Inbound marketing has long been a common strategy in B2B - even if it may not always have been called that. Ultimately, inbound marketing is understood as measures that are aimed at customers who are actively looking for products. They are attracted with the help of relevant and helpful information. So it's not about pandering to the broadest possible mass of people, as for example via TV commercials or radio advertising, but rather providing the target groups with relevant and informative content - at every stage of the buying process. In contrast to classic marketing strategies, customers come to your website on their own - via search engines, blogs or social media.

Inbound marketing is therefore the combination of content and context: you arouse the interest of your target groups, interact with them and inspire them. Of course, this is not possible through marketing alone. Inbound can be understood as an overarching corporate strategy that must also be lived by sales and customer service. In order to inspire your target groups, you need not only competence but also friendliness on the phone and reliability in service. If you fulfil this, a positive overall impression is created for the customer: the basis for a long-term business relationship. Learn how to create a convincing customer experience in this article.

1. 5 Basics for functioning inbound marketing

The decisive factor in this approach is customer centricity, i.e. complete customer orientation. Always ask yourself what concerns your target groups have, how you can solve them and how or where you draw attention to them.

2. Target group analysis

First, of course, you need to know your target groups - as precisely as possible. Only then will you know what their needs are and which of your products can satisfy them. To analyse your target groups as precisely as possible, we recommend working on one or more empathy maps. You can find out exactly how an empathy map works in this article.

3. Customer Journey Map

Then it's a matter of identifying all the touchpoints where your target groups come into contact with you - be it the website, social media or the customer service phone queue. What is your target groups' current experience at each touchpoint? Where are they already positive and where is there room for improvement? Round up your team and think about how you can offer your target groups the best possible experience at each touchpoint. You can also read more about the customer journey here.

4. Content creation

Once you have defined your target groups and touchpoints, it's time to create relevant and informative content. For this, we recommend an editorial plan that is available to all parties involved. In the editorial plan, you should pay attention to the following fields:

  • Topic/ Title
  • Due date
  • Responsible person
  • Target group
  • Phase of the Customer Journey for which the content is relevant (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion)
  • Possibly campaign assignment
  • Additional material to be attached (links, documents, films, etc.)
  • Keywords
  • Processing status

Also appoint a colleague who is responsible for the editorial plan: distributing responsibilities, maintaining the editorial plan and keeping an eye on the timing. This is how you create commitment.

5. Content distribution

Once the content has been created, it must of course be distributed - where your target groups are looking for it. On the one hand, this is of course your website, where the additional content - as long as it is appropriately optimised - also pays off in terms of your SEO efforts. On the other hand, you should also publish your content on social media or tease it there and then refer to your website to generate more traffic there. Consider where else your target groups get their information. This often includes trade journals or online forums. It may be worthwhile for you to contact the operators in order to be able to publish your articles in the respective media and thus reach more people. In the case of online media, this can also generate valuable backlinks from an SEO point of view.

6. Software

Without a doubt, inbound marketing takes place mainly online, which always raises the question of the right software. A CRM system helps you to track the journey of your visitors. This way you know how people became aware of you, which media they used to reach your website, what content they are interested in and much more. This is a crucial point for providing them with content that is relevant to them.
However, since inbound marketing encompasses different disciplines, it is also recommended to use several tools - or a complete software such as HubSpot. If you already use your own CRM, SEO and/or monitoring tools, it is sufficient to supplement your ensemble. If you do not yet use any of these tools, compare the different complete solutions that are now available on the market - this way you can be sure that all disciplines work hand in hand and you do not miss any opportunity to attract, convince and inspire potential customers.

7. Conclusion: Target groups attract, instead of on them approach them

According to the inbound strategy, you do not impose yourself on your target groups, but create content that reflects your expertise on the one hand and offers clear added value on the other. Through the transfer of knowledge, you prove yourself as a competent and trustworthy business partner. Of course, this image must also be reflected in other places: in the interaction between you and your target groups and across all phases of the customer journey. Various software solutions support you in this. Treat visitors and prospects the same way you treat long-time customers. Excellent service is becoming increasingly important in order to prevail against the competition.

Marie Great

The strategy and creative teams at Blaupause are passionate about creating relevant and creative content for our B2B blog. Do you have a topic related to B2B marketing, innovation management, employer branding, etc. that you'd like to learn more about? Bring it on!