How To Explain Inbound Marketing To Your Family This Thanksgiving
As any experienced marketer knows all too well, inbound marketing is a tricky thing to explain to curious family members. This Thanksgiving, during the usual fielding of questions about general life choices, apartments, relationships, and careers, most of us will find ourselves trying to explain what our job as an inbound marketer actually means.
While your cousin is on the other side of the table blissfully talking up his new role as an attorney (something most people seem to just “get” without too much explanation), here you are trying to unravel the mysterious intricacies of what inbound is, why it works, and how you implement it as a strategy.
For all of you out there — we can’t really help you with the other topics of conversation, but we can help you find a way to explain inbound marketing to everyone at your Thanksgiving dinner.
It can be challenging to find the words to explain inbound marketing for a few basic reasons:
- Inbound marketing is a relatively new concept. The definition and practices behind the industry are growing and changing every single day.
- To accept inbound as a legitimate strategy makes people uncomfortable because its core ideas contradict previous norms — and people always fight against what’s different.
- To explain inbound, your audience must have some basic knowledge of digital marketing, social media platforms, search engine functions, etc.
Let’s be honest: inbound marketing is awesome — and you want your family to know why! But each person at your Thanksgiving dinner is different and, therefore, requires a different approach. So let’s go around the table.
Parents can be your biggest critics, but they’re also your biggest fans — so brag a little! Inbound marketers are expert researchers and writers. Campaigns need detailed informational content for emails, social media, landing pages, blog posts, ebooks, and more!
Your content is specially designed to provide expertise for people on the topics that matter to them — and it takes a lot of legwork to get it there.
Most elderly folks are used to old-fashioned, traditional marketing methods like sales calls, so this may be the first thing that comes to mind when they hear your job title. But inbound is way more fun (for them and you) because it’s non-interruptive. Interruptive methods (like telemarketing and direct mail) are invasive, annoying, and they target the wrong people.
But by publishing helpful content as an inbound marketer, you build trust and establish your reputation as an expert. People who are seriously interested in your services contact you — instead of the other way around.
Plus, digital audience targeting allows us to zero in on audiences that are most likely to be interested in our services and spare those who don’t meet certain criteria. This means that everyone sees more of what matches their lifestyle and less of what doesn’t. Good news for everyone.
The Skeptical Uncle
“These millennials and their Twittering. Just make the sale!” The inbound marketing methodology is what some would call “new,” but it has also been proven as an extremely successful tactic when compared to more traditional marketing and sales strategies.
Organizations want to see a return on investment (ROI) from their marketing as well as proof that their tactics are making money for the business. Some might see non-traditional efforts (like providing helpful blog content for free) as risky, but research shows that inbound campaigns are achieving higher returns on investment than traditional marketing methods.
While it’s true that inbound is more of a marathon than a sprint (it takes prolonged, consistent effort in order to see results), there’s no denying these recent statistics:
- The cost of using inbound marketing channels is consistently less than outbound marketing channels.
- The average cost per business lead falls 80% after consistent inbound marketing efforts over five months.
- 44% of companies that use marketing automation software see ROI within six months, and 75% see ROI after one year.
The Curious Kids
If the kids ask, “What’s your job?,” keep things simple and relate back to them.
Any kid today is familiar with the practice of going to the internet to solve a problem or answer a question. When people have questions about how to do something that relates to your business’ products or services, it’s your job to have answers to those questions and to put those answers within easy reach on search engines like Google.
You help people solve problems and conquer pain points — and that’s pretty cool.
The Younger Sibling
Impress your little bro’ or sis’ with all you know about the latest and greatest apps, mobile technologies, and digital trends before they’re even available. What’s cooler than being a trend predictor? It’s basically your job to know things other people don’t.
For example, one of our writers created this preemptive post about virtual reality one whole month before Pokémon Go exploded onto the altered-reality stage.
The Attorney Cousin
Becoming a lawyer is impressive and your cousin is probably pretty smart. But without some professional digital marketing help, odds are that his or her firm’s website and social media efforts look and function like mushy, half-baked apple pie. In other words, the basic outline might be alright while the innards are confusing, unstructured, and scare people away. Inbound marketing would bake that stuff up really nicely.
Every business, law firms included, relies on leads, sales, reservations, or some other type of customer conversion to stay afloat. Inbound can help attract qualified leads through blog posts about industry topics, email marketing campaigns, and strategic web content and design that draws people in instead of pushing them out.
The Aunt Who Makes The Gravy
Your aunt makes perfect Thanksgiving gravy from scratch every year. It’s the best part of the dinner and goes on everything at the table. Well, good SEO is kind of like the gravy recipe.
Many people simply buy it at the store and heat it up. But your aunt painstakingly mixes, adds ingredients, and stirs until it’s perfect. As an inbound marketer, you have to make sure websites have everything they need to achieve high rankings on search engines.
Shortcuts and faked ingredients (like link and keyword stuffing) might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll pay for it later when Google drops the site’s rankings. It may take longer and require more effort to include SEO-friendly site elements like backlinks, blog posts, landing pages, and custom meta descriptions, but the end result is worth it!
Don’t let the inner workings of inbound marketing get you tongue-tied this Thanksgiving! Use these strategies to nail the question and answer portion of dinner and get down to what really matters — a delicious dinner and time with family and friends.
Originally published on Mainstreethost’s digital marketing blog on November 17, 2016.