Inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional, direct marketing. It doesn’t involve pushing your products and services on potential customers but rather creating good, high-quality, and trustworthy content that attracts those potential customers to you and your business.
HubSpot coined the term ‘inbound marketing’ back in 2006 and it has continued to grow and grow since then. In fact, 68% of inbound marketers say that their marketing strategy really works (which is pretty good!). The beauty of Inbound Marketing is that you are not fighting for your potential customers attention but rather being there for them when they need your services and tools which works because its how the world works now.
Why does it work so well?
Inbound marketing works so well because it appeals to the modern consumers. Nowadays people are tech-savvy and know how to find the content they want. The modern consumer is annoyed and fed up of constant promotional content on social media, email, and search engines. We want to make our own choices and don’t want to be sold to or marketed to. We know how to find out the information we need. So, inbound marketing is about making sure that information is available for the consumer to find when they want to.
Looking for somebody to help you with your inbound marketing for example? You’d get yourself on Google, search for ‘content marketing’ and probably stumble across a blog like this one. Then you can make up your own mind about the businesses and services in front of you. If, on the other hand, somebody called you whilst you’re in the middle of your lunch break and wanted to talk to you about their inbound marketing services, this is likely to be annoying and inconvenient. So, you might ignore them completely. But if that same person was to write a useful, insightful bit of content, or video on it, you can decide in your own time whether this is what you’re looking for or not.
Makes sense doesn’t it? Part of this success is due to the proliferation of media and its history of deceptiveness. People now listen to the things they find themselves rather than the things that are put in front of them because they are deemed to be less trustworthy and authentic.
The Inbound Marketing process
The process of inbound marketing is seemingly straight forward, but don’t be fooled. A good inbound marketing strategy is more complex than it seems. The basic process is as follows:
- You attract customers through high-quality content
- You then engage with them via your channel of choice, such as email or chat
- You then delight said customers by offering advice, guidance etc.
Essentially therefore, it is the process of gaining traffic to your website, converting this traffic into leads, and ultimately converting the leads. All by gaining the trust of the consumer along the way. But, creating good quality content and being visible to the consumer when you need to be isn’t as simple as the process of inbound marketing sounds. You need to consistently create high quality content that provides value to your customers and work on a strategy to promote this content so that it appears to the right people at the right time.
According to HubSpot there are various tools that can be used at each stage (attract, engage, delight) to help with your inbound marketing strategy.
When a business is trying to attract potential customers they might use the following tools:
- Social media
- Content strategy
In the engage stage, a business might use these tools:
- Lead flows
- Email marketing
- Lead management
- Conversational bots
- Marketing automation
In the final, delight, stage the following might be used:
- Smart content
- Email marketing
- Conversations inbox
- Attribution reporting
- Marketing automation
The benefits of Inbound Marketing
If the concept of inbound marketing makes sense to you, which hopefully it should, then you’ll already understand some of the benefits of inbound marketing.
- It brings the customer to you. Which means you don’t have to go out and find new customers yourself. What’s better?
- It creates trust between you and the consumer. Trust is a crucial part of consumer relationships and inbound marketing is a proven method of building on this.
- You can reach the right audience. Having the content available to people that are looking for your services means that you will often be reaching the exact right person and the exact right time.
- It protects you from over-reliance on one channel. You won’t be relying on your sales team, or your PPC campaigns, or your social media to drive new leads but rather a combination of various channels and your own media.
A long-term solution
Inbound marketing should not be seen as a quick fix but rather a long term solution and strategy. Much like SEO, results cannot be expected overnight but the rewards should certainly pay off in the long run.
Think about what you can offer to your consumers that will attract them to your business and services. Perhaps you can offer advice on your services through a YouTube series or maybe you want to start a blog on your website. There is no one size fits all but you need to start by thinking about your consumers. If you’re interested to find out more about how inbound marketing might help your business, get in touch with us today.