What is Inbound Marketing, and How Can My Business Benefit From It?

29 May 2013 - 0:05, by , in Inbound Marketing, No comments

What if you could decrease your marketing costs and increase the amount of prospects that you had? Sounds like every business owners’ and marketers’ dream, right? Well this dream is becoming a reality as inbound marketing takes more of a presence in the marketing mix. Many businesses that have dedicated time and resources to inbound marketing are seeing lower costs and higher amounts of qualified leads. So if you haven’t heard of inbound marketing yet, you’re probably asking “What is Inbound Marketing and how can my business benefit from it?”

What is Inbound Marketing? … in 10 seconds

Inbound Marketing, at the highest level, employs a number of online marketing techniques that aim to attract a business’ target audience to their website using original, valuable blog content and convert them into a paying customer (…then hopefully, a brand evangelist!)

Why is Inbound Marketing So Important?

Inbound Marketing is changing the way a business can market their product or service online. Outbound Marketing, or “push” marketing can only take a brand so far in this new world of online marketing. Push marketing relies on tactics that “interrupt” the consumer and aim to “push” them down the sales cycle to become a customer.

Examples of Outbound Marketing Include:

  • Commercials
  • Paid Advertising Online (i.e. on websites, Google, Bing, etc.)
  • Radio Ads
  • Direct Mail
  • Telemarketing

These push marketing techniques tend to be outdated and stale. Don’t get me wrong, I think traditional marketing tactics still have their place for certain businesses, within certain marketing campaigns, and for overall brand recognition and awareness. However, THE most important way to build trust with your audience and nurture the relationship from random visitor of your website into paying customer, in my opinion, is with an Inbound Marketing campaign. Besides, how can you beat a tactic that will cost you less money, and make your customers seek YOU out?

What are the Inbound Marketing Tactics:

Inbound Marketing is considered a “pull” marketing strategy. Customers spend hours online searching for answers to their questions before they make the majority of their purchase decisions. Inbound aims to help businesses capitalize on that knowledge, and be the brand that the customer finds during their search.

There is no one solution that works for every business when it comes to Inbound Marketing. Goal setting, effective strategy planning and the actual implementation are essential to making your Inbound Marketing campaign successful. Whether you go with an in-house marketing manager, bring on a consultant to help with planning, or contract out the entire project to an Inbound Marketing firm, the marketer in charge of the project must decide which Inbound Marketing tactics to deploy and when, how to implement them, and be absolutely meticulous when analyzing the results.

An Inbound Marketer must realize there is a lifecycle that each customer goes through to be converted from a prospect- to a lead- to a customer, and rarely are they the same for every business. Different marketing tactics should be deployed during different phases of the lead’s lifecycle to obtain a desired outcome. The following are some of the most important techniques that should be used in your Inbound Marketing Campaign.

 The Inbound Marketing Toolbox:

  • Search Engine Optimization: Use keywords – the right keywords – on your website, on your blog, everywhere, in order to get found in search by your target audience
  • Content Marketing: Create content on your blog that people will love – write content that will attract high quality traffic to your website; posts your customers will care about and share with their friends
  • Social Media: Market your content on Social, then build a relationship with your customers – engage with them.
  • Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation: Stay in touch with your audience – use email and workflows to keep them updated on your brand and on ways they can interact
  • Calls-to-Action: Turn an interested website visitor into a lead – tell them where you want them to go
  • Landing Pages & Special Offers: Use relevant, premium content to capture the attention of your lead – keep them coming back for more and convert them into a customer
  • Customer Insights: Gain insights into what your customer is looking for – carefully manage your relationship with leads and personalize their experience with your brand

** Side note: An all inclusive Inbound Marketing platform is a MUST to deploy a successful Inbound Marketing Campaign – check out Hubspot for more information.

So, Inbound sounds simple enough, right? Well the good news is that it really is a cost-effective, efficient way to spend your marketing dollars, and expect a fantastic ROI. With the a great strategy, valuable content, customer insight and relevant offers, any business can become successful at generating the right leads to increase sales for their company – IF the campaign has the right strategy from the start and the right team to implement and analyze it.

Last Thoughts:

The single most important thing to remember when creating your Inbound Marketing campaign is your customer. If you create content that will provide value and interest them, is easily found, and aids them in making their purchase decisions, your customers will thank you – not ignore you.

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