Inbound marketing is the future of marketing for smart businesses. It’s better at capturing people’s attention than “traditional” marketing, it’s more effective (drives more traffic) and it creates better leads. But what is it about the Inbound Marketing approach that makes it so essential to what you do?
1 Inbound Marketing can save you money
First and foremost, let’s start with what is essential to any business. Money. Inbound Marketing uses your own space to (subtly) promote your brand so you’re not paying for any “ad real estate”. Therefore, you don’t need a huge marketing budget, or even a large dedicated marketing team. The Inbound methodology focuses on creating consistent content so the chances are, you can manage much of it yourself. Some of the content recommended to use is:
- Blog Posts: answer FAQs or resolve common problems in the form of blog posts. If these are useful and interesting, they’ll drive traffic to your site. Once you’ve got a suite of posts, you can link them all to one another (where relevant, of course). People will never want to leave!
- Social Media updates: keep people “In the Loop” with what is going on in your company. Providing a personal touch can help build brand loyalty. It also provides an outlet for you to display your values and showcase what makes you special.
- Emails: these can go out to people that didn’t make a purchase or to existing/former customers. Tailor them to a specific purpose, and sell more products/services or bring people back to you.
- Downloadable pieces: similar to blog posts, aim for these to deal with challenges that your customers are likely to face. In this instance, people would need to leave their email address in order to access the content.
Depending on your time, inclination and resources, you could introduce other ways of attracting attention: podcasts, webinars, video tutorials, hosting local events…. The list of things that will show off your expertise and get you noticed is varied and endless!
2 Inbound Marketing utilises existing assets
In today’s world “if you’re not online, you don’t exist”. Given that you’re reading this article, chances are, you are online as a company. You’ll probably have a website, you may have a business social media account (possibly even on multiple platforms). The good news is that the Inbound approach uses these channels to reach your potential customers. There isn’t really any bad news, other than the fact that your online presence may not be as great as it could be. But that’s what we’re here for, now.
The list of potential content in the above point is a solid platform to kickstart your Inbound campaign. However, you’ll also need to optimise your website through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This makes it easier for sites like Google, Yahoo etc. to find your content and display it to potential customers. Which brings us nicely to our next point.
3 The leads you get are better quality
Your new audience is now finding you through social media, search engines and (hopefully) links to your content from other sites. So you know that the people who are finding you are the people who are actively looking for you. And they’re probably looking for you for a reason. They’re either interested in the product/service you provide, or they’re experiencing challenges that you tackle in your content. In the first instance, you have a hot lead for conversion. In the second, you have built awareness of your brand, positioned yourself as an expert and possibly solved an issue for someone. If this is the case, your retargeting emails can help you close these warm leads at a later date, but for now it’s enough that they know you exist.
The average person needs to come across a brand 7 times before they start to believe that it is legitimate/trustworthy. People also like to come to a sale fully prepared. They’ll have checked out alternative providers, and have compared costs.
A staggering 98% of visitors will fail to purchase from a website the first time they come across it. This is another reason to make sure your brand name is out there. Retargeting (also referred to as remarketing) can convert up to 50% of those who did not buy first time. We’ll dig more into retargeting in a separate article.
4 Customers are now “blind” to Outbound Marketing
My (almost) 2 year old, when watching Peppa Pig on YouTube, will say the words “Skip ad!” and finger-stab the “Skip Ad” button on the iPad screen whenever an advert pops up. Who knows what these adverts are even for?! We wait the required 3 seconds to be able to get rid and then we do so. Although, if you’re two, you DON’T wait those 3 seconds, and just start mentally moving on, anyway. The fact that we are even given the “Skip Ad” option is a clear indicator that the traditional advertising model is broken/redundant. Adverts are an inconvenience that people are increasingly unwilling to tolerate.
We are so inundated with marketing messages from such a young age, and such a variety of angles (newspapers, billboards, television, leaflets, pop-ups, emails…) that we no longer even really see them. Occasionally, one will catch our attention and that lucky company has, at best, 15 seconds to convince us that we’re buying what they’re selling.
Adverts can even have a negative impact on a website, TV channel etc if the consumer feels that there are too many of them or that they are too irritating, as people will stop what they’re doing/watching just to escape the ads. Individuals detest cold callers, they put junk/spam filters on their emails, they fast-forward through adverts on television – basically they do whatever they must in order to avoid seeing the messages that companies are shoving in their faces.
So, given the price of traditional advertising, the difficulty in managing to stand out, and the difficulty of measuring ROI, it’s increasingly apparent that it’s not a cost-effective way of promoting your business.
Looking at the information contained in this article, it’s clear to see that the marketing landscape is changing and evolving. The digital age has altered consumer behaviour and in order to be successful, companies have had to adapt to that change. The Inbound approach is one way that marketing has responded to the new relationship between people and information and successfully caters to the needs of the modern consumer.
Inbound Marketing is a great method of communicating with potential customers in a way that they’ve allowed you to. They’re looking for you in a search engine, or they’re using social media and your marketing messages are providing a potentially useful service to them rather than disrupting their time. As a result, your leads are stronger, conversions are higher and your chances of making a customer an advocate is much improved.
So, there you have it. Inbound Marketing is essential to your business success but is completely achievable. You’ll be reaching out to people who want to hear from you and/or are actively looking for you. It is cheaper than Outbound systems, and will deliver improved, measurable results to boot. What’s not to love?
Enjoy this? Leave us a comment below, or, following a similar topic, check out Driving Engagement with Digital Content via Social Media. Let’s get this party started!