Inbound Marketing is the hot topic in marketing today. Everyone is trying attract customers while they are searching. It's well documented that Inbound Marketing is effective on the b2b side. But does that translate to b2c? Can it help with ecommerce?
Of course the answer is yes (otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it). There are some different tools used to grow a brand using Inbound Marketing but the concept is basically the same. It is called Inbound Commerce.
Product marketers are more tilted toward outbound marketing.
It was consumer products that gave rise to Madison Ave and modern advertising agencies. They got very good at delivering messages to us through outbound media like TV radio and print. Recently though tools have developed that allow consumers to duck many of these outbound messages. Zapping through commercials on a DVR was one of the first examples. Today ad blocking apps are commonplace. Many of the outbound tactics have all become less effective. Trade shows, purchased email lists, print and banner advertising all do less than they used to.
Inbound Marketing is marketing with a magnet, not a sledgehammer
Inbound Commerce is “the practice of attracting your ideal customers to your
ecommerce site by building relationships with them.” It goes far beyond discounts
and free shipping offers.
The 'Inbound Commerce Playbook' talks about the 3 C's of inbound commerce
In order for your ecommerce business to succeed, you need to build a loyal community, attracting them with valuable, informative content. Building trust with your customers can turn them into advocates for your products. 'The Inbound Commerce Playbook' is available for download at the end of this post. Here are 3 of the 8 key steps in building a successful inbound commerce campaign.
Who are you speaking to?
Understanding your audience and knowing your buyer personas are key in telling
the story of your business. Time spent researching you customers is well spent. Here are some questions you can use to help determine who your ideal buyer persona is.
- Who is currently buying from you?
- Who would you like to buy from you?
- What are the needs and wants of your buyer?
How can you attract the right buyer?
If your buyer personas are accurate the next step is to develop content that will attract them to you. The purpose is to keep a conversation going and develop a relationship. One of the tenants of inbound marketing is that people make purchase decisions differently than they did 10 years ago. Yes consumers want to trust brands they buy but they also want to like them. Providing interesting fresh content is a good way to keep them looking to you for new ideas and solutions to their problems. Here are some factors to consider.
- How are you currently engaging in a meaningful conversation with your
- What content would add value for your buyers?
- How can you weave solutions to pain points into your content?
How can you build a loyal community?
Every brand wants an active community of loyalists and evangelicals. How do you start it? Blogging and interacting on social media are great places to start. Make your website a great user experience with large product photos and easy return policies.
- Is your ecommerce website up-to-date with the latest user experience
- What has prompted your evangelist customers to rave about your
- What encourages your buyers to choose you over a competitor?
Marketing is becoming data driven
This is what is driving the change in marketing. Digital activity has real time analytics available for marketers. Millions of people are on social media and have identified their jobs, interests and demographics. Google is becoming good at understanding the content of a page so keyword stuffing is an ineffective tool of the past. (Read more on this subject on this post from ahrefs, 'On page SEO in 2016, A Data Driven Analysis'). This data driven approach to marketing is a trend that will continue to impact marketing more and more.