Traditional marketing involves many different ideas and techniques such as sending out emails to long lists of people, attending trade shows, cold calling, and so on. All these traditional methods have one thing in common; they’re a form of outbound marketing. This is any marketing technique that involves you trying to shout out about your company/message. In years gone by, this was highly effective.
However, the marketing world is rapidly changing with increasing digitalization. And with this, there are new and more effective forms of marketing that are emerging. One of these new entrants which is rapidly gaining popularity among marketers in inbound marketing.
So, what is inbound marketing? And why is it gaining so much popularity? How is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?
The idea of inbound marketing revolves around the concept of getting found by your potential customers and drawing them towards your business instead of constantly pushing ads towards a huge crowd and not being sure about the effectiveness about your ad.
To understand this shift towards inbound marketing, we need to look at some of the major drawbacks of outbound marketing in the modern world.
Disadvantages Of Outbound Marketing
One of the biggest drawbacks of outbound marketing today is that consumers find it much easier to block your attempts. In the past, you could spam email lists with promotional emails and have a fairly high success rate. Now, people have spam filters that prevent them from even seeing some marketing emails. Likewise, all telephones have caller ID which makes cold calling ineffective. Consumers are sick and tired of being bombarded with marketing material and have adapted to filter it all out.
Secondly, the internet came along and changed the way consumers participate. Nowadays, all it takes is a quick look online to find all the information you need on a product. You can watch product demonstration videos and view all the specs without leaving your room. So, fewer people are heading out to business events to gain this info.
Benefits Of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing can help you overcome the drawbacks associated with outbound marketing. How can you get your message out there if people are filtering it and blocking you out? It’s simple, you focus on drawing them in. If consumers are looking for information, you should ensure your business is where they end up.
To do this, you need to create a website and use it as a portal for people to come to and find all the info they need. You should work on making your website more visible in search engines by optimizing it and getting it up the search rankings. Use social media and blogs to reel consumers in and allow them to find your business on their terms.
It’s crucial that marketers and businesses learn to adapt to consumer demands. These days, people hate being bombarded with marketing material. It is too forceful and they are tired of it and ignore it. Instead, they like being the ones in control; they like searching for information and finding companies themselves. What you have to do is become a magnet that attracts the right people to your business. Compared to outbound marketing, Inbound marketing leads to a higher conversion rate as the people that find your business are going to be interested in it, or they wouldn’t be searching for relatable keywords! So, not only do you generate more leads, but you convert more of them into customers.
Inbound marketing employs a 4-step methodology to convert strangers into customers and your brand promoters. Let us understand these stages in depth.
The first stage of acquiring customers to any organization is to attract them. Hence, attracting people becomes the first stage in inbound marketing. Attracting people to your web properties does not mean attracting random strangers. It means attracting the right visitors who can become potential leads and ultimately customers.
The attraction stage involves creating buyer personas of your ideal customers to understand their goals, challenges and pain points so that you can build your offerings to address them. You can also make use of appropriate content, tools, and techniques to help you attract these buyer personas to your website. Some of the common forms of content you can use in this stage are blogs and simple guides and some of the common ways to attract people is to optimize your website and make use of social media platforms to promote your content organically.
Once the right audience has come to your website, it is important that you convert them into leads by collecting their information. However, in order to obtain their details, you need to offer something valuable in return, which is usually in the form of content. In this stage, you can come up with content offerings such as eBooks and whitepapers. You also need to ensure that your call-to-actions (CTAs), landing pages and forms are made attractive and appropriate in a way that your website visitors are willing to give you their information.
Once you have the right visitors coming to your website and you are getting the right leads, the next logical step is to convert these leads to customers at the right time. To do this, you need to use the right approach. Remember that all leads are not in a position to be closed. That is why you need to nurture them. Emails and social media play an important role in helping your prospects close better. You can offer content such as vendor or product comparison, case studies, and product literature or offer trial downloads and live demos.
Besides this, you also need to make use of tools, techniques, and processes such as lead scoring, workflows marketing automation, monitoring, and closed-loop reporting to accomplish closures more effectively. One of the best approaches to close leads faster and better is to align your marketing and sales teams so that they are on the same page and achieve better results.
Inbound marketing methodology does not stop at helping you obtain customers. It goes one step ahead to help you get satisfied customers who can become your brand promoters and help your business grow. You can accomplish this through tools such as surveys, emails, smart content and social monitoring.
The remarkable thing about following the inbound methodology as opposed to outbound marketing is that you are able to obtain results almost entirely organically and without having to invade any of your prospects’ privacy as results are achieved through content, channels, and tactics that attract your potential customers rather than pushing them away.
Originally published , updated April 05 2018