Inbound marketing is a technique for attracting customers to your products and services through content. Using Inbound marketing, customers find you when they need you, rather than you hunting them and attempting to create a buying opportunity from a ‘cold lead’. In today’s digital world it is THE way to market - and is deemed permission-based marketing rather than disruptive and obtrusive.
Why is Outbound Marketing on the Out?
The way a potential customer researches their next purchase has changed, as has our attitudes toward’ overt paid advertising. With the swipe of a finger, they can readily and easily access information while searching for it on their mobile device. Gone are the days where a customer would need to drive to a store or visit a trade show to learn about your product or service.
Traditional forms of outbound marketing such as telemarketing, cold calls, advertising or email blasts are seen as ‘disruptive’ and are increasingly being ignored or filtered out by your potential customers. Not really surprising when on average, we are all receiving over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day.
There are a myriad of ways your potential customer uses to avoid your outbound marketing efforts, so it’s time to redirect your efforts towards inbound marketing, and for good reason.
Inbound Marketing Adds Value
With inbound marketing, value is added at each stage of the buyer journey through helpful content on channels such as blogs, search engines and social media. With inbound, you can attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business through creating content designed to address the needs and problems of your ideal customers.
Unlike outbound marketing (e.g. cold calls, media buys or email blasts), inbound marketing doesn’t seek to market en masse, rather it helps your business to “be found” by people already interested in buying your product or service. Inbound marketing draws potential customers to you, rather than your business fighting for the attention of your target customers.
Inbound Marketing Techniques
There are a number of different inbound marketing techniques that you can use to be discovered by your ideal customer.
This strategic marketing approach focuses on creating and sharing valuable content to attract and retain your ideal customer. To be successful, ideally you must provide consistent content through digital marketing channels that is relevant to each stage of the buyer journey.
Blog posts provide a way to address the needs and problems of your ideal customer. Through written content, videos, images and infographics you are providing value to the reader. A good blog post will have clear keywords and a call-to-action that invites the reader to take a further step, such as downloading a free ebook (and thereby building a valuable database).
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Probably the most important part of inbound marketing, i.e. how easy it is for your ideal customer to find you when they run a search on Google? Optimise your online content through relevant and consistent keywords, H1 tags and other SEO activities.
Opt-in email marketing
Rather than an email blast or buying a list, opt-in email marketing is where you have captured a lead through, for example, a lead generating strategy such as a download of a free ebook or when someone chooses to subscribe to your blog. The lead has made a decision to join the list, and is therefore likely to be more engaged with any further content you deliver to their inbox.
Paid search advertising
Google Adwords is the most popular search engine marketing platform, but there is increasing consumer interest in other search engines such as Bing. Paid search advertising is about creating advertisements and bidding on keywords that relate and perform well to the advertisement. For ultimate SEO performance - both SEO and PPC should marry with content to effective drive inbound.
BEAM - INTEGRATED MARKETING CHART
This chart above, demonstrates how all the marketing above the line is targeting and attracting the right audience, drawing them into a the website for capture and feeding the CRM for further sales and marketing enablement below the line.
Why Choose Inbound Marketing Over Outbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing activities mean that you make it easier for potential customers to find you when they have a need or a problem to be solved. Someone who searches for your product or service is a ‘warm lead’, and obviously has considerable more value than a ‘cold lead’. If you’re not using inbound marketing techniques to capture potential customers, their business, quite frankly is likely go to a competitor, that is.
Instead of wasting your marketing budget on buying lists, cold calling or outsourced telemarketing, develop your website as a “hub” for your industry. Use inbound marketing to reach your customers at the right moment, with the right content suitable for the stage of the buyer journey.
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Read more on our Inbound Marketing page