The digital revolution has completely changed the world of marketing and advertising. To accommodate these changes, most companies have adopted major shifts in marketing protocol and messaging, shifting away from “outbound” strategies like cold calls or flyers. Focus has shifted toward attracting the customer. Inbound marketing is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting your customers so you can build lasting relationships with them. Inbound strategy aims to:
ATTRACT customers with targeted content strategy and helpful solutions
ENGAGE customers with tools like lead management and email marketing
DELIGHT customers with valuable content and ongoing conversation
Digital marketing is a major frontier for companies driving growth. But is the Canadian market as tuned in to this shift as it could or should be? If you are running a business in Canada, are you missing out on the major opportunities that an inbound marketing strategy could open for you?
MARKETING IN CANADA IS MORE DIFFICULT
Canadian consumers think and shop differently from their southern neighbours. Canadians are less likely to shop online than Americans, and when making a purchase are typically more interested in finding the best value for their money than in maintaining brand loyalty. Advertisements that perform very well in the US often have a measurably less significant impact in Canada. As one journalist noted, the difference between Canadian and American television ads can be nothing short of startling.
Canadians are not as easily won over by clever branding. They are more suspicious of marketing tactics and messaging, and they are willing to do their research to find the best deal. Furthermore, roughly ⅓ of the Canadian population are “baby boomers” born between the 1940s and 1960s, an enormous demographic with a distinct set of interests and purchasing preferences that can influence bigger market trends.
However, Canadians are also interacting on digital platforms - a lot. A report released by Ryerson University in 2017 revealed that 94% of Canadians have profiles on at least one social media platform, with 84% active on Facebook. Canadians may be a tougher sell, but they are clearly not averse to digital interaction.
If you are a Canadian business owner who has hesitated to employ inbound strategy out of fear that the wrong messaging might seem intrusive or inauthentic, or that a fancy new marketing strategy might drive costs too high to keep your value-oriented customers around, you might have misunderstood what inbound marketing actually is - or at least how best to employ it.
WHAT IS INBOUND MARKETING, AND WHY DO IT?
If you’ve been around digital marketers at all, you may have heard catch phrases like “content is king” or suggestions about which social media platforms you should or shouldn’t be using. But is inbound marketing really all about investing in high-quality content?
In short, inbound marketing is a method that brings your customer to you - and not just any customer, but the specific customer in the specific demographic that your product or service is designed for. By conducting research and developing realistic profiles of your target customer called buyer personas, you can begin clarifying your vision and creating a strategy that will land with the audience you’re looking for.
The three touchstones of inbound methodology according to HubSpot are to attract, engage, and delight customers.
Attracting Your Customers
Customers are attracted through relevant content that meets a need or solves a problem for them. Content is not the king - unless it’s content that meets your unique audience where they are at and adds value to them in some way.
Engaging Your Customers
Engaging your customers is all about continuing a conversation. Tools like email, live chat, social messaging, and targeted social ads can help build relationship with customers in the places they like to interact online.
Delighting Your Customers
Finally, delighting your audience with memorable content, special offers and helpful information is what keeps them around beyond one purchase. All of this begins with understanding who your customer is, where they are interacting online, and what their unique problems and pain points are. A qualified inbound marketing consultant can help you corrall all of this information quickly and efficiently, so you can move forward faster.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a big or small fish, or whether you are a B2B or B2C business. When leveraged properly according to your specific goals - whether that’s to rank in search, grow your email list, drive profits, or all of those things - inbound marketing has measurable results. Corporate giant GE’s Instawalk influencer campaign on Instagram earned them 3000 new followers and 8 million views of their account, without any paid ads at all. After adopting an inbound strategy, accounting firm Drucker and Scaccetti saw their number of website leads jump from an average of 0-2 per month to roughly 17, with a good percentage of those leads converting to paying customers. They have landed several large clients and have seen both their website traffic and blog subscribers skyrocket.
HubSpot is a software platform that helps businesses leverage the power of inbound methodology and streamline their customer management to maximize results. HubSpot has helped thousands of customers world-wide to grow their business using inbound strategy.
Using live chat and chatbots that integrate with HubSpot’s Conversations feature, your website customers can ask for help and get answers in real-time. The built-in feedback system helps you easily collect customer feedback. The software also gives you the ability to track who is visiting your website and when they are visiting. Inbound strategy alone is a powerful tool, but HubSpot is designed to take your strategy to the next level through automation, valuable customer insights, and streamlined customer service tools - so you can not only land the customers you want, but keep the relationship strong.
Inbound methodology and the HubSpot platform are proven tools that have helped thousands of companies drive sales and increase customer engagement. If you want to take your business to the next level, it’s time to see what inbound can do for you!