What is it?
Coined in 2006 by HubSpot, inbound marketing refers to the methodology used in marketing designed to pull visitors and customers towards a business, as appose to outbound marketing which pushes a brand, product or service out into the market with the goal of generated leads and customers.
In digital marketing, this methodology uses a combination of marketing channels, which range from content marketing, SEO and social Media, in order to attract the attention of potential customers. Ultimately, inbound marketing is the process of attracting, engaging and delighting customers, turning strangers into customers and promoters of your brand.
Inbound Marketing is all about attracting and engaging customers by earning their attention. This is achieved by using owned and earned media in creative ways. Owned Media include all the channels that are owned and controlled by a business, such as their website, social media pages etc. Earned media consists of digital PR, social media tags, hashtag campaigns and mentions on forums and social media pages. In a nutshell, earned media is working very hard at getting your businesses’ name out to your target audience.
Let’s look at the process in more detail:
Inbound marketing attracts customers to your site by providing content that solves their problems, answers their questions and gives valuable and relevant information.
Engaging is about building strong relationships that have longevity, either with customers or prospective customers. The goal is to make it easy for them to engage with your product or services and ultimately purchase it when the time is right.
Satisfied and happy customers will often generate more customers as they share their positive experiences with others. Delighting people is about producing great content, excellent service, and quality products.
Inbound marketing has its benefits. Firstly, it enables your business to reach the right audience, which generates quality traffic, without having to spend money on outbound marketing channels like adverts. Secondly, it increases trust by suppling potential customers with information they are looking for and not just bombarding them with unwanted sales. It is a way to present your business as a useful and reliable resource, so that customers will know where to go when the need for your product or service arises. Finally, inbound marketing allows your business to access potential customers through a variety of channels and not just one, which will limit your reach and result in over-reliance and associated risk to only one channel.
Important things to consider with inbound marketing is that you must measure the impact of this marketing style in a way that translates return on investment accurately. Being clear about what it is you want to achieve through your marketing, is the best way to measure its success.
The second important thing to consider in your long-term strategy. Due to the fact that inbound marketing will take time to plan, implement and refine, you need to be prepared to be patient before you start seeing the results of your labour.
At Image Matters, we have found that inbound marketing is one of the better ways to market online. It allows you to reach potential customers organically and attract them to your brand, instead of harassing them with cold calls and marketing material that may be irrelevant to their needs. It is a method that also creates and maintains relationships with customers, which in turn can start a loyal following.