The short and sweet: Inbound Marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on attracting customers by offering some type of useful information.
The detailed description of Inbound Marketing is a bit more involved. The idea is that your company should create high quality content regarding the products or services your company offers.
For Example: if your business is a landscaping service looking to build their residential snow removal clients, you may want to create a “The Complete Guide to Preparing your House for Winter” and market it out for people to download.
The idea is that people interested in learning more about getting their houses ready for winter and snow removal will be actively searching for this information online and be happy to download your company’s useful guide. By providing a helpful guide, your company can educate them, establish your credibility and generate warm leads.
Once they have downloaded the guide, this will place them into your inbound marketing funnel in which you can move them further down through lead nurturing, additional content and promotional offers. As they move down the inbound funnel, they become hotter and hotter leads ready for your sales team to contact with some type of promotional offer to get them to convert into a customer.
On the flip side, we have traditional marketing or “Outbound Marketing” such as TV, Radio or Print ads. These forms of advertising are typically intrusive in nature and require the company to push their message in front of a user at times when the user is not interested in learning about them. The fact that these ads are intrusive automatically creates an additional hurtle that the company must overcome in order to move the potential customer down the sales funnel.
The beauty of inbound marketing is that the customer is already actively seeking for information on the industry or topic matter that your business operates and thus they have an open mind and are already a qualified lead. This fact alone makes the sales process shorter and makes it easier for sales team to convert potential leads.
Now that we’ve established the general concept behind Inbound Marketing, the actual process is much more involved and is compiled of many interconnected pieces all working together to push your company’s inbound marketing. These are just a few of the connected pieces:
- Social Media Marketing: Build up your social media networks with targeted followers who meet the demographic characteristics of your target market. As your social network grows, market your content offers to them and use them to help promote the content in their networks.
- SEO: By optimizing your website and performing off-site SEO, it will ensure that interested potential customers searching for information will be able to easily find the content on your website.
- Blogging: Providing additional high quality information about your industry, this will attract warm leads looking for information and be a good hook to get interested people on your website where you can then convert them into your inbound marketing funnel with your content offering and call to actions.
- Optimizing Your Site with Landing Pages & Call-to-Actions: Having effectivly designed call-to-actions directed toward effective landing pages will dramatically increase your conversion rate. You can learn more about optimizing landing pages at our blog, "Maximizing Conversions with Optimized Landing Pages"
- Email marketing: Creating a strong email newsletter list of people give you a great opportunity to market your content offer to. Create some incentive for people to sign-up for your newsletter and start building your list. For more ideas on how to grow your list, read our blog “How to Boost Your Email Newsletter Subscriptions".
- Mobile marketing: Find creative ways to market your content to mobile users such as check-in specials. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and can easily convert mobile users into the inbound marketing funnel.
- Adwords / PPC Marketing: If your company has performed all the above activities and would like to further extend your reach, Adwords and PPC advertising can be a good way to get your content offers in front of interested users who might not find you in organic results.
- Offline Activities: There are many opportunities to market your content downloads during speaking events, expos, presentations, etc. Find creative ways to engage people and get them on your site to download content, sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.
The proven results generated by inbound marketing speak for themselves and shows that inbound marketing is here to stay. Our company alone has seen a 400% increase in leads in only 3 months after adopting a hard inbound marketing strategy!
If you’re interested in learning more about the inbound marketing process and how you can specifically start applying it to your business, download our free “The Essential Guide to Inbound marketing & SEO” which outlines the entire process and all the pieces in the puzzle.