eCommerce is possibly the easiest way to set up a business. However, making it successful is no walk in the park. Thanks to its flexibility, eCommerce has the capability to evolve to your needs, so long as you can come up with a solution. Perhaps the biggest challenge eCommerce stores face is marketing, as it is hard to predict the result of your marketing campaign. As the traditional marketing approach fails to yield the desired results, new and improved marketing methods have come to light. Inbound marketing is one of the most effective and popular marketing methods that are being employed by leading companies worldwide.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a revolutionary marketing process that uses captivating content and experiences to attract and educate customers before they are even ready to buy. It is perhaps the most cost-effective method for achieving higher conversions. Unlike typical conversion strategies, inbound marketing appeals to consumers in the earlier stages of the buyer journey.
Today, the eCommerce landscape has changed dramatically, and conventional marketing methods have become inefficient in this changing eCommerce landscape. What makes inbound marketing stand out from the other marketing strategies, is that it consists of many sub-initiatives that work together to create a much more powerful and effective marketing strategy.
Inbound Marketing vs. Buyer Journey
In order to understand inbound marketing, you must first understand the buyer journey. The buyer journey is the research process the buyer goes through before making the actual purchase. It is during the early stages of the buyer journey when inbound marketing comes into play. It presents relevant and useful content in the form of blogs, infographics, videos, and more.
The 4 Phases of Inbound Marketing
The whole process of inbound marketing can be split into four sections or phases. The first phase is to attract your target audience using captivating content. Once the user has taken the bait, the engagement phase will help you retain the user from losing interest. The next stage involves converting the visitors attracted to your online store in the first phase, to consumers. This is accomplished by offering promo codes, discount offers, and other opportunities to save money. The final phase involves gratification, where your customers are satisfied with attractive loyalty programs and other strategies that convert them into promoters of your brand or store.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound campaigns never expire, unlike outbound campaigns that only last for the duration of that particular campaign. The content on your website will always be available to the target audience who are looking for it. It also has the advantage of having marketing materials like blog posts, which can be used for the foreseeable future.
2. Generate Relevant Leads
The best aspect of inbound marketing is its ability to generate relevant leads. What’s more alluring about this is that the leads or traffic generated via inbound marketing are from the relevant audience and not random users. By providing the users with useful informational content, you are enabling them to enter the sales funnel on their own accord.
3. Improved Brand Position
Inbound marketing enables you to provide the users with valuable information through the content you share. On doing so, you are able to showcase your knowledge and expertise in the subject making you a reliable expert from the user’s perspective. This raises the user’s expectation from the brand resulting in an improved brand position.
4. Create Trust
By consistently providing the users with reliable content and showcasing your expertise on the subject, you create trust between you and your users. Unlike typical marketing campaigns like PPC, inbound marketing does not involve pushing ads to users. Instead, here the customer is visiting your website on his own desire.
Inbound marketing may be the most cost-effective marketing method out there. Practically, all you need to implement inbound marketing is a website and blog post. But, for it to generate the desired results, an inbound marketing suite setup is required. By making use of the relevant tools, you can boost the results from inbound marketing, and it’d still be cheaper than any traditional marketing methods.
Prerequisites to Implementing an Inbound Marketing Program
1. Create Buyer Persona
The buyer persona is the fictional personification of your target customer. It fits the ideal consumer’s description based on detailed audience research. Creating a buyer persona is the first step towards implementing inbound marketing. It is imperative that you create an accurate buyer persona because you need it to get a precise idea about the buyer journey, which is then used to implement inbound marketing. The idea is to create a customer profile or persona representing your ideal customer and craft marketing strategies and content based on the information gathered.
2. Define Business Goals and Objectives
Now that you have your buyer persona defining your business goals and objectives is crucial because the decisions you make now will affect the result you get from inbound marketing. By setting your business goals and objectives, you are outlining the type of strategy and content you need to create - which means the material produced will be specific and objective-oriented.
How to Implement Inbound Marketing?
As mentioned before, inbound marketing is made up of sub-initiatives. They may seem insignificant when taken independently but works wonders when they work together as a system.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a significant factor in generating traffic, and organic leads to your website because it helps bring the right traffic as part of the inbound marketing strategy. For a business to flourish, it is essential to drag in organic traffic.
2. Captivating Content
Creating captivating content such as blog posts, videos, informational graphics, social media posts, ads, and more is necessary to attract more people to your store and boost engagement. The content you create all falls under the attract phase of inbound marketing because of its potential to increase traffic to your eCommerce site.
3. Catalog Optimization
The product catalog is another key factor in attracting users and urging them to purchase the products you offer. This can be done by optimizing your catalog to appeal to your user, making it attractive, and providing all the details necessary in order for your users to learn about the product.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing can be an effective method for both the engagement as well as gratification phases. However, email marketing tends to yield better results when it’s used on your already established customer base than prospective customers, making it better suited for the gratification phase.
5. User-generated Content
Since customers or users give a genuinely reliable and honest opinion about a product, user-generated content such as reviews, photographs, and social media posts never fails to capture the target audience’s attention. Today most buyers depend on user-generated content and reviews to make a well-informed buying decision.
6. Loyalty Programs
A well-implemented and rewarding loyalty program can positively impact your customers because they focus on gratifying the customers. When done right, it is all it takes to convert a customer into a promoter.
7. Upsell Incentives
Upselling is one of the easier ways to boost your sales and revenue but, most importantly they help you build a deeper relationship between you and your customers. Upselling enables your customer to get a better product for themselves. Furthermore, it is more plausible to upsell to existing customers than it is to acquire new customers.
8. Customer Recovery
In case of a service failure, you must take action and make all effort to convert your dissatisfied customers into loyal customers. To achieve this merely mitigating the customer’s issue is not enough, you have to make a good impression on the customer and show how much you value his/her business. Doing so will improve your customer relations and benefit you in the long run.
Analytics can formulate the ideal marketing plan for your business. It can give you valuable insights into your website's traffic including where most of your traffic is from, how they navigated to your site, and more. Once you know where your website traffic is from you can tailor a plan to influence the target audience to boost traffic.
Personalizing your customer’s experience on your website can have surprising effects on your inbound traffic. Potential customers like to see products that they are genuinely interested in to be showcased to them. Displaying similar products and providing the users with more alternative options can help them and it will enable you to make genuine connections with your users.
How to Set Up Your eCommerce Store for Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing involves multiple sub-initiatives complementing each other and working in sync like an integral system. Inbound marketing can give you the best results when you use the right tools. You must never overlook the importance of eCommerce inbound marketing suite setup.
Since inbound marketing starts working during the initial stages of the buyer journey, your website also needs to be optimized from the very beginning.. In terms of inbound marketing, this is the attract phase. Almost all companies realize the importance of SEO in eCommerce, regardless of their knowledge of inbound marketing. Because of this, they employ a reliable SEO plugin or extension that allows them to be searchable online everywhere. With that being said, if you don’t have an SEO plugin for your own website, it is never too late to consider getting one for your own business.
Once you have successfully managed to bring your targeted audience to your website, you need to ensure that he/she remains engaged in order to have the potential to convert them from a visitor to your customer. In order to do that, you need to understand user behavior on your website to track what can be improved. Once their behavior is being tracked, you need to create a friction-free user experience in which ultimately leads them to make a purchase.
Furthermore, you need analytic capabilities on your website to understand what factors are working for and against your eCommerce business. You also need to personalize your marketing strategy to get the most out of inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Tools
Inbound marketing is not a one-time process, and you need to streamline all four phases involved to get the best results. When the attraction, engagement, conversion, and delight phases of the inbound marketing are carried out with precision and planning, it brings you closer to your target revenue mark. You can apply many tools on your eCommerce store to streamline your inbound marketing strategy.
HubSpot is known for creating softwares specifically for inbound marketing. HubSpot for eCommerce provides solutions and strategies that will help you grow your eCommerce business.
HubSpot aims to change these unfair numbers around by optimizing product pages, landing pages, and other pages. HubSpot optimizes the pages to deliver a customized experience to your users and encourages them to make quicker buying decisions.
Since personalized marketing works better than conventional marketing, HubSpot lets you customize your marketing after analyzing the buyer’s website behavior and past purchases. The personalized experience is offered to them through email campaigns, web pages, upselling, and more. Personalized marketing connects better with customers because it gives them relevant information about products they are actually interested in.
Furthermore, HubSpot enables you to approach eCommerce from the revenue perspective. HubSpot allows you to track your customers from their first visit to their last purchase. This gives you a complete and comprehensive picture of your conversion funnel. To top it off, HubSpot provides you with a direct attribution report highlighting your marketing efforts and the amount of money spent on it.
2. Lucky Orange or Hotjar
Hotjar and Lucky Orange are the leaders when it comes to generating informative and accurate heatmaps. They are employed by small scale businesses and large enterprises alike. Heatmap - a color-coded graphical representation of data, is one of the best ways to conduct a behavioral analysis of your website.
The heatmap generated by Lucky Orange or Hotjar gives you obvious visual cues as to which part of your website or page attracts the user’s attention and which part does not. Heatmaps reveal where the users clicked on your website, and it also shows you how far the user scrolled on your page. This gives you valuable insights into how your users perceive your site.
Merely tracking the behavior of users on your eCommerce store is not enough. Once you have obtained the heatmap and click-map, you need to analyze them and figure out what’s holding back your users from converting to customers. After finding the friction elements holding back your users, you need to remove them and optimize your store.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics has been a reliable source for getting insights for websites and has proven particularly useful for eCommerce. The data obtained from Google Analytics can be priceless when it comes to inbound marketing.
Major Insights Extracted from Google Analytics
- Sessions: The number of times your website was accessed, including one-time visitors and repeated visitors.
- Users: The number of unique visitors on your website and helps find an accurate conversion rate.
- Page Views: How far inside the website a visitor has ventured into your eCommerce store. Higher page views imply a higher user engagement and user experience.
- Session Duration: The average time spent by a user on each session. An increase in average session time implies better user engagement.
- Bounce Rate: When a user visits your site and abruptly exits without making any desired actions. The bounce rate must be kept at the bare minimum as possible.
From this, you can calculate the ratio of new visitors to return visitors. This can shine a light on the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy. This can also show how well it can repeatedly attract your target audience. Overall, Google Analytics can show you where the users can navigate through your store for a friction-free conversion.
4. Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio is Google’s reporting solution. It can take your Google Analytics data to create a comprehensive report for your eCommerce store. The best thing about Google Data Studio is that it comes with data visualization capability. This means that all the data from your Google Analytics can be visually represented. The data sources used by Google Data Studio includes Analytics, AdWords, Search Console, Sheets, YouTube, and other sites.
Although initially aimed at enterprises, Google later made this available for individuals and smaller companies. Data Studio enables you to get a comprehensive picture of your business and its performance. The visual representation allows you to figure out where your website has an inferior performance. Once you have figured the problems, you can make the necessary changes to fix it.
Before creating the report, the first thing you need to do is to connect your data and add a data source like Google Analytics. The data studio automatically selects the time dimension and the matrices needed for the visual representation; although, you can manually choose the input as well. Google Data Studio gives you informative and insightful data reports along with comprehensive visual representation. If used correctly, it can change your entire marketing strategy.
Leadfeeder is one of the most popular inbound marketing tools available in the market today. eCommerce businesses use it to get valuable insight about the visitors on their website. All you have to do is install the Leadfeeder Tracker Script and connect it to Google Analytics. It can help you identify users or companies who would have otherwise remained anonymous website visitors. But it doesn’t stop there. Leedfeeder can further provide you with the contact information of prospective clients. It is the ideal tool for websites that focus on providing services as part of their business.
Leadfeeder can sync your leads to various CRM tools, making your business easier to handle. Another key advantage that Leadfeeder has to offer businesses is the ability to track individual website visitors on an account level. This is an important tactic employed in inbound marketing strategy by leading companies all around the world. Leadfeeder is also capable of syncing the leads to automation tools making many marketing efforts more comfortable to implement, such as email marketing.
The automatic identification of the anonymous visitors on your website enables you to fill the sales pipeline with leads that you didn’t even know existed. Furthermore, you can now monitor and analyze the inbound marketing strategies that you are employing for your business. In short, Leadfeeder has the potential to change the way your inbound marketing works and get solid results out of it.
The importance of content in eCommerce needs no more explanation, and the fact that strategies like content marketing have taken off well is proof of that. The significance of content in inbound marketing is not to be underestimated. In fact, it is one of the pillars of inbound marketing. Content marketing can bring the desired results only when you can target the right audience using the right content. This is where BuzzSumo comes into the picture. It helps you to figure out the type of content that can work best on your targeted audience.
The working of BuzzSumo is simple. It can be easily set up and used; all you have to do is input any domain or topic. Based on your input BuzzSumo creates a comprehensive report on the topic/domain’s performance and appeal. BuzzSumo comes with attractive features, one of which lets you find out the number of times a particular link has been shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Another appealing feature on Buzzsumo is that it lets you find the ideal influencers for marketing your products, identifying authors and creators with genuine authority on social media platforms and the internet.
Coming back to the content part, BuzzSumo enables you to make data-powered decisions that get you far more excellent results than research based on mere guesswork. BuzzSumo crawls through the internet and multiple social media platforms to find the best and most popular content, regardless of what your niche is. When used right, BuzzSumo can help you develop the ideal strategy for content and social commerce.
Inbound marketing is the most cost-effective way of marketing today. It gets you the best results without having to spend a fortune in a paid campaign. Inbound marketing generates organic leads that are always preferred over the other types of leads. Unlike different strategies, inbound marketing starts from the early stages of the buyer journey and does not stop merely after conversion. Instead, it goes on to gratify them and convert them to promoters.
Although inbound marketing or the process of inbound marketing has been around for a while now, it was never really defined. This is no longer the case; Inbound marketing has become one of the most reliable marketing methods. It incorporates four stages that attract, engage, convert, and gratify your customers. Today, when all of us are running away from advertisements everywhere, inbound marketing uses informative content that helps the users and markets your brand effectively.