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Here are the 5 Elements of Inbound

Flying Hippo

By Flying Hippo

While the past couple decades have offered an enormous shift in the way marketing (and business in general, really) is done, they haven’t been too kind to the environment. Between the Great Pacific garbage patch, the Deepwater Horizon debacle and the West Coast droughts, we’re in a bit of an environmental pickle.

If only we had an environmental superhero to come and save us. Well, we used to have one.

In the early 1990s, Captain Planet ruled the airwaves with an unflinchingly positive environmentally-focused message. While the bad guys with ham-fisted names like Hoggish Greedly and Verminous Skumm poured toxic ooze in the water supply, Captain Planet and the Planeteers swooped in and saved the day.

The Planeteers each have their own special powers, but, with their powers combined, Captain Planet emerges and kicks some eco-terrorist hiney. It’s pretty rad. Similarly, inbound marketing has five major components, and each is cool and powerful in its own regard. But combined — whoa buddy, you better watch out because a storm of leads is coming through.

Here are the five elements of inbound, and what you need to know to harness each for your marketing efforts.

Strategy = Water

Water is deceptive. The clear liquid we drink each day and composes 60 percent of our bodies can seem innocuous and harmless, but it’s deadly and coercive. Water grows plants, but it can bore its way through your basement walls. It can save you from thirst, but too much water and you’ll drown.

Strategy is a huge part of an inbound campaign, and it’s nothing to take lightly. Your strategy shouldn’t happen by accident or be an afterthought. It’s a great place for your inbound campaign to begin.

And, just like water, strategy should be fluid and constantly changing to adapt to its surroundings.

Buyer Personas = Wind

Flying kites would be a bummer without wind. They’d go up in the air, then take a nosedive and smash on the ground. And flying an airplane? Get real.

Your buyer personas are the wind beneath the wings of your inbound marketing campaign. When you distill who your ideal customer is, what they want and what motivates them, you’ll add some lift to your marketing efforts and get them off the ground.

On top of that, buyer personas are at the core of strategy. Wind plus water equals tsunami. Watch out for that one.

Analytics = Fire

When was the last time you started a fire? Probably more recently than you think.

If you drove to work this morning, you started a fire to run your engine. If you turned on your gas stove, you started a fire to boil some water or make some popcorn. There’s even a little tiny fire going on inside of most lightbulbs. Fire is a huge part of powering most everything in the modern world.

Analytics are the power that drives an inbound marketing campaign. At inbound’s core is a drive to pivot quickly and change if a specific item isn’t getting enough clicks, and that fire can power your marketing to huge success.

Content = Heart

You might have heard the term “content marketing” before. While the definition of content marketing as it compares to inbound is constantly in a back-and-forth debate, one constant remains: great, original content is the heart of all effective online marketing programs.

Content answers all the questions to your customers’ problems, and it lives online for months and years after you click “publish,” pulling leads through the funnel the whole time.

Design = Earth

You’re standing on it. I’m standing on it. So are giraffes, the Eiffel Tower, Brian Williams and every chicken caesar salad ever to exist. What is it? The earth, of course. Without the hard ground beneath our feet, we’d be floating around aimlessly in the ether, bumping into each other. It’s pretty important.

Design, similarly, is the mold in which all inbound marketing efforts fit. It gives shape to otherwise confusing and difficult to understand content. It helps potential customers know what they’re looking for. On top of that, it exists to catch your eye.

With These Powers Combined…

Strategy, buyer personas, analytics, content and design work together in a multitude of ways. Without design, even the best content would look like a boring Microsoft Word document. Without buyer personas, strategy would be blindly aiming in the dark. And without analytics along the way, you wouldn’t know how (or if) to tweak any of the above to best gather leads.

While each is powerful on its own, each of the five elements of inbound can’t totally succeed without the other.

Find out how Flying Hippo and inbound marketing can rock your brand!

What other elements of inbound marketing do your campaigns need to succeed? Leave us a comment below!

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