What is Inbound Marketing?
You've probably heard about inbound marketing, but might not be familiar with how it differs from conventional online marketing. We get the question, "What is inbound marketing?" quite a little. In a nutshell, inbound marketing is the proven marketing methodology for digital time.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is just one part of a larger movement in the business climate. That movement is inbound.
Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a market that provides value and creates trust. As technology changes, inbound guides an approach to doing business in a human and helpful way. Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell, and a better way to serve your customers. Because when good-for-the-customer means good-for-the-business, your company can grow better over the long term.
In terms of digital marketing, this means using a combination of marketing ways – most generally content marketing, SEO, and social media – in creative ideas to attract people’s attention. The purpose of a successful inbound marketing campaign is to expand the reach and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.
Owned media are those channels that a business has control over. For example, your website, blog, brand social media profiles, and YouTube channel. You choose what to publish, how to publish it, and when.
Earned media is the coverage you earn as a result of your hard work. Offline, this includes traditional coverage in newspapers and magazines. Online, it’s things such as coverage on news sites often gained through digital PR but also mentions on social media, use of a campaign hashtag, conversations in online forums, and online reviews. You have less control over earned media, but it should be a reward for the work you’ve put into your inbound marketing campaign.
Why is Inbound Marketing Hot Today?
Buyers today are more empowered. The web provides them with immediate information satisfaction. They can access detailed specs, pricing, and reviews about goods and services 24/7 with a few flicks of their thumbs. Meanwhile, social media helps them to share and compare, while mobile devices add a wherever/whenever dimension to every aspect of the experience.
"Inbound Marketing is very powerful because you have the power to give the searcher/consumer exactly what answers they are looking for at the exact point that they need it. That builds trust, reputation, and authority in whatever niche you are practicing this form of marketing in.”
Because of this, traditional marketing tactics based on “renting” attention that others have built — and interrupting the buyer in the process — are becoming less and less effective.
Why You Need Inbound Marketing to survive?
Inbound marketing offers many benefits. When used effectively, it can:
- Shape a brand preference and influence future purchases.
- Generate social media shares and inbound links.
- Put customers in the driver’s seat.
- Help fuel search engine optimization efforts.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Enable customers to engage with your brand at their point of need, 24/7.
- Generate qualified leads for less money (when compared with traditional marketing).
Benefits Of Inbound Marketing:-
Reach the right audience in the right place to generate quality traffic
By focusing your inbound marketing work on reaching the right audiences in the right places, you can attract your target customers in order to meet your digital marketing objectives. This is instead of spending money attracting traffic from people who are unlikely to ever convert.
Inbound marketing is all about giving potential customers the information they are looking for – even if they don’t know it – in a creative and engaging way. It’s not about pushing unwanted sales at every opportunity. By using inbound marketing as a way to present your brand as a useful and reliable resource, the hope is they’ll come to you when the time to purchase does arise.
Protect from over-reliance on one channel
By pursuing quality traffic from a variety of sources – organic search, social media referrals, referrals from other websites talking about your amazing work – you reduce the reliance on one channel alone, and therefore the associated risk.
There are 4 marketing Factors that are critical when you are talking about inbound marketing: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight.
Let us explain each of these in more detail.
Attract:- Attracting users is the first step in the inbound marketing methodology. At this initial marketing stage, the customer is provided with the right content, at the right place, and at the right time through search engine optimization and social media marketing.
Convert:- Once the right visitors have been attracted to the website, the goal is to convert them into leads through obtaining their contact information on a landing page. In order to receive this relevant information, the remarkable content they need at that very moment is offered to them. This helps give them the information they are looking for while providing you, the marketer, with their contact information to effectively market to them.
Close:- The closing stage is where leads are transformed into customers. At this later marketing stage, specific marketing tools such as marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring are utilized to ensure that the correct leads are closed at the perfect time.
Delight:- Inbound marketing revolves around providing outstanding content to both your leads and your customers. This means that even after a lead is closed, they still must be engaged through dynamic content, social media, and trigger marketing. The goal of delighting the customers is both being able to solve their issues and turn them into promoters of your business.
The Importance Of Analysis & Refinement:-
If there’s one thing you remember about inbound marketing, it’s the importance of tracking performance and refining your approach accordingly. This is where testing comes in too – discover what messaging, types of content, imagery, calls to action, etc. work best for your target audience and ensure you implement these on a permanent basis, or in your next campaign.
Types of Inbound Marketing:-
1. Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a well-framed process of making quality changes in various areas of your website. This is done so that the search engines can find relevant information and deliver the same to the target audience. In order to reach out to the target audience in an organic manner, you need to rank higher in the SERP. Furthermore, the SEO process looks forward in making your website optimally best and helps in getting a higher rank.
2. Social Media
Social Media is another emerging platform that helps marketers connects with the target audience on a personal level. As more and more people are becoming active on social media, it has become one of the most effective platforms to get connected with the targeted audience. Hence, you just cannot afford to miss this popular form of Inbound Marketing where the target audience can easily form connections with you.
3. Content Marketing
Content is a huge part of Inbound Marketing. By creating and sharing a lot of informational and valuable content with the target audience, it develops a trustworthy relationship. Various types of content can be shared like blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics and what not. Content Marketing does not really force people to read the information. Interested people automatically reach out to the information.
Conclusion: Make Inbound Marketing Work For You!
In our active society where the Internet and social networking shape our daily decisions, customers are exposed to more information than ever. This phenomenon is not only making them more educated but also is causing a change in purchasing behaviors. As a result, B2B and B2C marketing efforts must be adjusted to respond to this shift.
Today’s markets are realizing that outbound efforts alone are not sufficient to generate profits. Rather, inbound marketing methods need to be utilized in order to attract more leads and promote better brand preference. To be successful in inbound marketing, businesses need to introduce a disciplined strategy to content creation, introducing marketing automation tools that can help them nurture and score leads, and optimize how these leads flow through the sales pipeline.
Learn Inbound Marketing
Sign up for Smac Digital Academy for free to learn about the inbound approach, access free tools to try it yourself, and get Inbound certified. Grow your business and your career with the inbound methodology.