A month ago, if you'd have asked me to explain what inbound marketing is, I wouldn't have been able to give you a solid answer. I mean, of course I'd have an attempt by throwing together some key marketing buzzwords, but I doubt I would hit the spot. One month into my new role with a certified HubSpot partner and I would be fibbing if I said this position has changed.
This is because inbound is not a static marketing strategy, it is a fluid and adaptable concept. However to put it simply, at the core of inbound marketing is one of the simple lessons we are first taught in nursery; sharing is caring. It is an empathetic philosophy based on making business more human and customer centred.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rachel Blackburn and I am the new Social Media Executive here at Six & Flow. Before June I was working for eCommerce development agency Digitl, which has recently been acquired by Six & Flow (which you can read more about here).
In theory, my role at Digitl was the same as my current role at Six & Flow. In practice, this is quite far from the truth thanks to my good friend, inbound marketing. Six & Flow is a platinum tier HubSpot partner and an industry leader in enabling inbound processes. As part of the acquisition process, and in order to stay up to speed with the rest of the Six & Flow marketing team, I've been undertaking the HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification course.
So with that being said, here are three things I've learnt about inbound marketing since starting at Six & Flow.
From my observation, traditional marketing efforts typically seem to be focused on sales, sales, sales. Inbound marketing, in contrast, is a more loveable approach that pulls people in by being helpful and offering value to prospects by caring about their problems and looking at ways to solve them. It is based upon the idea that if you enable your customers to grow then, as a result, your business will grow too.
In this sense, inbound is the exact opposite of interruption-based marketing, whereby marketers push their products onto customers through intrusive ads. Instead, inbound takes into account the whole buyer journey by matching content to a prospect's wants and preferences at the time and place that is most convenient for them.
Inbound marketing uses a four-stage methodology that focuses on attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. At Six & Flow we do this primarily through blogging, content strategies, chatbots, social media, email and lead nurturing. This empowers potential customers to find us how and when they want to be approached.
Unlike other strategies, inbound is very widespread. It encompasses four fundamentals: company culture, buyer personas, buyer journeys and inbound stack tools. These are directly reflected in Six & Flow's company values of accountability, holistic thinking, playfulness and growth.
Beforehand, I'd never really considered how things such as the office environment can affect your interactions and relationships with prospects. But culture is essentially part of the product you offer and the service you provide, so it makes sense. In fact, within my first few days, Rich asked me to complete a behavioural test via Teamscope, an application that combines behavioural science and big data analytics to help build exceptional teams. To me this represents a new, fun way of thinking about marketing that is fit for 2018.
Last but certainly not least, inbound marketing really works, I've seen it with my own two eyes! As millennials, it's fair to say that we have become hyper-aware of when someone is trying to sell a product to us. This can often come across quite disingenuous or spammy so our brains tend to automatically zone out of this process. For instance, would you be able to recall the last sponsored advert you saw on Instagram? I doubt it.
What this means is that using resources on traditional outbound marketing efforts is often futile. Inbound therefore represents a much smarter marketing tactic. It goes without saying that results differ from client to client, but statistics show that inbound can result in up to 54% more leads, which each cost around 61% less than outbound leads. What's more, inbound can double the average conversion rate on a website from 6-12%.
So what's next? For me, HubSpot's inbound certification is just the beginning. Currently I'm around half way through the programme but I already have plans for which course I will be taking next (it's going to be focused on social media, if you're interested). As well as being a great asset for your CV, HubSpot Academy is generally just quite fun.
The lessons range in length from around 10-45 minutes so they're easy to fit in and allow me to break up my day a little bit, which I find helps to refresh my brain. The tutorials themselves are both easy to follow and engaging, perfect for people like me who are just starting their professional marketing careers, or industry experts who want to enhance their professional credibility. Besides, I've only been out of academia for a year and I miss my days as a student more and more every minute, so if nothing else at least the tutorials provide me with a good sense of nostalgia.
If you're looking to work with a certified HubSpot partner that can support your inbound marketing efforts and share their expertise, search no further. Get in touch with Six & Flow to see how we can help.