The method focuses on attracting quality users to your site with relevant, engaging content and building a rapport that keeps them coming back.
It’s important to note that outbound marketing usually sees an immediate return. In contrast, inbound marketing requires more time and effort. There is less of a financial obligation as you’re only using internal resources and you’re not paying for advertising, but results don’t happen overnight so expect a long-term investment of your time before you start to reap the rewards.
Inbound vs outbound marketing
As in the name, inbound marketing focuses on drawing traffic to your website, while outbound marketing is about pushing your business’ offering out to potential audiences. Inbound marketing typically involves owned and earned media types. While outbound marketing is more commonly associated with paid media.
Owned media (inbound)
Owned media is immediately accessible as it’s owned and controlled by your business; the only expenditure here is time. Examples include social media, your website, blog and YouTube channels.
Earned media (inbound)
Earned media is precisely that – secured as a result of hard work and by showing others in your industry that you’re worthy of a mention. Examples include PR, social mentions, backlinks and reviews.
Paid media (outbound)
Paid media relies on budgeted spend and the ability to create content and graphics to support your campaigns. Examples include Pay-Per-Click (PPC), paid social advertising, billboards or display advertising.
Types of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is all about creating quality content that resonates with your target demographic. Before you get started, make sure you have a good understanding of who your customer is and who you want them to be. Find out more about the importance of content marketing.
- Social Media
- Live events and webinars
- Customer surveys
- Customer reviews
- White papers
- Case studies
- Email marketing
- Lead magnets
Benefits of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a preferred strategy by many of today’s marketers because it allows them to focus on what’s important: the needs of the customer. We explore some of the company benefits below too.
Once created, you can publish your content in multiple places, from blogs and social channels to eBooks and email marketing campaigns. It means that all that hard work and research will pay off as it can also be used by your sales and marketing teams again and again to attract more visitors.
Producing relevant and engaging content that’s suitable for your audience will establish trust and credibility. They’ll keep you top of mind for when they’re looking for answers to a question or when they’re looking to a buy the product or service that you happen to offer.
Less reliance on one channel
Inbound marketing allows you to use the same content across several channels, meaning you’ll be able to generate quality traffic from different sources – reducing the risk of relying on anyone channel.
If you have a small budget or your business is just getting started, inbound marketing can be quite an attractive option. There’s a relatively small investment – mostly time, and this could be yours or that of a dedicated marketing specialist.
Educate your customers
Becoming an industry leader takes time but is worth the effort. Teaching your customers about your area of expertise in an unbiased way is the first step. The more relevant content you create, the more your company will be perceived as a source of information which will keep users coming back again and again.
Generate higher quality leads
Inbound marketing helps brands and businesses form quality relationships with their prospects. The content produced keeps users returning to your website by giving them insight and information, quality calls-to-action and offers that are personalised and relevant to them. As a result, when someone does take that all-important first step in contacting you, they will have already educated themselves with information about your products or services. This also means they will be much further down the sales funnel than someone responding cold to a paid advert.
Now that you understand what inbound marketing is and the benefits it can bring to your company, what’s next? We recommend the following to help you get started:
- Read They Ask You Answer. It’s a great book about the power of inbound marketing, and Marcus Sheridan talks about his business success along with many other businesses he’s helped with this strategy.
- Start a blog. Get your sales and client-facing teams together to produce a content bank of ideas (commonly asked sales questions are an excellent place to start) and then write a blog about each of them in detail.
- Create case studies. If you haven’t already got an ‘examples’ or ‘case studies’ section on your website, then be sure to create one with links to case studies about your most significant and most successful clients. Be sure to include images, statistics, facts and testimonials.
- Get social. Post regularly to your social channels with links back to your blogs and case studies to generate interest. Be sure to keep this fun and light-hearted.
- Appoint a marketing person. If you haven’t already got someone heading up your marketing team, then this is an excellent place to start. They can support the above marketing activities along with email marketing, video production, and attending or organising events.
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