What is inbound marketing?
In our fast-paced society where the Internet and social networking shape our daily decisions, customers are exposed to more information than ever. Inbound marketing is a methodology that utilizes many forms of pull marketing such as content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more create brand awareness and attract new business. In contrast to outbound marketing, where marketers attempt to find customers, inbound marketing earns the attention of customers and makes the company easy to be found.
Compared to traditional outbound marketing which relies on advertisements basically, inbound marketing strategies are far less intrusive and relies more on the user to take the initiative.
Recent studies have shown that 60% of companies are doing inbound marketing in one way or another, including 73% of marketing agencies.
Elements forming part of Inbound marketing
Blogs, Keywords, SEO, website, Social publishing, CRM, Call-to-Actions, Emailing, Social monitoring amongst others make up Inbound marketing.
Actions of Inbound marketing
The 4 actions are:
Is it important to implement an inbound marketing approach?
Now that we know what inbound marketing is, we need to know why inbound marketing is so important to your business. Here are a few reasons you need to implement an inbound marketing approach in your marketing today.
1. It’s cost effective
When talking about business and benefits, the first thing that comes in our mind is cost. Inbound marketing can generate leads to a company (of all sizes) in a much cheaper manner than outbound marketing.
A study says, small businesses can generate leads from inbound marketing by spending only ⅓ of what it costs them to get a lead from traditional outbound marketing.
2. Generates More Leads and Sales
Inbound marketing can help you generate high quality leads online. For your website to generate leads, it has to be found on search engines. But more than this, the website should be ranking high for your target keywords. After creating and optimizing your website for SEO, you need to create inbound links to improve its ranking.
Creating high quality content and sharing it across social media networks like Facebook and Twitter helps to drive visitors and generate inbound links. Statistics by HubSpot show that B2B companies that blog often have 97% more links than those that do not.
When prospects stop by your website, you have to lead them to your sales funnel and nurture them to become customers. Inbound marketing strategies such as email marketing and content creation will help you nurture the leads to move them further down the sales funnel.
Inbound marketing is crucial in today’s marketing environment. With consumers having more control on the information they consume, inbound marketing techniques enable businesses to reach their prospects in a targeted and relevant manner that helps to enhance their brand, generate leads and improve sales.
3. Builds visibility, authority and brand awareness
The digital world has made it possible for even the smallest brands to gain worldwide recognition by producing content that is aligned with the buyer’s journey. Your target audience will be able to find your information as they conduct their research. If you’re not out there, they won’t find you. It’s that simple. Also, if they like what you’ve written, they’ll share your content with their social networks. dramatically increasing your visibility and solidifying your reputation as a credible resource.
So far all the benefits outlined above have to do with costs and sales but this is not always the only marketing goals of companies.
There are cases where you want to build your brand name and raise awareness about your company or change the perception people have about your products. Inbound marketing is the perfect solution for this, not only it can help you spread the word and make your brand known but indirectly this will generate more leads and sales in the future.
You can make use of social media, quality blog posts, slideshows, infographics, PPC, SEO (to name a few tools), to get your brand in front of thousands of prospects and educate them about your company without them understanding that you are trying to ‘shape’ their opinion about your company.
Talking about authority and perception, take a look at what hubspot managed to do with inbound marketing.
They invested heavily in educating people about it and are now considered the ‘authority’ resource on inbound marketing.
This, of course, has a positive impact on the sales of their marketing tools.
4. More Content = More Customers
82% of companies who blog daily have won a customer through content. In fact, the data indicates that the more frequently you blog, the better your chances are of acquiring a customer through a digital channel.
Should You Focus Exclusively on Inbound marketing?
While inbound marketing is very effective at getting consumers interested in your product and developing relationships, many companies find that supplementing inbound strategies with outbound marketing tactics results in more leads converted to sales.
Even Hubspot, the leader in the space, utilizes outbound marketing strategies towards the end of the sales funnel to close sales. While the sales team relies on potential customers to sign up for their newsletter and create a free trial account, they will also remain in contact and will call the potential customer to persuade them to sign up for their marketing or sales software.
Outbound marketing doesn’t have to be directionless and aggravating.
It’s easy to take the demographic information obtained from inbound campaigns and use it to tailor advertising to people who want to receive it. Also, content that is delivered via a blog can also be sent out to potential customers who are on a newsletter or email list, providing an outbound outlet for quality content developed for inbound purposes.
While inbound marketing offers a number of attractive benefits, a marketing campaign that can creatively combine the two marketing strategies is one that will generate the most interest and provide the most potential leads.
There is no right or wrong answer to deciding on the ratio of inbound to outbound marketing as it depends strongly on the industry, your company needs and the current market you are targeting.
Having a healthy marketing system mix of both inbound and outbound marketing is a must in today’s digitally driven ecosystem.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can tie a sound outbound strategy with your existing inbound strategy, schedule a consultation with one of our campaign specialists.