How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
At its core, Inbound Marketing is all about creating helpful content that your prospective customers will find valuable. By content, I mean marketing assets such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, downloadable PDFs, and social media posts.
It also takes into account how consumers use the internet to shop online. When people need to go out and make a purchase to solve a problem or a need/desire, they go online to learn more and research their options.
By putting yourself in your customers shoes and creating content aimed at informing them and helping them make a decision, you’re marketing to them in a helpful way. This will make it much more likely that your company closes the sale.
The Inbound Marketing framework is based on roughly three areas:
- Attract: Using content marketing and social media to drive traffic to your website. From here, you can build relationships with prospects and establish trust and expertise in their mind thanks to the helpful content you’ve put together.
- Engage: Once you’ve got them on your website and they have become a bit more knowledgeable from consuming your content, you are then going to want to provide relevant examples of how you can solve their problem. Use case studies and examples of past work that prove you have the necessary expertise and continue to help them in order to close the sale. This is the time to try and move qualified prospects down your sales funnel, so consultations/webinars work great here too.
- Delight: Once they’ve become a customer, that doesn’t mean you stop providing value. Continue to nurture relationships by making it easy for them to refer you to new customers and ensuring that it is easy to contact someone at your company if customers need support. It’s always easier to sell to existing and past customers. And by increasing your customer’s lifetime value, you will drive up the ROI of your digital marketing campaigns.
By adopting this simple framework in your marketing campaigns, you will begin to naturally attract more and more people to your website and content assets.
The best part is that many of these content efforts scale freely for your business (since the biggest investment you likely need to create content is your time – costs are typically low). After a few months and eventually years of following this framework, you will start to see exponential growth in your traffic and leads if you follow this framework correctly.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive on Inbound Marketing, read the post below.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing is about creating content online that your potential customers will find naturally. This will happen as they search for products and services that can help them solve a problem or fill a desire.
This is great because as people engage with your content, they are already in “Shopping Mode” and are looking to make a purchase.
By sharing your expertise with them and offering authentic advice, you build a relationship with them and earn their trust. This makes it much easier to sell your products or services online.
Outbound Marketing is the old way of marketing. Think TV and Radio ads. While these may still have their place in certain situations, the truth of the matter is that today they are no longer anywhere near as effective as they once were. And, they are much more expensive than online marketing tactics while offering far fewer targeting options for your ads.
Outbound primarily focuses on “interrupting” consumers in order to get their attention to think about the product or service being advertised.
However, it is much harder to target specific demographics with these traditional methods, so much of your budget could end up going to large swaths of people that you aren’t trying to reach. Further, it has lost its effectiveness because consumers now tune out ads since they are exposed to so many day after day.
Think about it. Would you rather make a purchase from someone who is constantly trying to sell to you? Or from someone who is offering you helpful advice for a problem you are looking to solve and isn’t pushing to make the sale?
Why Inbound Marketing Matters
Inbound Marketing should be at the center of your digital marketing strategy. It’s a great framework for informing you on how you can use your website and create content in order to attract new customers to your business with online marketing.
However, I especially like it because I see it as the most ethical and human way to approach marketing. And everyone wins when you promote your business this way.
Your company wins by growing faster because you’re providing helpful advice to consumers that are actually in need of it. And consumers win because your marketing content was helpful and made them more informed so they could make the right decision for themselves.
When your marketing strategy is focused on building relationships and trust by educating potential customers, it makes the selling part of your marketing so much easier.