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10th September 2020

What Is Inbound Marketing? An Essential Guide

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Even if you don’t know what inbound marketing is, you must have heard of the term. It’s important to know that inbound marketing is so much more than just another passing trend. It’s a newfound way of marketing that poses a serious threat to traditional outbound content marketing services. Research shows that 68% of inbound marketers claim that their marketing strategy is effective – but only 48% of outbound marketers can confidently say the same.

So, the question is what makes inbound marketing so effective? Let’s establish the basics. 

Definition

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy aimed at drawing visitors to your company’s products and services. Instead of competing for attention, inbound marketing uses relevant content that naturally appeals to the reader.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is the traditional form of adverts that includes print media, television ads, direct mail and cold calling. As you can imagine, this sort of marketing is more invasive and is more likely to lead to a dead end. It was fruitful during the pre-internet era when that was the only way to communicate your products and services to the world. However, times have drastically changed, and outbound marketing is now viewed as rather aggressive and pushy.

Weaknesses of Outbound Marketing

  • Often too expensive – TV and billboard ads
  • Highly detached – not relevant to the user
  • Hard to target 
  • Problematic to analyse feedback 
  • Outdated – not in touch modern buyers 

How Does Inbound Marketing Differ?

Inbound marketing is all about going against the norms of outbound marketing. Its existence heavily depends on people being able to connect and interact with each other, as well as with companies 24/7. 

The Main Idea 

The idea behind inbound marketing is that instead of demanding the audience pay attention to your adverts, you create a high-quality experience that your customers will actually seek out themselves. By finding your company through search engines or social media, your prospective clients tend to initiate interactions with you. This is because they choose to receive your marketing messages – this alone gives inbound marketing a huge edge over its counterpart. The mere reversal of the client-business interaction has completely changed the sales game, altering the dynamic of the entire sales process.

The Next Move

In inbound marketing, you basically adapt to two important concepts: the principle of relevance and employing a foolproof content strategy to create targeted ads that your audience will find appealing. But what’s next on the agenda? The next course of action is to try and convince potential customers that your products and services are exactly what they’re looking for. With every purchase, your offerings should be consistency in terms of quality and convenience so that your customers will consider returning. Inbound marketing is merely the ice-breaker – you have to know how to carry the customer to the finish line from there.

Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing

Although inbound marketing and content marketing are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same. Content marketing is the same as it sounds: creating persuasive, engaging, high-quality online content aimed at improving a company’s rapport with a targeted audience. This takes several forms – blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos, or any other format that’s considered relevant to the target audience.

With inbound marketing, however, the content is divided into three categories according to the likelihood of purchase: the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.

  • Top of funnel: This type of content covers the stage of drawing the user in by causing awareness or posing a solution to a common problem. It mainly occurs in the form of blog articles that readers come across through search engines or social media. It should be addressed to the broadest possible audience to promote the largest number of conversions. 
  • Middle of funnel: This content is intended for leads who have already converted after reading the top-funnel content. However, they aren’t quite ready to make a purchase just yet. This is where the content develops an educational tone and is usually in the form of e-books and webinars. It explains the benefits of your products and services in greater detail and the sales pitch becomes a little more evident.
  • Bottom of funnel: This content is aimed at pushing leads to lock in the purchase. At this stage, feel free to throw in any strategy that you’d like. A common practice of any content marketing agency at this point is to add demos and free trials. 

Aside from the above-mentioned content, inbound marketing comprises the following strategies to attract and convert leads: 

  • Calls-to-Action: A phrase or an image that would encourage the reader to take an action such as contacting the company or making a purchase.
  • Landing Pages: These are web pages that use content aimed at persuading the reader to download something or sign up for exclusive offers such as frees samples and guides.
  • Forms: These are crucial for obtaining the contact data of different users such as name, email address, age, job title, and hobbies in exchange for something valuable.

There we have it – an essential guide to inbound marketing. It should be clear that it’s very different from traditional outbound marketing. And in today’s tech-savvy world, it remains the ideal way of ensuring the biggest possible audience for your products and services.

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