What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a method used to make your brand easily found to draw customers to you. It’s a content focused experience which uses a number of channels to support each part of the sales cycle. Almost every major company uses a form Inbound Marketing as its main source of contacting new and existing customers.
It’s the conversation within the marketing process. Marketing is interruptive, Inbound Marketing seeks to gain permission and engagement from clients and customers. There are several benefits to using Inbound Marketing over Outbound Marketing besides lower costs.
We will examine exactly what Inbound Marketing is and how it to works.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
By definition Inbound Marketing is exactly what it says;
Marketing Done From Within.
Traditional marketing communication methods called for TV adverts, billboard signs, radio adverts, flyers, yellow page inserts and newspaper advertisements to broadcast communications and promotional messaging. As these marketing channels grew, so did the cost associated with using them.
This priced businesses out so much that the majority of their budget was going to marketing just to maintain their market position. It’s fair to say that some business models aren’t viable without selling advertising space which has caused the ‘share-of-voice to become ever more competitive and overly expensive. Above all the customers doesn’t gain added-value by being advertised to.
Within traditional marketing market research is often used to better understand the competitive environment by using qualitative and quantitative research.
Often research of many forms support marketing decisions and yet many communications campaigns often miss the target. Often within direct marketing the expected response rate norms can be 1-3% and yet these messages can be multi-variable geo-targeted and demographically profiled. What of the other 97%?
But now, all of that has changed…
Although some companies still use Outbound Marketing, most modern and forward thinking companies have decided that Inbound Marketing is how to go. Inbound Marketing seeks to gain a higher-level of engagement by providing content been designed and developed to support the sales process. “41% of marketers say inbound marketing produced measurable ROI in 2013” (Hubspot Research)
Inbound Marketing Methods
Companies are now using Search / Social and Content Strategy as ways to draw clients to them. Several methods are used in Inbound Marketing to engage clients and customers
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Having a website that contains content relevant to your services or products. Creating a on-site and off-site search strategy to target and find the most relevant traffic and improving position in the search engine results pages. When we consider the objectives of our SEO strategies leads generated via SEO are of a higher quality, as the person has found you via organic channels and they have used the content you have provided to assist them to complete the enquiry. Search Engine Optimisation has gone beyond keyword rankings and has now become about content marketing
By understanding the marketing funnel Inbound Marketing seeks to build relationships with potential customers by focusing marketing activities on touch points within the marketing funnel. Inbound Marketing seeks to measure and analyse the funnel to support the buying process. Other forms of lead nurturing can involve conversation rate optimisation, where we seek to improve the quality of data gained as an output of our activities.
Blogging enables companies to communicate content which is more contemporary compared to content that sold a product service or company. Having a up to date blog isn’t a content strategy within itself, but it can provide insight into current thinking which can support the inbound cycle.
Blogging strategies are created as part of the Inbound Marketing programme to support current tactical inbound activities. By using opt-in updates via RSS or email subscriptions can help to feed the permission based Inbound Marketing model, also providing evidence that the channel is working well though engagement, sharing and organic links to blog posts.
Email has become a cost-effective form of direct marketing, used appropriately it can transforms engagement. Inbound Marketing seeks to improve communications to build opt-in email lists and create content that is both relevant and interesting to the customer / client receiving the email. Email can still provide us with the ability to use traditional models such as segmentation and split-testing. The analytics we’re able to access provides us with valuable insight as we continuously improve our communications.
Conversation Rate Optimisation
By undertaking Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) we can better understand the sales cycle and test our content and designs to learn where the most optimal areas are to improve lead quality and scoring as a direct out-put of our inbound marketing campaigns. Through ongoing analysis and testing we can better understand attribution modelling which can help to reduce our CPL) (cost-per-lead) or CPA (cost-per-action).
Potential customers can ‘like’ your products and share information about them via social media. Friends in their friend’s lists can see these likes and shares and also like or share them. Also, posting sharable information on your social media page also helps improve your company’s visibility across the social spectrum.
Correlation research shows no significant impact on search results, although we’re moving towards social proof as a trust signal. Which is separate to the Link-graph.
These are just some of the tactics that can be used, Inbound Marketing is growing because it’s creating growth for business.
As for how much money is saved using Inbound Marketing over Outbound Marketing, the latest statistics suggest 62% less is spent on Inbound Marketing over Traditional Marketing.