What is Inbound Marketing?

What is Inbound Marketing?

04.07.2016

 

Inbound marketing is a product of the digital age. As our communication technologies have grown, traditional marketing practices and channels become less relevant to a growing audience.

The challenges spring from the difference in mediums. These can be tough for marketers to navigate at first. But the opportunities include low-cost, high-impact marketing opportunities with lasting effects. And one of the prime examples comes in the form of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing takes advantage of customers newfound affinity for online research by providing valuable, actionable information on topics relevant to the brand, and making them easy to find with a few quick online searches. This grows the brand image in the eyes of the searcher, as they come to see the brand as a source of relevant information. As their exposure grows, customers become more interested in the solutions the brand provides.

With the opportunities to both grow the brand image and attract more paying customers, it is no wonder that people have taken to the internet to attract their dream clients. Inbound marketing lets marketers draw the target audience in rather than having to fight for their attention. This all relies on creating valuable content that appeals to the type of client you want to attract, sharing  this information freely, and using the connection it generates to maintain a dialogue.

The ideal application of inbound marketing would see potential customers become loyal brand ambassadors for your company, promoting it to more potential customers. This is why it is very important to produce content that is easily shared. So if one person likes what you have to say, they will then share it with people they feel might find it useful.

Consumers can look up and compare products more easily than ever. Comparison sites, online reviews, and trials make it easier than ever for people to form an opinion of a product, service or brand. And there is a lot of competition in this space. So companies need to find more targeted ways to attract clients, draw them in, and give them every possible reason to take action. An advertisement on television just isn’t enough. Instead, you see most of them contain links to a well-designed website, or contains references to active social media efforts. The background buzz matters, because it keeps the potential customer in contact for longer.

For inbound marketing, you have a wide variety of tools at your disposal to attract positive attention. These include corporate blogs, guest blog posts, industry podcasts, explainer videos, e-books, white papers, subscription newsletters, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). Usually, a combination of these elements is put to use to achieve the best outcome. The mix used depends on your market, your needs, your ideal customer and your budget. Companies that successfully employ inbound marketing aim to keep the content on all their outlets consistent and the result is a streamlined marketing campaign.

One of the main benefits of inbound marketing stems from the interactive nature of the tools involved. You can actually have a conversation directly with the audience and benefit from feedback. On the flip side of this, customers like feeling that they can reach out and get assistance quickly. These channels of communication can make them feel valued by the company. The added customer service element of this makes for great customer loyalty.

So who can benefit from making inbound marketing a major part of their overall marketing strategy? The answer would be any organisation looking to grow their customer base. Inbound marketing is popular with audiences because it does not “beg, buy or bug” them for their attention. Instead, people get actionable content that is helpful to them. They feel like they are making informed decisions rather than being bombarded with ads. This is why it works well for businesses of all sizes, especially smaller ones as it is a more friendly, less costly method of marketing than traditional, less effective methods.