The easiest way to understand what Inbound Marketing is to describe the “push vs. pull” method of marketing.
Let’s take a moment and analyze how you can use “push v pull” method of marketing into your business.
“Pushing” would be any marketing effort where you push your services, product, and advertising in front of people without them wanting it or looking for it. Classic examples of this are TV ads, newspaper ads, and flyers.
“Pulling” would be marketing where you have an understanding of what your target customer wants and you publish content (blog, eBook, video, classes) that will help them and thus show your value to them and they will want to pursue you as a possible solution to their problem.
It is about bringing customers to you by adding value. Your content would be specific to your target customer.
“Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is all about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.” — David Meerman Scott
The Birth of Inbound
The concept of inbound marketing wasn’t born until 2005 after the phrase was coined by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan, co-founder, and CEO of the popular inbound marketing software.
From there it was a slow crawl. It began to show up in tiny blips and bleeps on the Internet in 2007. In 2012 it really started to grow. Today, it’s as familiar a concept with online marketers as Search Engine Optimization — today’s undeniable acronym of SEO.
Today businesses and entrepreneurs capture the world with blog writing, podcasts, videos, eBooks, and more. They take it a step further by promoting these educational resources via social media and email campaigns.
Businesses create all kinds of creative and engaging content, all in an effort to serve their ideal customer through valuable and powerful online sales funnel. Companies using inbound marketing and inbound sales strategies have their Marketing and Sales teams work together and feed off of each other to help the business grow.
So where is inbound marketing going now? Has it reached its peak? Hardly.
Consider this: Statistics show that leads derived from inbound marketing have a closing rate of 14.6 percent. Direct mail leads have a closing rate of only 1.7 percent.
Add to this the fact that 2 billion people worldwide are in possession of a smartphone. With more and more people relying on their digital devices to buy and educate themselves about products and services, there is no question that inbound marketing has no place to grow but up.
“People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.” ― Brian Halligan, CEO & Co-Founder, HubSpot
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust. As technology shifts, 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.
Inbound marketing is an approach that focuses on attracting leads, customers, and visitors to you or your brand, rather than the more traditional approaches that outbound marketing advocates, such as cold calling, or paid advertising in traditional media.
Inbound marketing’s primary goal is focused on creating content that aligns well with an audience’s interests and interacting with people in a way that offers true value to them, for free, rather than using the traditional method of interruption marketing.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” ― Simon Sinek, Author & Optimist
We all know the balance of power has shifted and the buyer now holds all the cards. What does this really mean for marketing? How can you sell to today’s buyer?
Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for marketing your business online, generating leads, and decreasing your conversion time. Inbound marketing takes your digital strategy to the next level of lead generation and customer engagement.
Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and hoping for leads (likely less than qualified leads), inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product through delivering relevant content, where and when they need it the most. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.
What is the benefit of this? Your content lives on your site as long as you want it to. The difference between that and paid is that when you stop paying for ads with Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc., your leads and website traffic also stop as well. That is not the case with inbound marketing.
There are 4 marketing funnels that are critical when you are talking about inbound marketing: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight. Let us explain each of these in more detail.
Stage 1: Attract or Awareness Stage
This is all about turning strangers to your brand into first-time visitors. It starts by attracting the right audiences who are interested in what you are offering by Blogging, content strategy and social media.
Stage 2: Convert or Consideration Stage
Next, we aim to convert these visitors into leads by gaining personal details. The most valuable currency during this phase is their contact information. We do this by exchanging content, including eBooks, white papers, infographics, tips and tricks for their name and email address.
Stage 3: Close or Decision Stage
If you have succeeded in attracting the right customers during their consideration phase, then comes closing as a natural next step. We also have to ensure that the customer becomes a repeated buyer and your brand is kept ‘top of mind’ by him into the future.
This can be achieved by using reporting and lead intelligence tools. Use Pipeline Management, Lead Nurturing, Email, Predictive Lead Scoring.
Stage 4: Delight
So you’ve made your sale. Awesome! Your hard work is paying off, but that doesn’t mean your job is over. Your next goal is to build customer loyalty so that your customer will want to keep buying from you in the future.
step 4 is less about what you’re saying and more about how you make someone feel. Your goal in delighting is to provide a memorable experience which speaks directly to your audience’s needs and wants. It makes them more likely to become referrers and sing your praises to friends and family
Inbound Marketing: (Inbound Good!?)
As you’ve probably worked, inbound marketing is the umbrella term for strategies that get the audience to come to you. You put the work in up front, setting up resources that then generate leads for your business.
There are a number of examples of this. At a basic level, your website is a form of inbound marketing. Searching for a product or service, someone finds your website and — if the website is good — they make their purchase or they call you for more information.
Other examples of inbound marketing include content marketing, social media, landing pages, and white papers.
Are there are forms of marketing that are both inbound and outbound marketing?
You could make an argument that both PPC and email marketing combine the two.
Email, for instance, involves sending messages out. However, inbound marketing is necessary to get people onto your email list in the first place.
PPC ads are designed to attract people to your business, but you have to put them out so they can be seen.
“Real-time is a new mindset in marketing, and that’s what inbound marketing is all about.” — David Meerman Scott
Outbound Marketing: (Outbound Bad???)
Outbound marketing is simple to understand: it’s everything you currently think of as advertising.
All of the traditional advertising methods are outbound: TV and radio, newspaper ads, telemarketing, outdoor ads, direct (postage) mail and so forth.
The term ‘outbound’ comes from the idea that you push the advertising ‘out’ to recipients, hoping that it’ll convert enough to ensure you still get a profit.
Inbound V Outbound :
This remains a divisive issue. Some people still swear by traditional methods; others are convinced inbound marketing is more effective.
We’ll go through the main characteristics of marketing inbound vs outbound here.
Outbound marketing is almost universally more expensive, even when it comes to advertising locally. A small ad in your local paper will likely cost at least three figures. A national advertising campaign could reach six.
You need a lot of budgets to run outbound marketing on a large-scale. Inbound marketing can be free in terms of upfront investment: it costs nothing to set up a social media account or start a blog.
Inbound marketing will normally take more time. You can design a mailshot and have it circulated within a day or two.
Building online resources that bring customers to your business will take longer. (It’s usually worth the time investment, however.)
Inbound marketing allows for far more effective targeting. It’s much easier to be SURE you’re reaching your ideal customers when carrying out an inbound campaign. Why? Because when you run a local radio ad or a newspaper promotion, you simply can’t guarantee the right people will read it.
When you build inbound resources, people will only find you when they actually look for things related to your industry.
Traditional outbound advertising has earned a bad reputation over the years. People hate adverts and find ways to avoid them, from putting up ‘no junk mail’ signs to installing ad-blockers on their phones.
Inbound marketing, though, isn’t even really thought of as marketing. If we want to find an Indian restaurant nearby, we just Google it and find one. We don’t ever think that we’re being ‘advertised’ to, even though — to all intents and purposes — that’s exactly what’s happening.
If you want to make sales without being seen as sales — and many businesses do — inbound marketing is definitely a better option.
Benefits Of Inbound Marketing
- Reach the right audience in the right place to generate quality traffic: 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.
- Increase trust: Inbound marketing is all about giving potential customers the information about the product and services they are looking for, this will help in creative engaging the Customers.
- Protect from over-reliance on one channel: By pursuing quality traffic from a variety of sources such as organic search, social media referrals, referrals from other websites talking about your amazing work, you can reduce the reliance on one channel alone.
- Helps in increasing Sales and marketing: Inbound Marketing uses social media for sharing over social media networks that will help in contacting to a larger audience.
- Inbound marketing increases sales through your promotion you will get more visitors and you can convert those visitors into customers.
- Increase visibility and brand awareness: Inbound marketing uses social media, SEO, blogs that will help you in increasing visibility and brand awareness.
- Inbound Marketing is a long term effect on prospects by reaching them on multiple social channels.
- Outbound Marketing is expensive than Inbound Marketing.
- High ROI
- You can maintain a good relationship with customers.
- High Lead conversion.
- Increases More Web Traffic
- Help In future Data Analysis.
- Stay Ahead of the competition.
Inbound has been there for quite some time we just aren’t recognizing it because of the importance given to outbound marketing. Since the Internet has proliferated in every household business, to every small and large business, it’s hard to deny the immense reach and effect of inbound marketing.