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Picture this: it’s Saturday evening and you’re in front of your TV, watching your favorite show. And then, as it always happens, it’s time for a commercial break.
To make matters worse, the commercials are for things you’re not even interested in.
It’s no wonder many people wait to watch shows on demand.
This disruptive way of marketing is no longer as effective as it used to be. And it’s not just TV commercials. It’s ads that follow us as we browse the Internet and annoying sales emails you never remember signing up for.
Luckily, there is a better way to market your business, especially in times of crisis.
It’s called inbound marketing and in this post, we’ll explain what inbound marketing is, the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, and discuss the inbound marketing methodology and benefits.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy in which you focus on creating valuable content and experiences that are tailored to your audience. It focuses on forming a connection with your audience and solving their existing problems through helpful, relevant content.
The term inbound marketing was coined by HubSpot in 2005. It encompasses using a combination of marketing channels such as content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, and branding to attract and engage your target audience.
The primary goal of inbound marketing is to increase your reach and website traffic and to increase engagement and conversion rates.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
When you opt for inbound marketing, your focus is to attract your target audience and get them to come to you.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, pushes your products and services in front of consumers, regardless of whether they want it or need it.
Inbound marketing uses both earned and owned media to draw the attention of your target audience.
Earned media includes any news or publication coverage, guest posting on another website or podcast, use of a branded hashtag, mentions on social media, and more.
Owned media includes your social media profiles, your website, your company’s blog, product or service landing pages, and more.
Outbound marketing is typically associated with paid media which includes offline advertising as well as online advertising. PPC ad campaigns, Facebook ads, promoted Tweets or Pins, and similar are all examples of paid media.
However, it’s worth mentioning that in some cases, you can use paid media like social media ads to boost your inbound marketing campaign. For example, you could run a Facebook ad to promote your recent blog post in order to reach more people.
Inbound Marketing Methodology
There are four different stages of an inbound marketing methodology.
1. The Attract Stage
The first stage of your inbound marketing strategy is the attract stage where you focus on attracting the right audience to your website with relevant, compelling content that helps them solve a problem or answer a question they have.
During this stage, you’ll use strategies such as blogging, social media posts, and SEO optimization. As mentioned earlier, in some cases, you can also use social media advertising to boost a particular piece of content such as a blog post or a lengthier social media post.
2. The Convert Stage
The convert stage is all about getting website visitors to take action and become qualified leads or subscribers. In other words, you’ll focus on getting their contact information and in exchange for that contact information, you’ll give them content such as whitepapers, case studies, ebooks, cheat sheets, training, or webinars.
3. The Close Stage
Now that your website visitors have become qualified leads, you need to nurture them further. This involves using tools like lead scoring, nurture email sequence, and best-practices follow up tactics to get them to make a purchase.
4. The Delight Stage
The last stage is the delight stage. Once your lead has become a customer or a client, you need to continue nurturing them. By continuing the relationship and nurturing them even after they have made a purchase, you’ll ensure they come back and buy from you again.
This stage involves creating content that helps them use your product better and delights your customers by positioning you as a trusted partner and a thought leader in your field.
Benefits Of Inbound Marketing
Unlike outbound marketing where you can see the results of your marketing efforts relatively quickly, inbound marketing takes time. However, it’s more beneficial for your business in the long run.
If you’ve ever tried to run a paid advertising campaign, I’m pretty sure you know how expensive a simple ad can be. Not to mention, paid advertising can be quite risky as getting the messaging and targeting right is not an easy task.
Another factor to consider is that paid advertising is quite unpredictable in times of crisis. The cost of the ads can skyrocket because your audience won’t be interested in your products but in the current events. As such, your ads are more likely to go unnoticed or tank completely.
When you consider that inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads, it’s easy to see how inbound marketing is more cost-effective.
Almost anyone with a budget can run a paid advertising campaign. But that doesn’t mean their product is actually any good.
When customers do their own research because they are interested in a product like yours and they come across your content organically, you and your business become more trustworthy than an ad in their Facebook feed.
Inbound marketing helps draw quality leads and traffic. That’s because people who are searching for content related to your offers are already interested in it and more likely to convert from visitors to leads and customers.
Easy To Adapt And Optimize
Inbound marketing is easy to adapt and optimize to the needs of your customers. Simply by engaging in a conversation with your audience through social media posts, blog comments, surveys, and similar, you can learn more about their needs. Based on that information, you can then produce even more relevant content to help draw their attention.
Longer Shelf Life
Finally, inbound marketing has a longer shelf life than an average social media post. On top of that, if you focus on creating relevant content, you can continue getting traffic and leads even years after you have published a particular piece of content
Make Inbound Marketing A Part Of Your Marketing Strategy
As you can see, inbound marketing has many benefits for businesses and it’s a marketing tactic that can easily be used by businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It helps you grow your audience and get quality leads for your business who have a higher chance of becoming a paid customer than cold audiences obtained via ads.
The next step is to implement inbound marketing in your business. With the tips from this article, you’ll be well on your way towards coming up with your inbound marketing strategy.