Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage with strategies that utilizes many forms of pull marketing – content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.
Today, technology has changed how people obtain information and consequently, marketing has undergone a massive transformation. Outbound marketing tactics, like television and radio advertising, are not as effective as they once were. Now comes the age of inbound marketing, driven by the Internet and social media.
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.
The inbound marketing methodology continues to help businesses adapt to fast-changing needs – not just with marketing, but with the entire customer experience. Inbound marketing is very hands-off and indirect: there’s never a noticeable sales pitch. Inbound marketing nudges customers down the sales funnel by increasing their engagement with the brand.
Inbound marketing is far and away the more fashionable marketing choice right now. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017, 71% of companies globally reported that they’re primarily focused on inbound. Certainly inbound provides a better ROI: inbound marketing efforts are 62% less expensive than outbound.
To replace outdated “renting attention” marketing tactics, companies are deploying new methods geared at building awareness, developing relationships and generating leads. In short, inbound marketing attracts customers to you so you are not chasing them down. It helps prospects find your company in the early stages of their decision-making process, leading to a stronger influence on their future buying decisions.
Signs that Inbound Marketing might work well for your business:
- You use your website to sell, or you want to
- Your target audience uses the internet to conduct research or learn about topics you have some expertise on
- You are looking for new ways to reach your target buyers
- You have time — and maybe a little bit of budget — to invest in creating quality content that educates or entertains your audience
- You understand your target buyer well enough to create personalized, relevant content that will provide a great customer experience and portray your brand as a thought leader
Inbound marketing is all about strategy, so start by looking at your overall marketing strategy: are you using advanced tools and software like marketing automation and data analytics? How closely aligned are your marketing and sales teams? Is your marketing multichannel? All of these things play a role in how well you can integrate an inbound marketing strategy into your overall marketing efforts.
Inbound marketing is about building customer relationships, so talking to your sales team about what helps them connect with your buyers on an individual level will give you good insight into what you can do at scale to build a strong relationship with your customers, and create a streamlined buying cycle with your sales team.
Ultimately, the best marketing strategy for your business will be the one that works. Always try new things while you continue to do the old things that are working. Analyze your data frequently, and be on top of any changes you see. Remember, audiences change, too. What worked last year might not work this year. People get tired of seeing the same thing, and marketers can run certain methods into the ground, robbing them of their usefulness. Your mix of inbound and outbound marketing will almost certainly change with time and as technology adds new features and ways of connecting with people. That said, the most important strategy will always be: experiment, measure, repeat.