Inbound marketing has proved to be an effective methodology for businesses to expand their customer base. An effective inbound marketing strategy entails the creation of content that is useful to customers, and effective promotion of the same to ensure this content reaches the target audience. Through inbound marketing, businesses aim to attract customers, convert them, and then close these leads, ensuring they are able to deliver value to customers.
Inbound marketing strategies take a lot of effort to implement. Even with the latest versions of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) that have greatly automated the process, marketers still have to make a lot of effort in execution, such as analyzing consumer behavior to create tailored content and design targeted promotional strategies for them.
However, thanks to artificial intelligence, managing inbound marketing has become much easier over time. Many of the manual inputs requiring human intervention now have the potential of being automated, as technology is slowly becoming capable of making data-driven decisions that previously required dedicated human focus.
Defining Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has multiple branches, including machine learning and natural language processing, to name a couple. All of these branches are currently in various stages of development, with some having the capability of advancing their own systems with time by developing newer algorithms.
AI already influences many decisions we make online. For example, product recommendations being made on Amazon and media suggestions by Netflix are all coming from AI-driven systems. Although the influence of AI in inbound marketing is still in its infancy, the technology is rapidly improving, and so is its impact.
The Impact of AI on Inbound Marketing
Artificial intelligence is allowing us to perform mundane everyday tasks with greater accuracy and in a shorter time. For inbound marketers, using AI results in faster campaigns, providing higher value to companies, and maximizing return on marketing investment.
Here are the four stages of inbound marketing and the impact AI can have on every stage.
People are strangers to your business at the very beginning, and you need to attract them. This can be done through targeted keywords, as well as posting useful content, such as blogs, on social media. Once you are able to capture your target audience’s attention, they become visitors and land on your pages.
During the Attract stage, it is the job of inbound marketers to develop insights about the topics that are most in-demand by consumers, and then to create effective content creation strategies to deliver the required content on time. This can take a lot of time, however, by using AI, inbound marketers have expedited this process. Tools are available that can automatically analyze consumer demands, and deliver topic clusters to marketers for content development. AI is also helping marketers automatically scan content for any errors, ensuring the delivery of high-quality content.
There are two main AI technologies that can add great value at this stage, including Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). A few examples of such AI-based software include Grammarly and the Content Strategy tool by Hubspot.
As soon as a visitor comes on your page, it is time to convert them into qualified leads. This can be done by requesting visitors to fill out forms, specific calls-to-action, as well as developing landing pages that deliver complete and accurate information about your business and the value your products and services can deliver to your customers.
During the Convert stage, machine learning, another AI technology, is proving to be very effective especially in quickly identifying the strongest leads in your system. Tools like Sales Professional by Hubspot provide priority notifications that deliver important customer information to marketers in a timely manner so that they can quickly take appropriate action to convert leads. Such tools are also helping marketers understand the best time to conduct email and/or SMS marketing (learn more here) by analyzing the timeframe during which a customer is most likely to engage with a communication.
Closing a lead means converting your leads into customers. This can be done through CRM systems, email marketing, and effective workflows that guide the customer through their individual journey.
At this stage, AI is proving to be exceptionally useful in finding data and evaluating insights that are potentially missed by human beings. Digital marketers are using software solutions such as Seventh Sense to make the most use of consumer data. This is helping marketers in the lead generation process as well as efficiently close existing ones.
Finally, inbound marketing includes staying in touch with your customers to convert them into promoters of your business. By conducting surveys and developing smart content, you can enable customers to become fully acclimatized with your business and, hence, start promoting it among their social circles, due to their own positive experience.
Delighting customers requires businesses to personalize communication for every customer, and AI is making this much easier. For example, Motion AI, which was recently acquired by HubSpot, allows users to make their own chatbot that can deliver personalized communication to customers on a mass scale. Another solution that has become popular at this stage is called Klevu, which enables you to automatically present customized product recommendations to your customers without any human involvement.
How To Incorporate AI Into Your Existing Inbound Marketing Strategy?
Incorporating AI can help you increase the impact of your inbound marketing strategy by a landslide. By using proper tools, you can substantially increase your website’s traffic, develop new qualified leads, build-up your customer base, and improve customer loyalty through highly-targeted communication.
Perhaps the biggest impact of AI on inbound marketing has been on the Close and Delight stages. Businesses are now able to converse with customers through automated AI-driven chatbots, delivering personalized communication to customers without any human intervention. Also, these chatbots are available 24/7 for no extra cost and have the ability to interact with all customers at the same time answering unique questions posed by all of them. These features are impossible to deliver with human resources unless you are willing to spend in countless human representatives to perform the same tasks.
Also, the responses delivered through AI-powered chat are continuously evolving, as the system keeps updating itself by analyzing the most frequently asked questions and developing appropriate responses for each one of them. For queries it cannot answer itself, the system can present these frequently asked questions to you, and you can answer these questions once for the system to deliver these answers to customers every time they ask them through the chat platform.
Utilize Tools That Help Develop Content Strategy
As discussed above, many companies are already using AI-based tools that help them identify topic areas most in-demand by customers. Such tools can help you rank different topics based upon their search frequency, allowing you to invest time and resources in the development of content that is likely to result in greater consumer engagement.
Also, AI-based SEO tools like Alliai can automatically advise you on optimization you need to make on your content to make it more friendly for search engines, and this can help you generate more traffic towards your website and create more leads.
Give Your Visitors Personalized Recommendations
Just like a retail outlet has salespersons that are available to provide guidance to customers, you can assist the online experience of your customers as well. In fact, through AI, you are in a better position to offer relevant recommendations that are personalized to your visitor’s preferences, since AI can help you analyze your customer’s online behavior.
Once you have insight into your consumer’s online shopping behavior, you can set up a system that delivers personalized recommendations based upon those insights. According to studies, around 31% of the revenue generated by good performing websites comes through targeted product recommendations. Personalized recommendations are very important, and by leading your customers to products/services that you know are well-suited to their individual tastes, you can improve your sales.
Why Use AI Within Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?
Artificial intelligence has effectively transformed the way digital marketers operate. The emphasis on making data-driven decisions while developing an inbound marketing strategy has existed for quite some time, but it’s only thanks to artificial intelligence that marketers have now found a way to personalize inbound marketing on a massive scale.
Through AI-enabled marketing channels, businesses have fully adopted the mantra of putting the needs of customers above all else. The goal is to address customer concerns as soon as they originate, and the power of AI allows this to be done almost instantaneously, something that was not previously possible, at least on a massive scale.
The rise in adoption of AI-enabled inbound marketing techniques means that a greater number of customers would be preferring a more personalized online experience, and any online business that aims to survive in the future must revamp their digital marketing strategy around AI-enabled solutions. This is the only way to maximize the online lead generation potential of your business.
So far, the impact of AI on inbound marketing has been extraordinary, but it is yet to have a greater impact as technology advances in the years to come. Businesses are now able to personalize their interaction with each customer on a massive scale through AI-powered solutions, something that was not possible in a non-AI world. With AI, inbound marketing has become even more effective at generating qualified leads and also increased the rate of conversion as well. Hence, we can expect to see greater incorporation of AI in inbound marketing in the future.