How is it different from traditional marketing?
We must first know what traditional marketing is to understand inbound marketing. Traditional marketing includes advertising a product or service in a TV commercial, email, direct mail or through telemarketers by cold-calling. While this fleeting tactic has worked in the past, it’s become less effective in recent times because people have learned to tune out the messaging. People mute commercials, throw away direct mail without opening it, delete emails and block telemarketers. Traditional marketing can also be costly, especially for start-ups.
Inbound marketing has become a necessity for businesses to hook prospects and keep them coming back. It’s a longer term solution that takes more effort than traditional marketing but can actually cost less if carefully managed. Inbound marketing is a data-driven approach. It’s not about sales messages that simply state how great your product or service is, but instead it offers information that gives value. It’s about content creation and includes blogging, SEO, public speaking and social media marketing. The idea is to get people to see your brand as a thought leader in the marketplace by providing them with content they are genuinely interested in. This way, your brand will be the first to pop in their head when they are ready to buy.
What are the benefits?
One of the great aspects of inbound marketing is that it’s cost efficient. Many avenues for inbound marketing are of little to no cost. Even optimizing content for search engines isn’t always costly. There are factors that play into cost such as audience size, your goals and targets, the nature of your business and more. SquareSearch was able to grow their client, a nationwide funeral plan provider, from 907 visitors per month to 2,127 per month over 6 months, thanks to a 190% increase in organic traffic (traffic generated using SEO). Learn more about SEO here.
Another benefit to inbound marketing is that it’s more targeted to a specific audience. Inbound marketing strategies identify the target audience and then put the right tools in place to help members of that target audience find the products or services that are being advertised. For example, a Pew internet study shows that Twitter is largely used by non-white users, particularly Hispanic and African American users, between the ages of 18-29. The study also suggests that more males than females use the channel. Therefore, if a company has a product or service that appeals to young African Americans, they would benefit from using Twitter to target that audience.
Inbound marketing makes it easier to track ROI (return on investment). Software such as HubSpot lets businesses have access to metrics that span contacts databases, marketing content and website traffic to see how well the marketing channels are performing.
How can you use inbound marketing?
Prospects don’t want to be “sold” to with traditional marketing messages. The foundation of inbound marketing is providing free information to people. You have to become a trusted guide and partner that helps them make purchasing decisions. This can be accomplished by cultivating a relationship with the prospect. Provide useful and appropriate information at each stage of the buyer’s journey to attract, inform and eventually convert them into leads. The only “cost” that prospects have to pay is giving you their contact details so that you can follow up by phone, direct mail or email.