What Is Inbound Marketing?
Let’s get straight to the point. The phrase “Inbound Marketing” defines all marketing and promotional efforts that don’t entail you shouting about your business to people who aren’t interested.
For example, cold-calling is not Inbound Marketing. In it’s basic form, cold calling is obtrusive and generally unwanted. Business owners and consumers alike get loads of cold-calls, several per day (at the moment I seem to be getting lots of calls about our office utilities even though i’ve never said i’m unhappy with our current supplier EVER) and I think we all agree that they’re never welcome. Warm calls, where the caller is following up a lead, that’s a completely different thing – for example, advertising a new fishing reel in a fishing magazine will work better than advertising the same reel in a national newspaper.Inbound Marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing Click To Tweet
Another example of NOT “Inbound Marketing” – Advertising. Placing ads in newspapers, in magazines, on TV or on the radio, sending direct mail etc – this is all designed to interrupt your enjoyment of something in order to sell you something the advertiser hopes you’ll be interested in. Again, if you have a clue that the recipient may be interested then that’s different.
There’s no doubt that these marketing tactics work. They do – there’s plenty of evidence to prove that they work and when done well they’re great forms of selling. TV ads can definitely influence buying decisions and make a large sector of the population quickly aware of a new product or a new brand.
The thing is, the audience for these tactics is shrinking. TV advertising is being circumvented by the growth of streaming services, online banner advertising is being blocked by browser apps, and cold-calling – well, that’s just annoying!
Let’s get on to what IS “Inbound Marketing”.
Again, let me cut this down to the most basic principle. The goal of Inbound Marketing is to influence people to come to you to find out more about your products. It’s making your ideal customers aware of your business by putting yourself in front of them in a way that they are happy with and accept.
For example, going back to our fishing reel example, if one of your friends on Facebook shared a video post on fly fishing techniques that you watched because you’re both keen on fishing – that’s an example of Inbound Marketing principles in action.
Another example could be a manufacturer of child seats creating a mobile app that shows parents the locations of toilets on their journey (because every parent wants to know where the next set of toilets are if they’ve got several children in the car for any length of time).
Inbound Marketing is a creative process. It’s thinking about what problems your customers are facing and coming up with fun, useful ways to solve their problems or provide some educational or entertainment content that they can consume without feeling like they’re being overtly advertised to.
Does Inbound Marketing work? Absolutely it does. According to HubSpot – Inbound Marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. So not only does it work – it costs a lot less!
Could it work for your business? That’s a good question and one that I would love to explore with you. You have to think beyond the traditional route of advertising or cold calling and start to think more creatively about what you sell and your audience. Just creating a load of blog posts and hoping that they’re going to miraculously start generating leads won’t work. The blog posts have to resonate with your audience and provide a solution to a problem or be entertaining in some way for them to garner any significant interest. You also have to have an active social media presence and an effective PR strategy to spread the word about your content and to respond to people’s comments. And you need consistency to keep creating content over a long period of time.
Can you do all of that?
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