Why Inbound Marketing Is Important and How it Can Future-Proof Your Business
When you think about marketing your services and products you probably think about advertising, social media profiles, and sales funnels, but if inbound marketing isn’t a big part of your marketing strategy you’re leaving web traffic (and money) on the table.
Why is inbound marketing so important and how can it possibly future-proof your business? First, let’s ensure we’re all on the same page.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is simply a form of marketing that uses content to attract new customers to you. This is also often referred to as content marketing, as it involves putting content out into the world to help, inform, or entertain your audience — who are your potential and current customers.
The best thing about inbound marketing is unlike outbound marketing, where you essentially throw content at your audience they don’t want (think of those 3–5-minute “ads” when you’re watching videos on YouTube), inbound marketing attracts an audience that is actively looking for your content.
Why is Inbound Marketing Important?
Inbound marketing is incredibly important because your customer takes the first step toward you. In almost all other forms of marketing, you chase your customers, trying to find the few who will actually love your brand and your product or service enough to buy again and again.
Content marketing allows you to put something out into the world that helps potential customers and attracts them to you — meaning once that content is up, it’s a magnet for potential customers. The more content you have that serves them, the stronger your magnet. When that customer is finally ready to buy, they’ll come to you.
Ads have a magnet effect too, but the major difference is that you have to continue to pay for the ad for its lifetime, after which it is no longer useful. While this is great for short-term campaigns and to increase traffic over a shorter time, it doesn’t do anything for you over the long term.
In other words, ads are a magnet you have to turn on and pay to charge, while content works on its own. Set it up once, and it’s good to go.
What are the Benefits of Inbound Marketing?
It’s Highly Targeted
If you’re doing your content marketing right, it speaks directly to your ideal customer profiles. Not every piece of content has to speak to the same type of customer or at the same place in the customer journey, but it should speak to them overall. Know your areas of expertise and what your customers are interested in and don’t stray away — even successful pieces of content are useless if they aren’t relevant to your customers.
It’s a One-Time Cost
Besides the hosting fees and a once-yearly update (if necessary), your content only costs you once in time and money. After that, it’s there working for you in the background and doesn’t require quite as much analysis and tweaking as other areas of marketing.
It Forges Trust and Gives You Authority
If there’s one thing customers need to purchase anything from you online (or anywhere), it’s trust. If they don’t trust you to be honest, to have secure processes, or to want the best for them, they’ll run a mile.
The content shows your audience (aka customers) you know exactly what you’re talking about and gives them a taste of what being a customer of yours is all about. If you provide a service, this is your opportunity to share your expertise and show them what working with you could be like, and if you sell products you can share your expertise and show them your ability to solve their problems.
Content also helps you become an authority in your industry, as great pieces of content are referenced elsewhere online (which helps to build backlinks — but that’s another topic). When customers come across you organically through search engines or via a link on another site they trust, they are much more willing to become a customer of yours because you weren’t “trying” to get them to become a customer.
Obviously, we know this is the ultimate goal, but your content should inform, help, or entertain first and foremost.
It Creates a Conversation
Your content can incite a conversation with your customers much more easily than any other form of marketing. On blogs and YouTube videos (aka video content marketing), you can turn on your comments section and invite your customers to ask questions there. You can ask them to reach out to you via email and social media, you can put out other CTAs to bring them further into your world, and you can become a part of their daily or weekly routine as they lookout for more content from you.
How Can Inbound Marketing Future-Proof My Business?
Okay, so inbound marketing alone can’t future-proof your business, but it can ensure you have a constant stream of traffic to your site and that in itself is invaluable. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how quickly things can change for our businesses, and without an organic and hands-off way of generating new customers, your business can go from working seamlessly to at a standstill overnight.
While these situations are rare, and will always affect some industries worse than others, imagine having plenty of content that attracts new customers but costs you little-to-nothing to keep up.
That’s what inbound marketing does for you. It gives you flexibility and continues to bring you, new customers, long after you paid for it, so you have the freedom to scale back other areas of your marketing should you need to.
The Barrier to Entry is Low
As you can see, inbound marketing is extremely beneficial and essential for most businesses, and the best thing is the barrier to entry is low. If you write or can speak well, you can create your own content, or you can outsource it.
While of course, you do need to learn to be good at inbound marketing, it’s more forgiving than ads as the learning curve isn’t quite so steep, and you can always go back and revamp an older piece later once you’ve learned more — that’s something that simply isn’t possible with most other forms of marketing.
If you’re not yet using inbound marketing for your business, now is the time to do so!
RYAN M. RAIKER, MBA // Ryan is Director of Digital Marketing at ABBYY, where he leads global digital marketing initiatives, promotes the corporate messaging, the web experience, and advances ABBYY’s Digital Intelligence positioning. He joined ABBYY after the 2019 acquisition of TimelinePI, now ABBYY Timeline, where he led product marketing and brand strategy. Ryan graduated with a Master’s of Business Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics/Informatics, and a Minor in Operations Management from Widener University.