Inbound marketing is based on the idea that interest is earned, not bought.
Founded in value and trust, this modern marketing mindset focuses on the consumer’s needs. Rather than push information on an audience, inbound marketing offers what’s needed. With the belief that what’s good-for-the-customer is what’s good-for-the-business, inbound marketing keeps the human in mind.
Why is Inbound Marketing Important?
In a growing digital world, traditional marketing is losing efficacy. Intrusive advertisements annoy rather than attract the modern population. As consumer behavior changes, we must change. People are more in control of what information what they receive and how; inbound marketing acknowledges this shift in behavior by aiming to earn trust and be found, rather than seek profit.
Consumers have access to a wealth of valuable online content and have come to expect it; brands need to not only create quality content but strategically establish themselves as an authority within their niche. Where marketing used to be a transactional affair, it’s now a matter of relationship.
Old & New
Traditional marketing, known as “old marketing”, pushes products and services on customers through print, TV, radio, banner advertising, or cold calls. Traditional marketing assumes communication is one-way and rarely attempts to entertain or educate audiences. Meanwhile, inbound marketers are striving to pique interest through “new marketing”—where advertising provides value, education, and entertainment. Rather than seeking profit from customers, customers find you via search engines, referrals, and social media.
Interruption vs. Permission
Old marketing is interruption-based and disrupts large followings of people with irrelevant ads. New marketing is permission-based; it addresses small communities through approved mediums in order to answer their specific questions.
Footnote vs. Story
Old marketing forces companies to be footnotes—where they must stand out, or not be seen at all. Rather than offer value to your customer, your agenda force their attention. Inbound marketing is about creating a wholesome story, in which you provide value, information, entertainment, and maybe even emotion, to your potential customer.
Liner vs. Holistic
Where outbound marketing strategies exercise linear strategies that shoot messages at potential customers through mediums like radio, TV, and direct mail, outbound marketing uses a holistic strategy that requires the collaboration of digital channels and content in order to attract interest.
The inbound philosophy calls us to attract, engage, and delight audiences—we must nurture them. In turn, these strategies will build trust, credibility, and momentum to build relationships with potential customers and build thriving businesses.
Attract: Inbound marketing does just attract anyone and everyone, but a very specific audience—a quality audience that will produce quality leads. Attract the right customers at the right time with the right content. Content strategy will increase your rank and build authority within your niche.
Engage: Engage with your audience through conversation—in whatever form the consumer prefers. Be it text, Instagram post, app. Tailored, targeted content is designed to engage a particular niche. Consider various integrated applications to enhance the communication experience.
Delight:When you deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right person—you’ll delight your customer and not only have them coming back for more but sharing your services to related communities.
Why Inbound Marketing Works
Inbound Marketing works for the following 3 reasons:
1. Focusing on a particular audience’s need will produce quality leads and higher conversion rates.
2. By addressing a specific need, your business will connect more deeply with your consumer; and furthermore, fuel sustainable traffic on your digital platforms. Rather than target demographics, inbound creates personas that speak to people on a holistic level; personas consider a person’s behavior, needs, and pain points.
3. These campaigns can be measured and tracked; they provide insight into how to move forward with marketing efforts. Inbound marketing calls your digital marketing efforts to collaborate synergistically to achieve strategic goals.
Inbound marketing relies on the following tactics:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focuses on growing your visibility through ‘free’ organic traffic from search engines. SEO analysts search the most highly trafficked terms—or keywords— to gain insight into your particular audience’s interests. Your website, blogs, and social media should be SEO optimized in order to increase traffic. SEO optimization can improve your search rankings, where you’ll work to appear as a top Google result. However, keywords will change and copy will need to be updated on a regular basis in order to maintain and improve traffic.
Blogs can increase your brand’s traffic, reach, visibility, and rankings through SEO optimization, With blogs, you can direct traffic to your website. It will also help you convert traffic into leads; higher traffic on your website, an opportunity to generate leads with every post, raise your chances of conversion. Building a foundation of valuable content will help your brand establish authority. The best blogs answer common questions and provide solutions. It’s important to note that blogs take time to build traction; however, once you’ve published a post, you will continue to receive traffic for days, weeks, months, and years to come.
Social media channels will distribute your content to the world and increase your chances of being digitally seen. Social media will expand the reach of your content—and if it goes viral, your impressions will exponentially grow. Social media can position your brand as an authority—by answering common questions, utilizing the most current mediums, staying updated on trends, and posting the most current, meaningful news in your industry, your online presence will prove you’re on the cutting edge. With a successful, authoritative positioning, other practices may link back to your content—again, increasing your visibility.
While inbound marketing refers to the process of attracting potential customers, content marketing is a tactic used to generate leads and sales. Strategic content addresses your niche’s pain points and offers solutions to their problems at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Successful content will turn your quality leads into conversions.
When strategic content collaborates with a strong social media presence, your search engine rankings will improve, referral traffic will increase, and you’ll drive sales and leads.
Consider these Tactics for your Buyer’s Journey
Inbound marketing should be reflected in all stages of the buyer’s journey—from the awareness stage to the consideration stage, and ultimately the decision stage. The awareness stage refers to potential customers who are not yet aware that they have a problem; blogs, videos, and infographics are the easiest, lightest forms to engage with and ideal for the awareness stage.
Those in the consideration stage recognize they have a problem, but require more information before making a decision. Consideration stage content involves eBooks, explainer videos, tip sheets, guides, and other informational resources.
The decision stage refers to those who are ready to buy—they want the solution you offer, but they’re not sure if they want you. Decision stage content guides potential customers towards choosing you through case studies, white papers, and reports.
Inbound marketing is labor intensive—it requires the development of lots of content. Furthermore, it can be difficult to trace the efficacy of your approaches. According to Smart Insights, inbound marketers struggle with justifying their approaches through return-0n-investment (ROI). Collaborate with an analyst to determine your goals, strategies, progress, and necessary adjustments. Generating traffic, with a small target audience, can be difficult. Spread your content through the newest, most engaging, content distribution channels, and focus on trendy mediums like YouTube and Instagram, to increase traffic.
Earn your customer’s interest—don’t buy it. If you’ve truly created a valuable service, and offer the solution your customer is looking for, you’ve built the grounds for a sustainable and ongoing relationship through a personal, intimate, and meaningful connection. Inbound marketing builds the loyalty that creates a thriving business.