk. And in 2015, HubSpot introduced their own CRM, HubSpot Ads (which integrates with Google AdWords and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates), and enhanced their reporting abilities to include predictive lead scoring.
Of course, while HubSpot is a very intuitive platform, you’re going to need someone who knows all the ins and outs in order to get the most bang for your buck. That’s where a HubSpot-certified inbound marketing agency comes into play. A certified Partner agency will not only know how to build entire marketing campaigns using HubSpot and can help customize your HubSpot portal so that it aligns with your business’ unique needs.
Inbound Marketing with HubSpot for Lead Generation
Attracting leads is obviously an important part of the inbound methodology. Fortunately, HubSpot can be a powerful tool when it comes to lead generation. It allows you to connect with potential customers through a variety of channels, such as search engines, social media, blogs, etc.. It then lets you convert them into leads via a form so that you can continue to market to them.
This lead generation process includes:
- Discovery: Elements like your blog, social accounts, website, etc. help new consumers find your business and become aware of the products or services you provide. Inbound tactics like SEO can help make these elements more visible. HubSpot provides you with a number of tools and analytics data to help you optimize these channels. For example, Hubspot allows you to see how well optimized your blog content is for SEO.
- Calls-to-Action: When a consumer reaches one of your discovery elements, you’ll need to inspire them to take some sort of action. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase. Place image or text-based CTAs throughout your content so that you can get those visitors to learn more about your offer.
- Landing Pages: Once the consumer clicks on your CTA, they should be taken to a matching and well-designed landing page. While it may not seem like it, landing pages are crucial to capturing new leads. A poorly designed or slow landing page will cause visitors to bounce. HubSpot makes it relatively straightforward to create a compelling landing page.
- Forms: Once they reach the landing page, this is where the lead-capturing forms come into play. In order to get more people to fill out the form, you should limit the number of fields only to those that are most necessary. People are unlikely to fill out long forms that ask for too much personal information.
- Gated Content or Offer: The last component is the gated content on the other end. This offer is what pushes the visitor to click the CTA, view the landing page, and fill out the form. It can’t be just anything—it has to provide value to the consumer. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to waste their time to get to it. One common example of gated content is a value-driven ebook that offers knowledge to the reader. While it’s important to note that the ebook shouldn’t just be another sales pitch, you can include a CTA for your product or services in its conclusion.
HubSpot’s lead generation tools allow you to create all of these elements and implement them into one cohesive strategy. Plus, all the contacts that you capture from these lead generation tactics can be stored and managed within HubSpot. This enables you to easily nurture leads in new and existing campaigns, which will help guide them through your marketing funnel and result in more conversions.
The lead generation tools on HubSpot also pack in a lot of extra and extremely helpful features. For example, HubSpot’s “Smart” CTAs can personalize the offer to match the interests of the viewer and their stage in the buying cycle. This personalized content can result in 42 percent more visitors than you would get from an ordinary CTA. Additionally, HubSpot offers a variety of other “Smart” features, including pre-filled forms, dynamic page titles, and emails that send at the time in the recipient’s own timezone when they’re most likely to open it.
Some other inbound tactics that HubSpot does well:
- Email Automation – HubSpot makes it easy to create targeted email drip campaigns, allowing you to move contacts that come in through your landing pages further down the funnel.
- Lead Scoring – When you do get leads, you want to make sure that they are a good fit for your business. That’s why HubSpot provides a pretty robust lead scoring tool, which allows you to assign a score a lead based on parameters that you define.
- Sales and Marketing Alignment – While HubSpot started out as a tool for marketers, it has expanded to include a full CRM and sales platform. These tools align perfectly with the marketing side of the platform, allowing you to easily hand off leads to your sales team.
If you’re looking to capture more leads and conversions, inbound marketing is certainly the way to go. But successful inbound campaigns take a lot of time and know-how, and the tools are most effective when placed in capable hands. An inbound marketing agency that specializes in HubSpot management will be able to take your campaigns to the next level and bring in some serious ROI. To learn more about inbound marketing with HubSpot and how it can help you with your lead generation, contact SevenAtoms today.