What is inbound marketing and how does it work?
When it comes to ways for getting out the word about your company and the business you do, there are a number of tactics. Much more than a buzzword or passing fad, inbound marketing is an effective strategy that organically attracts leads and buyers and sends them your way.
Before inbound marketing there was outbound marketing
To best understand inbound marketing, it’s helpful to go back to a time of outbound marketing. Before the Internet, marketing was really all about outbound marketing. In order to spread the word, you’d use traditional methods like billboards, advertisements and even cold calls. Like using a bullhorn: just shout out your message to anyone who listens.
Outbound marketing is an ongoing competition to attract attention. Those techniques are expensive and the return on investment can be questionable because outbound marketing is not only impersonal and does not provide methods for directly targeting certain market segments, but it doesn’t allow for analyzing performance. You just never know who hears the message via bullhorn or whether they take action.
Understanding inbound marketing
Inbound marketing has risen over the last 20 years thanks in part to the Internet. Inbound marketing relies heavily on all the ways the Internet connects people via different technologies and platforms. According to HubSpot research, 68 percent of inbound marketers say their marketing strategy is effective while a majority of outbound marketers (52 percent) believe their strategy is ineffective.
This is because there is no need to compete for attention when you practice inbound marketing. Instead, you provide solutions for specific customers or potential clients. By doing this, you organically attract leads and buyers.
Unlike outbound marketing that requires blasting out messages to an all-inclusive audience with the hope that they pay attention, inbound marketing allows you to tailor content to your target. When you create high-quality content or experiences your customers actually want, they will come to you because they will know they can find it.
How inbound marketing works
There is a methodology for inbound marketing and it follows four basic steps through the sales funnel:
Attract: Here you do not focus on a sale or your end result. You want to make contact. Long before people are interested in buying, they check out your company, business and brand. They come to you and want to know if you have what they are looking for. Thus, you provide for this target audience with content that showcases your expertise via blogs, videos and social media. Keywords and SEO strategy help visitors find you.
Convert: Having a website today is vital, but to make the website work for you, it needs to have optimized landing pages, forms, and compelling calls-to-action. With these in place, it’s possible to convert visitors into qualified leads. Gathering contact information from people who want to hear from you is extremely valuable to inbound marketing success.
Close: Inbound marketing is about building relationships. Once you have information from contacts, close the gap to turn leads into new business and loyal customers.
Delight: Keeping a current customer is much easier than trying to constantly snag new customers. During this step, cater to existing customers because they will ultimately help you with referrals. Happy customers share information. Continue to provide great content to these contacts and they will spread the word about your expertise.
At Talent Evolution, we know how important it is to reach your audience. Just give us a call so we can assist with your strategy, content and efforts to make an impact using inbound marketing.