According to Wikipedia Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding. Which I’ll say is a lite version of this definition—which doesn’t really do this strategy of marketing full justice.
“Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.”
That is a bit more of the full picture and where Wikipedia drops short on their definition is that you are creating a long-term cohesive marketing strategy based on your company’s growth goals and plans.
In this post we’ll do our best to give a few examples but at the same time keep it high level—we’ve got TONS of other blogs that dive in a bit deeper, so if this is the tip of the iceberg and you find yourself interested in learning more! You should definitely check out one of these other blogs posts:
Inbound VS Outbound
To Start Let’s look at the difference between Inbound vs Outbound marketing:
Inbound marketing is the process of creating a digital marketing strategy built to organically bring leads and customers to your company when they’re looking for solutions.
Juxtapose that with what we all think about when we hear the term ‘marketing’ as more traditional Outbound Marketing. Outbound marketing is the process of paying for placement, advertisements, print, cold calls/emails, and the process of getting in front of people’s faces who might not know it exists (or may not need your product/service at all).
The biggest difference is that inbound marketing aligns better with the modern buyers—who in a 21st-century environment has the powers of the internet at their fingertips. Which means that they can research whatever they want at any given time! Meaning that inbound is positioned to assist buyers who know what (or close to it) they’re looking for. Outbound is a ‘blast’ of information and making the potential customer pay attention, where Inbound is the creation of high-quality content that user seeks out to find when they need it.
How Can Inbound Help Your Business
One of the best outcomes of a proper inbound marketing strategy is the fact that inbound marketing gives you A+ leads. Because these people have self-selected to make it down your funnel a bit further. The customer sought out your information, maybe by an internet search of a specific term that you’ve optimized a blog post for. Or you’ve created an e-book that people want the information from, so they enter their details in a form in order to unlock this content.
What that self-selection does is helps you identify that these leads want something that you offer. They ended up on your site for a reason, the simple fact that you’ve made it this far into this blog post is a testament to the fact that inbound marketing works! You searched for something related to this title, or we’ve created enough content in the past that positions us in your network as the content you should read.
However, to build on the point above, just because you’re reading this post does not mean we’ve turned you into a client yet… It is important to remember that inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. What a well-crafted inbound marketing campaign does is keeps your company relevant, above the competition and will continue to do so (long after this blog post has been read). Creating content is not always easy, it often requires a lot of work—this is why many companies decide to hire a digital marketing agency to help them navigate this journey.
Examples of Inbound Content marketing
We want to dispel the rumor that inbound is hard, there is a difference between being difficult and being time-consuming. Inbound marketing at the end of the day should be something that your company enjoys, it should be an aspect that is a fun way to share what you do on a daily basis with the world at large.
Below are a few of the most common forms of content creation:
Any good salesperson knows that you have to give a little to get a little. Forms are the perfect version of this, it allows you to ask the questions you want to know about your website visitor in order for them to move forward in getting access to something you’re offering. A simple well-crafted form can be an amazing way for visitors to tell you about themselves.
Trials & Demos
People love—free stuff, this isn’t new to you, but it’s one of the best ways to create demand for your product/service. The “test-drive” is a time-tested strategy for creating great leads. If you get a prospect to use your product or service then they’ve qualified themselves as a high-quality lead who needs a solution like yours!
As we’ve talked about, inbound marketing starts with great content, and a blog (like this one) is an amazing way to attract new visitors to your website. Create educational, fun, or otherwise intriguing content that speaks directly to your target audience. Answer some questions they might have or share some knowledge for free—but show that you know your stuff.
Creating some sort of downloadable e-book or file is a great way to get people to get a ton of content in one big dump. With a form protecting your content a user must do a trade, their information for yours!
In the modern age, we all know there is great value in social media—but it’s often hard to really determine what/where the value is. Creating remarkable content is important, but social media is the platform that allows you to go one step further than just sharing—to interacting! Don’t leave too much on the table, if potential customers want to interact with your brand on social media then make sure you are on the right platforms to engage with them.
When your visitor to the site clicks, downloads, or likes your content make sure that if you can you collect their email address. By tracking what they interacted with, and sorting them properly you can follow up only on the specific topics you think they’ll find relevant—this way you stay in touch, but don’t inundate them with too much content.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Baidu can show any potential customer any content. How people find you is SEO, and it’s hand in hand with content marketing—there has to be something to find! Both on-page and off-page SEO are important in inbound marketing.
Referrals are one of the most effective types of leads. Typically, referrals can close pretty quickly and are low-cost in the grand scheme of digital marketing. More than 50% of sales reps call referrals “very important” but less than 30% of businesses have one in place.
Collaboration with other companies offers a new viewpoint and audience to have exposure to your brand. Leveraging in each other’s following is what helps to get both companies audiences involved. It’s fairly unique territory, in that one size all doesn’t fit every partnership. Hosting a webinar together, writing an ebook, or create branded content—any form this wants to take where you complement each other well.
Using retargeting you can turn your hard-earned website visitors into customers—increase conversions by re-engaging potential customers that left your site. Think of the time you were looking at an item of clothing online, then left the website—and soon saw ads for that item (even maybe at a discount?) That is retargeting in action!
How to Begin Your Inbound Marketing Campaign
The first step is to put a plan together, make sure you know your prospect and create a ‘persona’ of this customer. This is what makes sure that the content you create, the platforms upon which you share it, and the way you follow up are all directed at the right target.
Then begin creating content, you can start with just about anything—but the most important thing you can do is start today, the only better time you can start your inbound marketing efforts is yesterday. However, if this all seems like a little much to kick off yourself then you should reach out to a digital marketing agency that knows how to navigate these waters.
We love scaling inbound marketing programs in support of boosting lead conversion and ultimately driving profitable customer activations. Let’s talk and see how we can boost your marketing ROI and increase revenue.