Inbound marketing is a permission-based marketing methodology that draws traffic to your website by offering relevant, valuable content, converting website visitors into leads and ultimately, closing sales. Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.
THE INBOUND METHODOLOGY
Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is permission-based marketing. There are two premises here:
- First, communicate via mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate.
- Second, answer the questions people are asking and proliferate those answers around the web in anticipation of the question.
Both of these premises are permission-based.
In the first method, the audience is smaller in numbers than mass media, but because the audience is inherently more friendly and has already raised their hand to get your messages, the audience coverts at a 750% higher rate than interruption-based marketing.
Examples: subscription based email marketing, social media, blog subscribers, webinar attendees, etc.
In the second method, the numbers are virtually limitless, since your audience online is infinite. Thanks to targeting keywords, you can answer the questions prospects might be asking about your products and your industry. Since this audience is looking for the answers that you are proliferating throughout the web, the conversion rates are unparalleled.
Examples: SEO, keyword targeting, landing page strategy, content/blog strategy, etc.
In contrast to inbound marketing, you’ve probably incorporated “outbound marketing” in your traditional marketing efforts. Outbound marketing refers to generating leads through common methods such as trade shows, cold calling, direct mail and purchasing ads on radio and TV stations.
But technology, specifically the Internet, is making traditional, outbound marketing methods less effective and more expensive. Increasing travel expenses put trade shows out of reach for many would-be attendees. Telephone sales calls are blocked by the federal “Do Not Call” list. Direct mail is often ignored. Digital video recorders enable TV viewers to skip over ads. Moreover, traditional outbound marketing methods interrupt the consumer and are poorly targeted with their message.
While outbound marketing focuses on finding customers, inbound marketing is focused on getting found by potential customers who are actively searching the Internet for information about the products or services they want. Instead of broadcasting their message into a crowd and hoping to hit somebody who might be interested, inbound marketers attract qualified prospects with their quality content.
Think of outbound marketing as casting your message out like a fishing net, hoping to catch that big one—or at least a few minnows to make it sort of worthwhile. The beauty of inbound marketing, on the other hand, is that the leads come to you when they’re most ready to purchase, with no fishing required.
Website visitors are always trolling the Internet, shopping for facts and figures, stats and reviews about the products and services you provide. Using an inbound marketing process, your website is optimized to attract these prospects through various forms of content marketing like blogs, videos, social media and SEO. Even better is the fact that these anonymous visitors show proven interest in what you offer, and by their online activity and information they’ve volunteered, they convert into pre-qualified leads.
It sounds great. I mean, who doesn’t want more pre-qualified leads to bolster their sales efforts? But, how do you get started with inbound marketing?
As I mentioned earlier, there are four basic components that form the foundation of a successful inbound marketing program:
- Generate website traffic by producing a steady stream of quality content for web searchers to find.
- Convert anonymous visitors into leads by offering them special content like ebooks and whitepapers to download.
- Nurture your leads with an occasional followup email and postings on social networks that have links to other content they may find useful.
- Measure your results by analyzing web statistics from Google Analytics and other sources.
The case for is clear using inbound marketing to generate leads. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In addition, their research shows that it can cost up to 62% less to generate leads with inbound marketing.
While the return on inbound marketing can be great, many B2B marketers struggle to find the time to regularly create content and cumbersome to maintain separate tools to manage the company blog, post to social networks, send email campaigns and make sense of the Google analytics.