With inbound, customers come to you. Sounds great, right?
Outbound marketing vs inbound marketing
Before we can begin talking about inbound marketing, let’s review what we mean by outbound marketing. Examples of outbound marketing include email blasts to purchased lists, cold calling, commercials and print ads. What these tactics have in common is that they are being pushed out by the marketer in hopes of attracting prospects and generating leads.
So what exactly is inbound marketing?
"Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing that attracts individuals to your brand and converts them to customers.”
In other words, inbound marketing uses helpful content to attract visitors and get them to engage of their own volition. It combines great content, intelligent tactics, and is based on real data about what audiences want.
One advantage with inbound is momentum. Advertising spend is finite, but great content will continuously attract interest and generate – and grow – traffic over time. Another is it's customer-centric. In a world where 86% of people skip TV ads, 44% of direct mail is never opened, and 200M people are on the Do Not Call list (CMO Council 2015 direct marketing stats), inbound marketing fills the gap by attracting customers with something they love. And finally, inbound takes advantage of timing – and is about being there when your prospects are looking for your products and services.
Pro tip: Marketing is most effective when it includes elements of both inbound and outbound marketing.
The inbound marketing methodology turns strangers into customers and promoters of your business by offering content to prospects at every stage of their buyer’s journey. Content can include everything from blogs, infographics, videos, and eguides. Let's take a look at this neat graphic the folks at HubSpot put together explaining this process:
- Attract - Having a deep understanding of your audience personas is key so you can generate relevant, helpful content that will attract visitors. Then search engine optimizing (SEO) your content and promoting it on social sites will help prospects find your business.
- Convert - The calls-to-actions (CTAs) that are included in your posted content drive visitors to landing pages with lead capture forms. Leads are generated when users fill out those forms.
- Close - To convert those leads into customers, lead nurturing workflows are built and deployed to drive leads further along the buyer’s journey. Content during this phase is very targeted to the lead’s topics of interest with the aim of adding them as your customer.
- Delight – Nurturing doesn’t stop there. Once prospects become leads, then customers, you have an opportunity to grow your customer relationships to transform those who were once strangers into promoters of your business.
Whether you are a small business or a large organization, inbound marketing plays a crucial role in building long-term success.
Read our ebook on inbound marketing to get started. Download now >