As the web continues to become the main way we search for information, more and more businesses are focusing their efforts and dollars at online marketing and with good reason. Let's explore how smart businesses market the inbound way.
What’s Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is about earning the attention of prospects online, making yourself easy to be found online and drawing people to your website by producing useful content they value. The goal of Inbound Marketing is to position a business as a thought leader and expert in their industry while building trust to make them the obvious choice with whom to do business. This is in contrast to conventional outbound disruptive marketing such as buying attention, cold calling, direct mail, radio, TV ads, sales flyers and spam. Unlike outbound methods, Inbound Marketing’s goal is to earn their way into prospects minds instead of begging or buying their way in through advertising.
The Inbound Marketing model is illustrated in five separate stages:
- Attract traffic (with content that can be found through search engines and on social media).
- Convert visitors to leads (with great free content gated behind a simple form).
- Convert leads to sales (build a relationship and trust using email content marketing and educate your lead while gathering deeper info about them and their needs through additional form gated content).
- Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers (continue a relationship with your customers and keep them delighted with you through education and offers).
- Analyze for continuous improvement.
The goal of Inbound Marketing is to generate great leads that become great clients and raving fans.
The terms "Content Marketing" and "Inbound Marketing" are very similar and are often used interchangeably. Content Marketing involves the creation and sharing of content and media online in order to acquire customers, like Inbound Marketing does. Both Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing use a variety of media formats including e-books, video, blogs, Q&A’s FAQ’s, photos, how-to guides, info graphics and other media to educate, answer questions, build trust, gain customers, build loyalty and retain customers.
Online Marketing (or Internet Marketing) encompasses all of marketing online. Some methods of Online Marketing include, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, referral marketing, content marketing, native advertising, SEM, pay-per-click, cost-per-impression, search analytics, web analytics, display advertising, contextual advertising, behavioral targeting, affiliate marketing, cost-per-action, revenue sharing, and mobile advertising.
In 2012, internet advertising revenues in the United States totaled $36.57 billion – a 15.2% increase over the $31.74 billion in revenues in 2011. Online advertising is widely used across virtually all industry sectors. – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Internet Advertising Bureau
How Can Inbound Marketing Help My Business?
Inbound Marketing can deliver great results with lead growth, new customer acquisitions and help businesses maintain great relationships with current customers. Inbound Marketing leverages your website and online social media to provide your target prospects the opportunity to find you, educate themselves about you and feel great about choosing you. Inbound Marketing, when done correctly, grows over time – providing a steady increase in new leads, new customers and repeat business while giving businesses a return on marketing investment dollars.
What Do I Need to Do to Get Started With Inbound Marketing?
A great way to start with Inbound Marketing is to evaluate where you are currently with your Online Marketing and then develop a plan to begin moving forward with Inbound Marketing. This evaluation is an "Inbound Marketing Assessment" (or IMA).
An “IMA” is a free 1/2 hour marketing review to see where you can improve your Inbound Marketing efforts. The IMA will review your:
- Search engine optimization opportunities.
- Landing pages & lead-generation forms.
- Marketing offers.
- Competitor analysis.
Not ready for an assessment but still looking for knowledge?
Check out our blog and resource/free stuff page for up to the minute Inbound Marketing ideas, tips, e-books, templates and more!