What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing encompasses a set of non-intrusive techniques. It captures the attention of customers while providing them with value in the process.
What is Inbound Marketing and how does it differ from Outbound?
Inbound Marketing is an alternative to Outbound Marketing, which is an intrusive technique where by the potential customer is constantly bombarded with content without having given their consent.
Some examples of outbound marketing techniques we all grew up exposed to include billboards, television and radio ads, newspaper publications, etc. The principle in Outbound is to go and find the clients so that the brand establishes the first contact.
Now on the other hand, Inbound Marketing focuses on carrying out friendly actions by strategically placing information of the potential client’s interest to capture their attention. This draws in the client who will inevitably request more information. It’s no longer the brand that makes the first contact, but instead, it’s the potential customer!
Inbound Marketing can not only respond to the questions people ask, but it also allows for an anticipated question to be answered. This is key because answers are placed on the web before the questions themselves are asked therefore your brand is already responding when the potential customer searches for answers.
The Popularity of Inbound
The profile of the potential customer has changed, especially so in the Kitchener, Waterloo region. In the past, people were typically passive and didn’t think much about advertising when purchasing. But now, individuals are more demanding and require accurate information immediately.
But on the web, there is an overabundance of information casuing the attention of people to increasingly disperse. IBM estimates that about 2.5 quintillions of information bytes are created every day. In laymans terms, this means that 90% of the information in the world that exists today, was created in the last two years.
Add to this the mightiness of social networks, which constantly encourages people to express their opinions and share everything and anything from an array of digital devices.
“Inbound Marketing” is so dynamic in that you have the power to provide the consumer with accurate information to answer exact problems that they are encountering at the precise moment they need it. Inbound builds trust, reputation, and authority in any niche you are marketing.
This is the reason why Outbound techniques are becoming less effective. Gone are the days where marketers “rent” the attention that others have built through traditional media, therefore interrupting users.
Application of Inbound Marketing
In Inbound Marketing, there is no one tactic or perfect formula that can achieve everything by itself. It is a set of mechanisms that build a friendly digital ecosystem to the potential client. Which combination of techniques and to what extent you should utilize them will depend on the characteristics of the business, and products/services offered. Some of the most successful Inbound Marketing campaigns include the following elements:
The optimization of search engines is an integral element. Efficient use of keywords, a well-designed website, careful selection of slugs and other good practices can launch a website to the top of search results. WIth this, content that is being generated is being seen and read by the right audience and will end up becoming effective leads.
This is the most common technique of Inbound Marketing. Creating and constantly feeding a blog can be a powerful tool to attract traffic, establish leadership, and get potential customers in contact with your brand.
Networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be directly oriented to your market niche so social networks are ideal places to make the potential customer notice the content and expertise of your brand.
This is the next step in Inbound Marketing. It entails taking any opportunity to share valuable content – Live. This includes live events such as online seminars, tradeshows, lectures. It can also include books and digital newsletters, templates, guides, etc. (More on: Improving Tradeshow Performance With Inbound Marketing.)
Networking is a technique for acquiring contacts and creating a network of professional contacts with those who have interests common to yours. Networking with the like minded allows us to create synergies and work towards business opportunities for the short, medium or long term. Read our blog: “Digital Marketing Does Not Replace Networking.”
Video Marketing is a marketing technique in which audiovisual material is used to promote a brand, service or product. Although video marketing is not an exclusive strategy of online marketing, it has grown significantly thanks to the Internet and social networks such as YouTube. (Check out our infographic on “2018 State of Social Video: Consumer and Marketer Trends Report“). Also see these: “10 Epic Viral Inbound Marketing Videos from 2018.”
Programmatic media buying, marketing, and advertising is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. During this process, software is used to automate the buying, placement, and optimization of media inventory via a bidding system. (More on Programmatic Advertising)
Podcasting is a method of distributing multimedia files (such as audio programs or music videos) over the Internet, using either the RSS or Atom syndication format, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. “Podcast” can refer to both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. While podcasters’ websites may also offer direct download or streaming of files, a unique feature of podcasts is that they can be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading RSS or Atom feeds. The term podcasting comes from “iPod” and “broadcasting”. Check Out our Inbound Marketing Podcats!
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing, when applied effectively, can offer a wide variety of benefits such as:
- Increase the number of visitors to the company’s website
- Providing valuable information, drawing potential customers who leave their data and therefore get converted into leads
- The potential client is assisted in the earliest stages of the decision-making process
- Stronger influence on future purchasing decisions
- People are motivated to share information and links on social networks
- The buyer feels ownership of his/her decisions
- Helps to strengthen efforts for search engine optimization (SEO)
- It allows the buyer to get in touch with the brand at the moment they need it, regardless of time or place
- The efforts dedicated to Inbound Marketing multiply themselves over time.
Also, well-constructed content will have the immediate effect of attracting attention to your company and will continue to be a resource that customers can consult at any time in the future. (Check out this blog post on “4 Tips for Creating Extraordinary Content with Inbound Marketing“)
And while the content is gaining exposure, it will become a continuous source of traffic to your website through SEO, shared social networks, and with traditional “word of mouth”.