From Funnel To Flywheel: How To Make Inbound Marketing Work
This is an article “From Funnel To Flywheel: How To Make Inbound Marketing Work” by Marc Primo
Some may compareHubSpot’s inbound marketing flywheel to a typical three-legged stool – if the legs aren’t strong enough, it won’t be able to carry the weight upon it. The idea of practicing inbound marketing doesn’t stop when a business achieves growth and the model is continuous, just like how a stool can be turned around whichever way and still function. However, determining whether HubSpot’s flywheel is better than the traditional marketing flywheel can still make some newbie marketers fall off their chairs.
No one can say that both digital marketing models don’t evolve with how consumer behavior changes through time. After all, one of the traditional funnel’s main objectives is identifying different buyer personas. The apparent differences between the two center on how the flywheel doesn’t stop once conversion happens and how it pulls audiences in rather than how the funnel pushes brands outward.
How inbound marketing works
No marketing strategy works better than when loyal customers serve as your walking and talking ambassadors. With that, it’s safe to say that inbound marketing only stays sufficient as long as your customers indirectly help you with your marketing campaigns.
This modern marketing strategy authored by Hubspot works in three spokes: to attract, engage, and delight. Like our three-legged stool example, each leg supports a business towards growth. And having one leg shorter than the others might create a tilt that can ruin your marketing plans.
Unlike the traditional awareness-interest-desire-action (AIDA) funnel, the inbound marketing flywheel spins and gains better traction when you pull in customers, open up a two-way communication with them, and continue to serve them to the point that they commend you for everything. Of course, all of these rely on how data-driven your strategies are and how resilient you are in establishing meaningful customer relationships.
Compared to the more linear approach that the traditional marketing funnel takes, inbound marketing can take some time to keep the flywheel spinning. And that’s how it works in real life, too – you won’t just give your money regularly to someone you really don’t know all that much, right?
The main challenge for brands to make their inbound marketing strategies work is to develop the patience and determination to build trust and credibility. Once that is achieved, businesses can enjoy continuous marketing triumphs without additional costs for future campaigns.
From funnel to flywheel
For decades, elite marketers have studied, tweaked, and evolved how the AIDA funnel works. Depending on which path consumer behavior tends to go, the traditional funnel follows because it has one glaring objective – to push brands in front of their consumers’ eyesight. These days, however, those plans seem to lack the fuel to go further than the conversion phase.
Enter HubSpot in 2005 when they introduced inbound marketing, which shifted the marketing spotlight on customers more than it did on brands. When digital innovations started being a part of our lives, the need to improve how businesses perform advertising on various channels became apparent. By 2018, when social media peaked and more consumers turned to eCommerce, Hubspot’s flywheel made more sense than what the AIDA funnel had to offer.
The flywheel works in three stages designed to function as a cyclic strategy:
In today’s age of social media and the internet, nearly one-third of all online users are more brand savvy and take the time to discover and learn more about new brands. Today’s generation of consumers loves to read about their favorites via blog articles, short-form videos, and other immersive formats.
Those who take the inbound marketing route know that the first crucial stage of every strategy is to attract their target customers through content management. Like how identifying buyer personas works for the traditional funnel, analyzing consumer data and trends can significantly help you devise a campaign that can attract your core and lookalike audiences. With proficient research combined with efficient content and SEO marketing, you can establish a significant following worth taking to the next level.
Once your brand has attracted enough attention from potential leads, steering your content management campaigns toward engagement efforts tends to become much more manageable. The key is to continue guiding them throughout their respective buying journeys through personalized content and the attentiveness of a grade-A student.
Listening to your leads’ concerns and feedback matters most during this stage. Some of the most successful campaigns that marketers do for this include email marketing, whitepapers, or community management on social media. Through these channels, you can further nurture your relationships with your leads as you get to know them better, and vice versa.
Another good way to engage your target audiences is by presenting them with high-value content or offers that make them happy enough to subscribe or share their contact information. Once you have engaged your target audiences and purchases have been made, the next step is to go for longer lifetime customer value by delighting them.
Delighting customers in the pursuit of efficient inbound marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to spoil them with offers and giveaways. On the contrary, one of the foundations of a successful inbound marketing campaign is winning customers while cutting down on marketing costs.
So, how do you do it?
You’ll be surprised by how much you can do just by listening to what your customers tell you about your brand, product, and service. Get to know how they feel about your ad campaigns and encourage them to tell you their pain points so you can do something about them.
Some of the best ways to do this are via chatbots, surveys, or simply conversing with them via community management over your social media feeds. If customers feel that you give paramount importance to their thoughts, they become part of your product and service improvements and, eventually, your brand ambassadors for broader reach.
Making your flywheel spin towards growth
It doesn’t take rocket science to see how the inbound marketing flywheel is more focused from the customer’s perspective. The key for brands who want to get better traction is to discover efficient ways to establish customer relationships and earn their loyalty through user experience. This process eliminates customer friction via good service, and when you continue offering them the support and help they need, the faster your flywheel can spin towards better growth.
These days, more consumers trust human interaction more than copies written on a brand’s label. With buyers becoming more discerning at a time when the internet has become the new and all-powerful advertising billboard, it’s best to earn trust and loyalty through human connections. No doubt about it, the inbound marketing flywheel is your best bet to achieve that!