What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is an umbrella term encompassing SEO, link building, content marketing, and social media marketing used in conjunction.
By refocusing your marketing efforts on inbound rather than traditional marketing, you can increase brand awareness, sales and customer retention.
An evolution of social and technological changes have shaped the way consumers engage with businesses. In turn, businesses have transformed marketing strategy – engaging luke-warm customers with big results.
We’ve all done it – opened our inbox (much too early) on a Saturday, selected as many emails as possible, and in one swipe, deleted at least $50 worth of marketing expenses brought to you by every brand imaginable. That now-deleted virtual advertisement was thoughtfully crafted (by a professional marketing team) and blasted by what was likely a perfectly qualified intern. In what’s known now as “traditional marketing”, a business’ hyper focus on gaining the attention of those not looking their way.
This traditional marketing, also known as “outbound” or “interruption” marketing, mostly consists of 1-way communication. You, the business owner, blasting your message to all potential audiences hoping for someone to bite. Customers are sought after using banner ads, emailing, print advertisements, cold calls, and radio spots. Typically, these methods require large advertising funds to gain market exposure.
But cash spent on these cold marketing efforts doesn’t necessary equal a return on the investment. It’s thought that roughly 44% of all cold emails go unopened. (Source)
The most cost-effective and engaging marketing today is achieved through what’s known as “inbound marketing”. These warm marketing methods seek to gain the attention and trust of already interested customers. By ramping up social media interactions and becoming a relatable brand, customers are more likely to willingly follow you, purchase your products, and then recommend them to others.
Opposite to outbound marketing, inbound marketing is a two-way communication. You as the business owner, by providing detailed information, useful and engaging content and educational material, therefore increasing the value of your brand. You are no longer buying your audience, but rather, reaching out to an existing and interested audience to offer the product or solution they already seek.
It’s important for inbound marketing to create connections through content. Talking about the product from social media platforms is still outbound marketing. Content should spark interesting discussion within your community and solicit some sort of action from the reader.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a useful inbound marketing technique in which properly placed keywords help search engines find your website and rank it in search results. By using keyword-rich articles and blogs, you are able to steer audiences searching for your product. Utilizing free ebooks, free trials, and opt-in email lists are other good examples of inbound marketing techniques that you can use to engage followers.
The Inbound Marketing Methodology
Attract visitors. Not just any visitors, the right visitors. This is done through blogging (weekly or more), SEO, valuable content on your website, and social engagement.
Convert these visitors to potential buyers (or “qualified leads”) by collecting their contact info in return for a free trial, free eBook, special newsletter, free download, or other type of call to action that would appeal to your target market.
Close the deal, turning them into a buying customer using creative marketing & lead nurturing. This includes keeping in contact with them, providing content they are interested in, and probably most importantly, providing a solution to their problem.
Delight them with your service, inspiring them to become advocates for your brand and recommend it to others. Most importantly, don’t forget about them once they’ve sent you money.
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