The principles of inbound marketing, and how to use them effectively
- Last Updated: November 12, 2020
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- 6 minutes Min Read
If you're a business professional, you might have heard of inbound marketing. It's an ever growing topic, largely popularised by HubSpot—a company that sells inbound marketing software. It refers to any marketing activity that attracts customers through original content, such as blog pieces, social media posts, and opt-in email campaigns. This is designed to foster better and longer-lasting customer relationships. Of course, inbound marketing has both advantages and disadvantages, but we still think it's crucial. Here's how inbound marketing can help your business.
One of the concepts HubSpot introduced to the marketing community is SCOPE—the five principles of inbound marketing. SCOPE defines how to go about forming your inbound marketing strategy.
In this post, we'll look at what each of these principles stands for and how they relate to inbound marketing.
Standardise your messages
Every time you talk about who you are and what you offer, your core principles and positioning should be consistent. This allows your audience to build a more trusted relationship with your brand because they know what to expect. It also gives them a chance to relate to your brand on a more personal level, which plays a considerable role in brand loyalty.
Contextualise what you say
Consider a lead nurturing email. When you send it to a customer who has just signed up to your service, you might include helpful links and resources to help them get started. An email to a long-time customer might include early invitations to webinars or events with the aim of deepening their relationship with your brand.
When you tailor content to customers in this way, it shows that you care about their individual journey, inspiring them to stay with your business. Content that is not contextual may be easier to create and send out in bulk, but it may also alienate some groups of customers and result in less revenue in the long run.
Optimise your message to the medium
From social media to websites, blogs, and review sites, there are so many ways you can deliver your content to your ideal audience. Though the essence of your message should remain the same, how you package it should be optimised for the channel.
For instance, LinkedIn is famously text-based whereas Instagram and Facebook are more visual. Tweets are meant to be short—there's no space for long, detailed explanations. But strangely enough, 30-second videos work well on Twitter. Make sure your content is crafted with the particulars of each platform in mind. You can also explore content localising options based on industry, geography, and audience persona.
Personalise your message to suit your audience
Isn't it great when a business addresses you by name, instead of constantly using something generic like 'Hello there'? Including the customer's name requires a little more effort, but it conveys to your audience that those small details matter to your business. You can also follow the same principle in webforms by auto-filling details for returning customers. It saves them time and shows that you care enough to go an extra mile for them.
Empathise with your audience's mindset
When you write something, remember that your readers may not be in the same mindset as you. Their situation and feelings may vary, and it's important to acknowledge that. When your content comes from a genuine, empathetic place, it's easier for your audience to resonate with you.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's look at a couple of examples to understand how exactly you can implement these principles in your inbound content.
Using SCOPE in everyday content
Mention is an online tool that helps you measure and track your online mentions. Once you set it up, you'll receive an email alert that compiles all the times and places people have mentioned you and your business. Here's an email they sent to a new customer.
[subject] Need help refining your results? Hello Ashley, I was doing my daily check of yesterday's new accounts, and I had a look at yours. It seems you have had 1849 mentions in one day, which is way, way above what our usual customers get. That may be what you are looking for (in that case, way to go!), but just in case you need some help to refine your alert set up, I wanted to let you know that I can help. Optimize your alert [button] Happy monitoring! Full name, Business Developer @ Mention Source: Good Email Copy
It's a friendly and casual email. They use Ashley's name, and they show they care about her journey with their service. These qualities make it more likely that the customer will click the call to action in the email.
Let's take a look at how SCOPE made this content more appealing.
The subject line is a clear indication of Mention's value addition to its customers. It's a tool that tracks online mentions, and the outcome of that tracking is reporting and refining.
The line 'I was doing my daily check of yesterday's new accounts' informs the reader about the writer and their daily work. It also conveys that this company likes to stay updated on customer activities, meaning that they'll have a better idea of what issues customers might face and how to solve them. The email signs off with the designation, 'Business Developer', cementing the writer's authority. This shows the customer that they can reach out with questions and receive expert answers.
Optimised call to action
Email is a great medium to include attention-grabbing buttons and text. Amidst a chunk of text, a colourful button stands out. With 'Optimize your alert,' the CTA is enticing and articulates urgency without being tacky.
They could have declared 'Hey Ashley, you've been getting a lot of attention.' Instead, the email says, 'you have had 1849 mentions in one day.' Note that it's not generalising the number—not '1800+ mentions' or 'almost 2000 mentions.' With an accurate figure, not only does the email feel personal but it also shows off how effectively the tool tracks mentions.
Mention serves a specific purpose, but it still doesn't know what their customers are looking to achieve. Instead of assuming that they know it all, the email suggests, 'That may be what you are looking for.' This careful choice of words is designed to let the reader be in control of their Mention account.
Now let's look at an email from Upwork, an online platform that connects freelancers and businesses looking to hire short-term staff.
An important update to Upwork's pricing Hi Quentin, This week we announced some changes to Upwork’s fees. To learn about these updates, please visit our pricing page. The administrator of your company’s Upwork account has been notified and will be prompted to take any action, if necessary, before these changes take effect. Our Terms of Service have been updated to reflect these changes. Thank you for your business. Sincerely, CEO, Upwork Source: Good Email Copy
This is a more announcement-type email. Even then, you'll notice that it's:
Standard - an email about the product usage
Contextual - the administrator has already been notified
Optimised - includes links to the pricing page and Terms of Service
Personal - addressed to the everyday user, which shows they value their users and not only the decision makers
Empathetic - the email gives the user and their administrator enough time to prepare for change, and only if necessary
If you're looking to start an inbound marketing campaign and don't know where to start, these SCOPE principles can put you on the right track. However, you don't always have to restructure all your content to fit into this concept. As with any principle, we recommend using it as a guideline and experimenting with it to see how it works for you and your business.
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