What Is Inbound Marketing and Why Is It Important?
I’ve got to the point where I screen out adverts on the television, web and radio. I regard most of it as a distraction, if not an irritation. I’m not alone in this approach. Advertising is part of what is increasingly viewed as interruptive marketing – or as our friends at HubSpot call it, outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing attempts to ‘buy’ our attention to generate leads. It comes in the form of unsolicited emails and texts, volumes of print leaflets, billboards, spam, outsourced telemarketing or trade shows.
However, the rules of marketing are changing fast. The more innovative and interesting way to go about bringing in leads - especially for small businesses - is through what is now popularly called 'inbound marketing'.
Inbound marketing is a term coined by the founder of HubSpot. The concept stipulates that you can naturally attract customers and prospects through providing interesting and quality content on a website. If the content educates, informs and engages directly with your target buyer persona, it serves to build awareness and increases interest generating leads. Once a visitor becomes a lead, based upon on a scoring system, you can pass them into a sales funnel. Once they convert and buy repeatedly you can analyse the process to produce more desirable content and showcase your expertise.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing features tactical content formats developed in context, such as ebooks, white papers, WebCasts, blog posts, press releases, video tutorials, how-to guides, SEO and social media marketing. As an example, have a look at our business strategy white papers, interactive ebooks, or enjoy one of our How To Videos, which will show you how to experience Maximizer Software for yourself.
There are several reasons why inbound marketing is important:
- The playing field is now flat – With most people now looking for products and services on the internet, businesses and marketers of all backgrounds realise that they must act like publishers to get buyers' interest. Big and small brands fight for the same share of buyer attention. There is now everything to play for to grow your brand. Dream big!
- It’s affordable – Buyers are rejecting promotional messages. Inbound marketing demands an understanding of what your customers want, what their challenges are and how what you provide is of value. Knowing their psychology means your time is efficiently invested in developing a content strategy combined with production of remarkable content. You can produce as much or as little per week or per month as is required to fit your marketing budget. Marketers already say the tactic offers below average cost per lead than traditional outbound strategies
- It’s organic and natural - Take this scenario: someone searches online for a specific service at 5.30pm on a Saturday; your listing appears in the results; your rich content provides them with fundamental value and inside knowledge that will improve their understanding and prompts them to contact you - and becomes a profitable lead. Inbound marketing is natural, targeted and truly resonates with a primed audience
- It gets you more leads – The more high value and contextual content you add to your website, the more leads you can achieve. You can easily turn one idea into several inbound marketing formats, which you can support with graphic call-to-action landing page buttons to prompt leads
- It fuels your CRM and marketing automation – People will buy when they are ready to buy. Inbound marketing generates leads, although these leads can still evaluate your services options. As part of your CRM process, marketing automation will help to pre-qualify and score the leads, as well as telling sales what and how much content a lead has consumed. It delivers relevant information over time to these leads to ensure that they stay interested and engaged until they convert into a sale. It also shortens the sales cycle
- You can set your goals, objectives and measure – Strong focus on results and a need to report to the boss with clear and unequivocal data? You can set goals in your website analytics to understand whether your smart objectives are being met. You can set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals. This transparency means you stay focused. You can track the results from each piece of inbound marketing and tie them back to customers, wins and leads for an understanding of overall ROI; and where necessary, create additional compelling content.
When you produce quality and contextual content through the inbound marketing method, you can present your business as being credible on a topic or a service.
Inbound marketing helps the customer to make the right decision and in doing so, you as a business grow.