7 Steps to creating an inbound marketing machine

Guide to Inbound Marketing in 2022

Learn actionable tips fo how inbound marketing can help you attract ideal customers and nurture those strangers into happy customers
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  1. Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
  2. What are a Buyer Persona and a Buyer’s Journey?
  3. Lead Nurturing
  4. What is Content Marketing?
  5. Contextual Marketing
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Customer Retention Strategies
  8. Finally
  9. About Us

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a method of marketing that aims to attract the customer to you. Not the other way around! However, many businesses still try hard to reach out to people and ask them to purchase their products or services. 

Inbound Marketing is attracting website visitors to your website by providing helpful and relevant content. These can be things such as this big blog post on Inbound Marketing, or simply creating a great infographic. 

By using the techniques of Inbound Marketing, you will show users that you are the expert in your field. Rather than speaking to people from a business level, you approach it on a more human level. 

Technology is making it easier to tailor content to individuals, but you still need to make sure that this content is reaching the right audience. 

Inbound doesn’t just mean that marketing needs to be on the same page. It is an entire business approach, from the service team to the sales team, everyone needs to have a customer-focused mindset. Provide as little difficulty, or friction, for your customer to get the information they need. 

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing, or lead generation marketing, is the complete opposite. A business will reach out to clients or customers even when they don’t need to be communicated to. This includes more traditional media such as TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, brochures, catalogues etc.  

Outbound is harder to track and usually has a lower Return on Investment (ROI). But many businesses still try to use this approach to marketing.  

To summarise, the biggest differences between Inbound and Outbound Marketing are the following:

Inbound Marketing:

  • Customer is looking for help, and comes to you 
  • Content provided is highly relevant and solves a problem 
  • All staff want to help the client 
  • Be as helpful and informative as you can.

Outbound Marketing:

  • Reaching out to clients even when they don’t need your help 
  • Mostly used by traditional media 
  • Hard to track effectiveness and ROI 

On this page you will find many steps and advice on how to successfully set up your Inbound Marketing campaign. These include tips on how to start using these techniques, down to how to develop them and make them more successful.

Moving from a Sales Funnel to a Flywheel Model

A sales funnel is imagery that gets used by marketers and salespeople to try and visualise how a potential customer becomes a client.


At the top of the funnel there might be one hundred customers, as they make their way through the funnel and come out at the end, you might retain five or 10. The marketing team is tasked with attracting people into the funnel. The sales team is tasked with making sure that as many people as possible that enter the funnel turn into customers. 

One of the major challenges that many marketers and sales people have, is that there is a process problem. If you don’t have people coming in at the top of the funnel, eventually the funnel will dry out. This can be caused by many factors, such as unhappy clients or an ineffective marketing strategy. 

To prevent your funnel from drying out and attracting enough leads, there is a new technique coined by HubSpot called the ‘flywheel’ model.  

A flywheel works on perpetual motion. The more force is put behind the flywheel the faster it spins. If friction gets reduced, the flywheel will spin even faster. 

This is the concept of the HubSpot flywheel when it comes to marketing. In the centre of the flywheel are the customers. And around it is your customer-facing departments, Marketing, Sales and Service. The more your departments focus on making customers happy, the faster the flywheel will spin. 

Before the internet and social media, businesses had most of the power when it came to making purchasing decisions. They were the ones who had all the information and all the power to convince a customer. With the internet and social media, this has changed dramatically. 

Customers now hold as much information as businesses, and often purchasing decisions get made based on advice from friends, colleagues and anyone else in their network. The customer will also search for mentions of your company on social media and are reading reviews on third-party websites. 

There are three stages that combine the flywheel model with the Inbound Marketing methodology: 

  • Attract 
  • Engage 
  • Delight 

You attract customers to your business by having great content that educates and informs your leads. Eliminate as many barriers as possible to make visitors learn about your company. 

You engage your leads by providing them with relevant and helpful information when they need it. Enable customers to engage with you when and where they need it. They should be able to contact you wherever they want it. 

You delight your customers by providing amazing customer service and having as little friction in your communication channels as possible. 

If you make sure every department in your organisation is focused on making customers happy, the flywheel will keep spinning faster and faster, as there is less difficulty for customers and visitors to engage with you. 

We believe that a combination of both the funnel as well as the flywheel will work best. Most marketing software still uses a funnel-based approach to explain where customers come from. Google Analytics is still built around the sales funnel setup. 

Both the sales funnel and the flywheel focus on your buyer personas and your buyer journeys. We will now dive into these two topics. Or you can skip ahead to: 

  • What is Inbound Marketing? 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Content Marketing
  • Contextual Marketing 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Customer retention strategies 


What are a Buyer Persona and a Buyer’s Journey?

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Many marketers and businesses create buyer personas to understand what the problems, ideals and dreams are of their customers. This allows marketers to more directly target the people they want to sell to. 

As mentioned, these personas are semi-fictional, so they are also based on real world information. Demographics, education level, and their position in the business are all points that are important to know. 

A good buyer persona doesn’t just create a ‘flat‘ static view of your clients and the journey they take before they buy your products. It should also talk about the criteria, attitudes and concerns that your buyers have when they are thinking about purchasing your products. 

By getting information from your actual customers you can find out in detail what the profile of your prospects is. This allows you to more specifically try to solve their problems and concerns. Reducing the friction in the buyer’s journey and, ideally, getting more sales. 

Many businesses use alliterations when creating their Buyer Persona. It helps the sales and marketing team to more easily remember them. Names such as Training Tom, Landscaper Larry or Accounting Abby easily stick. 

Sample Sally in our example shows important aspects. Knowing what objections your persona has against the product you are going to sell offers you the opportunity to provide points that counter these objections. By creating a buyer persona, you can answer these questions and make sure that your team is on the same page. 

Once you know what your ideal customer’s problems, dreams, demographics and objections are, you can start looking at the buyer’s journey. 

Buyer’s journey 

A buyer’s journey is the path that a customer has taken to go from being aware they have a problem that needs to be resolved, to resolving this problem. They do this by purchasing either a product or service. 

The buyer’s journey consists of three stages. Awareness, Consideration and Decision Stage.

The buyer’s journey will assist your business in creating the right content to help buyers become aware of your brand and you, as a thought leader or expert in the field. This will allow customers to trust you more. 

By tying each part of the Flywheel Methodology to the buyer’s journey you can assist customers with more information. 


Awareness and Attract

During the awareness stage it is important to assist the buyer by providing the buyer with information that is helpful to their problem. For example, if a user is trying to decide to purchase a Voice Assistant, it is important to provide buyers with information on the benefits of having a Voice Assistant. Also providing limitations and general benefits. Our fictional product is called ‘mySpeaker’. 

You also highlight the symptoms that a user has. Such as: “I want to start playing music on Spotify without having to type.” Or “I need to turn off the lights before going to sleep but I don’t want to use the lightswitch.” 

Consideration and Engage

During this stage the prospect has realised that they want to get rid of their issue. They want more information on different solutions and are going to look at different options. They are not ready to purchase yet, they are purely looking for more information.

For our Voice Assistant there are of course other options: 

  • Purchase an app that lets you turn off the lights 
  • Use the Voice Assistant on your phone 
  • Purchase a Voice Assistant like mySpeaker 

Things you can provide during this stage are live webinars, demos, testimonials and videos to highlight your product or service. By providing them with helpful information during their consideration stage they will move to the Decision Stage. 

Decide and Delight

During the decision stage, the buyer has decided they want to get a Voice Assistant. Now you need to provide the buyer with information that your product is the best choice. Now it is important to empathise with the customer. 

By empathising with the customer and really providing the right information for the client you increase the chance that the buyer ends up with your product. If you convince them they are the right fit for your business, you will delight them and make a repeat customer out of the buyer. 

After the decision has been made, it is important to make sure the customer stays delighted. Provide great service after the purchase and possibly even provide the customer with handy tips and tricks after the purchase. 

Now that we know how to make the prospect into a happy customer, we are going to dive deeper into lead nurturing. How do we make sure that we nurture this lead to move them through the Awareness, Consideration and Delight stages in a bit more detail? 

The next topic is lead nurturing, other topics discussed here are: 

  • What is Inbound marketing? 
  • The sales funnel vs the flywheel 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Contextual Marketing 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Customer retention strategies 


Lead Nurturing

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is focusing on marketing and communications efforts on listening to the needs of prospects and providing the information and answers that the prospects need. As described in the Buyer’s Journey in the content above, it is important to be a part of the buyer’s research stage throughout the entire Buyer’s Journey. 

One of the best ways to get leads and prospects to stay connected through their buyer journey is having them subscribe to your email so you can send them tailored information about your product/service.  By providing helpful and relevant content you are able to stay in the mind of your prospect. 

If you notice that your buyers are spending a lot of time on your website, have a chat functionality on your website. It allows prospects to ask you questions directly. This makes you able to assist customers in their buyer’s journey as much as possible. 

Leads and prospects all have different methods through which they like to communicate. Some users prefer email, others prefer Social Media. By having different options available you are reducing friction. This will make for happier prospects, and this makes prospects more likely to purchase your product. 

Research has shown that a lead entering the sales process is 21 times more likely to convert to your website if contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes later.

By being able to assist a customer during every touchpoint they have with your business, you will come across as empathic. This will allow your business to be a step ahead of the competition. 

The most important aspect of lead nurturing is making sure that your business has sales and marketing aligned. By having the lead nurturing methods and efforts aligned, businesses report that their number of sales opportunities has increased. 

The next topic we discuss is content marketing. You can jump to the other topics here: 

  • What is Inbound marketing? 
  • Buyer’s Persona and Buyer’s Journey 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Contextual marketing 
  • Email marketing 
  • Customer retention strategies 


What is Content Marketing?

What is Content Marketing

Content marketing is the backbone of a good Inbound Marketing strategy. Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing relevant content for an online, targeted audience. 

As famously said by Bill Gates in January 1996:

Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.

There is a clear difference between businesses that are edging very close to doing content marketing but are missing the mark. These businesses are publishing and distributing content to an audience. But this content is frequently not relevant and sometimes not even targeted. 

This is why Inbound marketing is a great way to market to customers. It is a targeted and relevant approach to customers. Providing real and genuine value when customers are trying to decide on their solution to their issues. 

Writing the content that is going to be read by your audience is incredibly important. Creating an effective buyer’s persona is very important. Having a good Buyer Persona helps you understand the writing style that will most likely connect with your prospects. 

After deciding on the writing style, it is important to make sure that you have the right content. When finding out the issues that your Buyer Persona it is important to keep an accurate note of the topics that you could write about to help the prospects. 

Many businesses seem to think that quality content means writing a few good blogs and putting these on their website. However, this is not the core of a good content marketing strategy. 

A comprehensive content marketing strategy also includes having a content strategy for Social Media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Public Relations (PR) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC). As with any marketing strategy, Inbound marketing also needs strong content. 

The strength of a content marketing strategy depends on the research that has been done around it. Many businesses will write content for the sake of writing content to little success. If you specifically start writing content that helps your buyers out, you will rank higher since more people will stay on your site longer. 

This is also where the Pillar Page concept comes from. By writing in-depth content and linking off to more specific blog posts, like this one on Content Marketing, your readers will have a lot more content to digest and, hopefully, see you as a trustworthy expert in the field of your choice. 

Not many businesses, at least in Australia, have started using Pillar Pages yet. But Google is moving to long-term content, as can be seen in this post by Neil Patel. 

(A little side note: This article is a Pillar Page for Inbound Marketing, As you read this you will see that we link to all of our other Blogs and Pages on our site that are related. )

For inspiration here are a few great examples of Content Marketing as done by other businesses: 

  • HubSpot 
    • Hubspot writes in-depth blog posts about issues their visitors care about 
    • They often add eBooks to their blog posts 
    • Created an online training platform and content sharing hub where hundreds of thousands of visitors go to 
    • Create video for Facebook and LinkedIn to make users go to those videos 
  • Intrepid Travel 
    • Intrepid travel is about small group travel, but provide big adventures 
    • Created a content hub called “The Journal” which has stories of real travellers who travelled with Intrepid 
    • This has given Intrepid over 500,000 followers on Facebook and big communities on other social media sites 
  • BlendTec 
    • BlendTec is a blender company that has a great video content marketing strategy 
    • They have a YouTube channel where they have their famous “Will It Blend” series. 
    • BlendTec has over 878,000 subscribers and each video averages hundreds of thousands of views. 
    • BlendTec proofs even a “boring” industry such as blenders can become popular 
  • Old Spice 
    • Old Spice which has been around since 1937. In 2010 however, they realised they were losing quite a bit of market share. 
    • They changed their brand image from a “GrandFather only” brand to a young and hip brand with their The man your man could smell like” advertisement and follow-ups. 

All of these examples above also proof that context is incredibly important. The next important part of a great Inbound Marketing campaign we are going to talk about is Contextual Marketing. 

 You can jump to the other topics here: 

  • What is Inbound marketing? 
  • The sales funnel vs the Flywheel 
  • Buyer’s Persona and Buyer’s Journey 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Email marketing 
  • Customer retention strategies 


Contextual Marketing

Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time. This is the aspect of Inbound marketing that really uses the strength of good customer research. To have a successful Inbound marketing campaign it is of incredibly important to know your Buyer Persona and Buyer’s Journey

Armed with your Buyer Persona and Buyer’s Journey it is now time to use this information to find out how to make personalised advertisements for your customers. These can be as popular as Remarketing or more specifically tailored such as Oreo tweeting “You can still dunk in the Dark” during the 2013 Super Bowl power outage. 

Remarketing is a method of marketing where, when a user has visited a specific page on your website, you promote this page (or product) on other websites this user visits. This is done by adding Cookies to the browser of the user and this follows them around as they browse the internet. 

The benefit of using remarketing is that you know that website visitors have taken certain actions to become part of your remarketing campaign. This can be things such as partially finishing a contact form or abandoning a shopping cart. 

If you put a context to the way that you are marketing to your clients, clients will feel more connected to your business. Rather than getting a generic advertisement that you send to hundreds of people at the same time, like a brochure, you target for more specific needs. 

Manually having to keep track of all the information of prospects, website visitors and customers is difficult. When using the contextual marketing strategy, having a marketing automation platform can be very helpful. Marketing Automation will allow you to have more information at your fingertips. 

Combining contextual marketing and marketing automation will provide you with all the power you need at your fingertips. Being able to see where a user has been on your website, how many pages they visited or if a client has read your email allows you to have more personalised conversations with your client. 

The benefit of a contextual marketing strategy is that it is non-disruptive to consumers and audiences. One of the benefits of having marketing automation, and remarketing is that these Ads will not feel disruptive to the prospect. If someone’s Air Conditioner breaks during the summer and they see your advertisement for a discounted air condition it is a genuine solution to their problem. 

By providing tailored and specific content to users you are able to generate more revenue and sales. Offering a genuine experience and providing solutions to problems will mean that conversion rates are more likely higher. This is a great benefit of Contextual Marketing versus traditional large-scale marketing.  

When visiting a website, a visitor might sign up to your email list. This is a great way to provide helpful content to a website visitor, especially if it is contextualised. Our next topic is talking about how to provide great emails to visitors.

You can jump to the other topics here: 

  • What is Inbound marketing? 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Contextual Marketing 
  • Customer retention strategies 


Email Marketing

Email Marketing best practices

One of the most underrated channels on digital marketing it would have to be Email marketing. Marketers tend to forget that email marketing is still one of the most efficient and cost-effective forms of marketing. Especially after the GDPR regulations in Europe many marketers proclaimed that Email marketing has died. 

This is far from the truth. In the US 85% of adult internet users are on Email, which is 15% more than on search engines and 22% more than social media. In Australia, email is still an incredibly important marketing medium. 

To make sure that your email marketing campaigns are as successful as possible it is important to keep the following points in mind. 

  1. Get permission. One of the most important things to get right is having permission to send a user email. This often means having a user sign up on your website, then confirming their sign-up in their mail box. 
  2. Provide what you promised. Many marketers will have a user sign-up because of a specific piece of content. This means that the user will expect a similar type of content quality or better when they sign up to your newsletter. 
  3. Analysing and segmenting. Make sure that your contact database is always clean and up to date. Segment your database based on their interests, sale cycle position (prospect,lead,customer) and other metrics relevant to your business. 

If you follow the steps outlined above, you will have a high chance of having a very successful email marketing campaign. 

Aside from the above steps also make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly. Most emails get opened on mobile phones and having a bad experience on your phone will make users’ unsubscribe in an instant. 

Tailored content is another important aspect. As mentioned above, having good segmentation and content is important. However, it’s only the first step in providing a successful email campaign. The content that each segment is getting should be tailored.  

Providing tailored content in your email marketing will assure that users feel like they are being listened to. This makes sure that your open rate and click through rate are going to be as high as possible. Providing you with happy customers and your customers with the content that they subscribed to. 

When creating successful emails, it is also important to do split-testing. Especially if you have a database of a big enough size that allows you to test different versions of your email. By A/B testing the emails you can deliver the most opened version of the email to the remaining portion of your subscribers. 

After having delivered emails and knowing which versions perform best it is important to make sure that you keep iterating and improving on your emails. 

By providing a great email experience to your leads and customers you will be on your way to retaining customers. Having good customer retention strategies to keep happy customers makes your business flourish. Customers that are happy will hopefully become repeat customers and this costs less than attaining new customers. 

Below we will provide you with customer retention strategies, the final part of a successful inbound marketing campaign. 

 You can jump to the other topics here: 

  • What is Inbound marketing? 
  • The sales funnel vs the Flywheel 
  • Buyer’s Persona and Buyer’s Journey 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Email marketing
  • Contextual marketing 


Customer Retention Strategies

Customer retention strategies

After going through the entire Inbound marketing cycle and providing you with the information required to start an Inbound marketing campaign, it is now time to talk about retaining customers.  

Customers that you already have are cheaper to upsell or cross-sell to and are more likely to purchase from you again. Getting a new lead is five times more expensive than to keep a new client. Increasing your retention rates by % increases profits by 25% to 95%. 

As the figures above show, customer retention is profitable and is better for the bottom line than solely focusing on acquiring new customers. Yet, 44% of companies focus more on getting new customers than retaining new customers. 

Focusing on retaining customers is important. But how do you make sure that existing customers want to stay with you and want to purchase additional products? 

All the strategies mentioned above all work: 

  • Content marketing 
  • Contextual Marketing 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Effective email marketing 
  • Creating Buyer’s Persona and a Buyer’s Journey 
  • Focusing on the Flywheel in combination with your sales funnels 

It is important to make sure that there is as little friction as possible after the lead becomes a customer. Providing good customer service and assisting customers with any sales queries they may have is a good start. 

Many businesses focus slightly on customer service, but it’s not the core focus. As shown in the flywheel, delighting customers is also important and provides the flywheel with more energy. Which will consequently mean that customers will use Word-of-Mouth and promote your business to others. 

One way to improve customer retention is to ask current customers for genuine feedback on the service they receive as well as the product they bought. This makes customers feel important, while also providing you with important feedback and data. 

This feedback can be asked via Email or by calling the clients directly or ask them to come to your office. By providing feedback and providing a small token of appreciation for the feedback you keep your customers happy. 

Content marketing that is contextualised will provide your customers with helpful information. Things such as: 

  • Tips and tricks on using the product you sold 
  • Customer only discounts to upgrades or cross-sells 
  • Early views at new products or services you offer 
  • Provide referral programs 
  • Use Social Proof to keep customers engaged 
  • Surprise and delight your customers with personalised thank you messages 
  • Provide support when and where users require it. 

All of these will help you keep your current customers happy and provide your customers with genuine value. 


This is our break down of Inbound Marketing and how it can help you and your clients to become more successful. We have also provided more in-depth articles on the topics discussed here. This to prevent this page from becoming way too long.

If you would like to get more in-depth on these topics. They can be read here: 

  • Sales Funnel and Flywheel 
  • Buyer’s Persona and Buyer’s Journey 
  • Lead Nurturing 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Contextual Marketing 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Customer Retention 

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Thank you for reading this article and if it was helpful, share it with your colleagues, friends and anyone whom you think can have use of this article.


Mick and the Team 
DigiKat Marketing 

About Us

DigiKat Marketing is a Digital Marketing and Sales automation Specialists in The Gold Coast, Tamworth and Newcastle. We provide businesses with Digital Marketing solutions that drive leads, engagement and sales.

DigiKat Marketing is certified HubSpot partners on the Gold Coast and in Tamworth and Newcastle, where we provide automated marketing, sales and client service solutions to help your business grow better.

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