By now you may have heard a little something about Inbound Marketing. But, really, what is so great about Inbound and why think about switching or balancing your outbound tactics with inbound?
In order to understand its importance in the entire scheme of marketing, you need to know what truly sets inbound apart from traditional outbound marketing.
An inbound approach is a less intrusive, more helpful way of marketing that provides useful information through content creation and personalized delivery to current and prospective buyers that are already interested in what you provide. It is a way to connect with your audience and develop lifelong evangelists to your brand without disruptive ads or a large price tag. Our helpful graphic contrasts the difference between an inbound approach and the traditional outbound approach. How would you best like to be "marketed to"?
Top 5 Reasons Inbound Marketing Is Important
1. Customers Have All The Power
The age of the salesperson having complete control of the buyer journey isn’t the case today because of all of the information a Google search bar provides (ok, or Bing!). Now the buyer has the ability to research everything about your company and product before you even realize they’re a potential lead. This makes it critical to be searchable and easily found by your target audience and be the voice providing helpful information to your ideal buyer without them having to pick up the phone and call you.
Inbound Marketing Methodology (shown below) matches the way buyers buy today.
2. It Builds A Trustworthy Brand
Think to your own buying tendencies and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If it were a toss-up between two companies - one having informative and helpful content available that helped through your research process versus a company who just had content all about them, who would you choose?
Adweek conducted a study and found that 81% of your customers are researching before they make a purchase. Be there when they search and be helpful!
Show your personality. Part of what makes inbound so important and powerful is the “human and holistic” approach - a definition HubSpotcoined that defines what inbound really is. Providing your potential and existing customers the ability to learn more about you and what your company provides shows you are trustworthy and transparent.
Think about creating content such as blogs, personalized emails, and engaging downloadable content for your customers to read. Providing your customers with useful information before asking for something makes your interactions more helpful and less transactional. And, likely they will be closer to buy!
3. It's Cost Efficient
If you didn’t already know, inbound marketing is significantly lower in cost than traditional mediums and more effective. Outbrainsuggested that inbound is 62% less expensive than outbound marketing strategies and since inbound marketing focuses more on organic search, your cost per lead is significantly lower - about 50% in fact - without negatively impacting your ROI.
Here is something to consider - what if you reorganized your budget now and shifted some of your outbound dollars into ramping up your inbound marketing efforts? Just a minor shift could create the results you’ve been striving for!
4. Google Will Love You For It
NEWSFLASH - The internet WANTS you to provide information for their search engine. Did you know that your SEO strategy is considered inbound marketing? Google needs quality content so they can be excellent at what it does - answering all of our questions!
Using your website to create an authoritative brand with your online content such as blogs is critical to creating success with SEO. And longer blogs tend to perform much better than shorter blogs in search according to Quicksprout. So share away.
Why is blogging so important?
Every blog is a new page on your website - every new website page includes SEO juice such as a header, alt tags, keywords, and meta descriptions
Blogs better support semantic search
Blogs are great for link building (and links are super important for search since it tells Google you’ve clearly got something good to say if all these other websites are linking to you)
Blogs provide fuel for social media
One thing to keep in mind is, success with impacting SEO using inbound isn’t overnight. It takes time, research, and work to get your company to move up in search engine results. One of the biggest complaints I hear about inbound is the delay in seeing results. It’s important to realize it’s a process and you have to build upon what you’ve already created. Rome wasn’t built in a day. But, unlike paid advertising, once your inbound program gains traction you’ll reap the benefits of that work for years to come (without paying for it).
5. Creating Personalized Experiences - For Your Future and Today Customers
Inbound encourages personalized experiences and conversations for your buyers depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey. Instead of pushing products and hoping for a quick sale, inbound marketing nurtures your leads and creates a flywheel effect that will build long-term success for your brand.
If you’re unfamiliar with the flywheel and the power it has to scale your business, I would encourage you to watch this video from HubSpot that explains how they have taken the funnel approach to the next level and why focusing on delighting your current customers is just as important as generating new leads.
It’s Not Me, It’s You…
It’s time to face it - it’s all about the buyers and the way they’ve demanded consuming content prior to a purchase, subscription, like, or follow. We, as marketers, must listen and provide the content that helps consumers make informed decisions.
Inbound marketing is how you can show your potential buyers that you are listening and willing to change your traditional marketing strategy to meet their needs.