What Is Inbound Marketing? How Can My Business Use It?
When it comes to researching comprehensive marketing strategies for your business, it is easy to get lost in the sea of bad advice or be overwhelmed by potential costs.
If you talk to a professional content marketing specialist, however, they will tell you that inbound marketing – and all the tools that inbound marketing strategies encompass – is the most affordable and effective online marketing tool today that a business can use to grow their customer base.
When building a marketing strategy, there are two different paths you can take: Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing.
Outbound marketing is the more traditional approach of the two. When Don Draper designs an ad campaign on Mad Men, he’s trying to design an advertisement that will get noticed and remembered by the most people. This is the goal of outbound marketing. An outbound marketing campaign wants to grab attention, put a business in front of the eyes of the greatest number of people and be remembered. Outbound marketing is the realm of commercial jingles, cold calls, broad email blasts, billboards, and print adverts, and is the more expensive venture. The basis of an outbound marketing strategy is go forth and find customers!
However, in the online marketing world, we have information available – at little to not cost – that makes it possible for us to be found by and engage with a more targeted audience. With this information, businesses of all sizes – and all budgets – can change their marketing strategies to reach a more selected group of potential leads.
This is the goal of inbound marketing: to get found by these likely customers and then encourage them to choose to further engage with your business and, of course, convert to sales.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
As opposed to grabbing the attention of the greatest number of viewers, an inbound marketing strategy has the goal of first delivering valuable content that would interest your ideal customers, and then encouraging them to further engage with your business. This is a more organic approach to finding quality leads, with the intent of driving higher quality traffic to your business’ website, as these are individuals who have found your content by their own means and then are electing to connect and engage with your business.
Rather than casting a wide net in hopes that you catch a few good fish (outbound marketing), you’re fishing with bait you know your fish like (inbound marketing).
Your goal, then, is to put out content – the bait – where it will be found. Not just any content will do, though. Effective inbound marketing content offers something of value – entertainment, information, education, etc. – to these potential customers, and encourages further engagement. By encouraging the users to further engage with your business online via calls-to-action, clickable links, sign-up forms and targeted landing pages, you are funneling them to your website where they are more likely than the average clicker to convert, as you’ve already initiated a relationship.
Examples of Inbound Marketing Tools:
No single inbound marketing tool works as well alone as a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses all or several of the following aspects:
- SEO and PPC: One of the most important tools for an inbound marketing strategy is to optimize your website content for search (SEO) and invest in pay per click advertising. If you can’t get found online, you’re going to miss out on those customers seeking exactly what you’re offering…and their business is going to go elsewhere.
- Social Media: Attract new and returning customers by maintaining an active social media presence. Think social media isn’t the right fit for your business or isn’t relevant for your industry? Think again. Every business, everywhere can benefit from an active social media presence!
- Opt-In Email Campaigns: Once an individual has elected to engage with your business on social, expressed interest in your content, or visited your website, you need a way to keep them engaged and stay connected. One of the ways to accomplish this is by sending highly optimized email content to a very specific target audience.
- Blog Posting: Without quality content, you’re going to lose visitors as soon as you get them. A blog will help you gain new leads, convince potential customers that you’re a specialist in your field, and encourage returning customers. While posting blog content on your own website regularly is imperative, it’s also a good idea to publish in relevant industry forums and as a guest blogger on sites where your customer base may be active.
- Landing Pages, Webinars, White Papers: Offering highly focused and relevant landing pages, webinars, and white papers with a clear call to action (CTA) will provide users tremendous value and establish your business as an expert resource your potential customers know they can trust.
When done successfully, each of these inbound marketing tactics work with one another to deliver a cohesive message, build a brand, draw in new customers, and grow a business!
Why Inbound Marketing Is Effective For Businesses.
Inbound Marketing is all about creating and disseminating valuable content online. An effective and comprehensive inbound marketing campaign offers businesses:
- An affordable way of generating quality leads
- The ability to shape a brand and build brand awareness
- A better way to get noticed and found by potential customers
- A path for building a relationship and engaging with customers at their point of need
- An easy to scale, adaptable marketing solution that is easy to start and inexpensive to maintain
Leveraging Inbound Marketing: Making It Work For Your Business
Inbound marketing starts with developing quality content relevant to your business, but in order to be effective, it must be consistent, ongoing, and measurable. Committing to a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy is a full-time job.
EmoryDay is a full service digital marketing agency that offers businesses of all sizes the ability to build a comprehensive marketing strategy to grow their customer base, without having to hire a full-time marketing manager to do so. Click here to learn about leveraging inbound marketing to grow your business with help from the professionals at EmoryDay.