09 Apr What is Inbound Marketing, really?
Marketing has Changed
Consumers (and purchasing managers) of 20 years ago were targeted with television ads, billboards and direct mail offers. Those don’t work nearly as well as they did then, so rather than try to interrupt prospects, smart businesses now use techniques that attract attention.
Outbound Marketing (old) vs. Inbound Marketing (new)
The following chart shows several traditional marketing tactics, each of which has been minimized by technological and cultural shifts. Where there were TV commercials, now there is DVR. Where there was telemarketing, there is now no-call lists. And in another five years? You get the idea.
Inbound Marketing is More Effective
In response to these attention filters, marketers developed ways to drive interest. Prospects from these new tactics created sales at higher efficiencies than the struggling traditional methods. This is true for two primary reasons:
- Inbound Marketing targets only interested prospects. For instance, a billboard message is wasted for almost all those who pass it, but pay-per-click ads costs money only when a lead actually clicks it.
- Inbound Marketing’s ROI tends to increase over time, because of residual benefits. If a TV commercial stops running, it’s stops producing leads, but a blog post (or online customer review) doesn’t just disappear.
The Components of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a set of many tactics. One or two working alone won’t do nearly as well as all of them working in tandem. And they work best when produced and managed at a slow but STEADY pace.
Inbound Marketing Process
None of the below techniques are difficult to understand individually. What is difficult, and what takes time to understand well enough to get inbound marketing right, is how they all relate to each other, and how to adjust tactics based on what the analytics say is working and what isn’t.
Blogs are really important to Inbound Marketing
Blogs are really important to Inbound Marketing. And if you think your business is boring, thing again. There IS a group of people out there who are greatly interested in what you sell. If you put out informative, honest content on a consistent basis, that group will FIND YOU (instead of you finding them). This is the essence of inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Step 1: Get Found
- Create rich, genuine content regularly
- Develop inbound link relationships
- For real, you need to be blogging
- Maintain Social Media consistency
- Determine the most effective keywords (high search volume, low competition), use SEO
Inbound Marketing Step 2: Engage/Convert
- Your website is NOT an online brochure: it’s an interactive tool to engage your market
- Give away information (don’t be afraid to get detailed)
- Use good landing pages, customized to audience
- Use good calls-to-action and place them in good places
- Use low-impact contact forms (advance sales process)
- Automate communications with your sales process
- Maintain list of prospects (using contact forms)
- Create well-thought email and/or PPC campaigns
Inbound Marketing Step 3: Analyze
- Learn what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what works.