What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing term which involves the processes to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of generating leads or customers.
In terms of digital marketing, this means involving a combination of marketing channels – most commonly content marketing, SEO, and social media in imaginative ways to attract people’s attention. The aim of a successful inbound marketing campaign is to increase reach, and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.
Inbound marketing provider, HubSpot, coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ back in 2006. They define inbound marketing as the process of attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. Through using various types of content at different stages of the buying cycle, the ‘inbound methodology’ is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”
“Inbound Marketing is so powerful because you have the power to give the searcher/consumer exactly what answers they are looking for at the precise point that they need it. That builds trust, reputation, and authority in whatever niche you are practicing this form of marketing in.”
Joshua Gill, Inbound & SEO Marketing Consultant, Inbound Authority
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
The differences between inbound and outbound marketing is understood in the name itself. “Inbound” marketing aims at drawing potential customers in, while “out-bound” marketing involves outwardly pushing a business’s offerings. Inbound marketing is about earning attention, while outbound typically involves buying it.
In short, inbound marketing methods attracts customers to you and so you are not chasing them down. It helps prospects find your company in the early stages of their decision-making process, leading to a stronger influence on their future buying decisions.
Inbound Marketing: Owned And Earned Media
1) Owned media implies those channels that your business has control over. For example, your website, blog, brand social media profiles, and YouTube channel. You choose everything: what to publish, how to publish it, and when.
2) Earned media is the coverage you earn as a result your efforts. Offline, this includes traditional coverage in newspapers and magazines. Online, it’s things such as coverage on news sites often gained through digital PR, but also mentions on social media, use of a campaign hashtag, conversations in online forums, and online reviews. You have less control over earned media.
Driving leads through Inbound Marketing:
Search engine optimization is a key part of effective inbound marketing. Adopting effective keyword analysis, well-structured site design and other SEO “best practices” to launch your company to the top of search results will ensure that your content is being seen by the right audience and bring in the right leads organically. Having a quality website and content optimized for SEO ensures that Google’s web-crawling technology is able to identify and index your site’s content to have it appear for free to people searching. SEO is a critical part of your inbound strategy because if you can’t be found, then you’re not going to get business
Easily the most common form of inbound marketing, blogging can play a useful role in driving traffic and nurturing leads. Blogging is incomplete without SEO however. Read our article on why you need to start a blog for your business if you haven’t already. The key to content marketing is that your content needs to stand out. “Your content must be remarkable enough to break through the clutter. It’s not enough to just produce content,” says Entrepreneur’s Murray Newlands. “Your content must educate, inspire or entertain your audience.”
3) Social Media
There are over 67% of online adults who use social media to share information, so you can’t really afford to neglect widely popular online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Determining which platforms are most relevant to your buyer personas in a task in itself, but I can guarantee that several of your leads are spending a significant chunk of their time consuming content through their personal social channels. Spend time creating a social media promotion plan to distribute your content to the right people, analyzing your top performing content, and paying to promote and gain even more traffic to the content that’s resonating with your audience
You might be thinking, wait – PPC is a paid tactic and aren’t paid strategies against the inbound methodology? Wrong! Paid search is technically still part of the inbound marketing family since search ads appear when a user is actively searching for something, therefore PPC ads are not interrupting another activity. Not all aspects of PPC will quality as inbound (like display ads), but ads on the search network are certainly one of the strongest elements of a strong inbound strategy, because search queries show so much intent.
5) Landing pages
Your landing page is where your leads land after clicking on your call-to-action(another important element of your inbound marketing strategy). Whether it be a product page, a form fill-out to download a whitepaper, or a subscription service page, you need to ensure your landing page is top-notch unless you’d like to jeopardize potential conversions from coming in.
Now that you know the difference between the two types of marketing and know how to use them, you might see an increase in the leads you generate. You need to be equipped with the knowledge about when to use what and how to use it. If done right, and smartly, you will see an increase in your leads. Gain your customers’ trust and delight, and you will be rewarded. That’s what to take out of inbound marketing,