Today I will write about Inbound Marketing.
First I would like to list a few main facts in order to differ Outbound Marketing from Inbound Marketing:
Outbound (traditional Marketing/Sales & Promotion of a corporations products/services):
- One-way broadcasting to the whole world by TV-, Mail-, and other campaigns.
- Intention of advertising and selling products/services.
- Result: high Acquisition costs (Advertising costs for every sold unit).
Inbound (new Marketing/providing insight to the world around a product and the opportunity of self-education):
- Establishing content for interested persons on web pages, pod casts, blogs, video logs or social media. Two-way communication.
- Intention of providing information and rising interest – not advertising!
- Result: low Acquisition costs (higher ROI) due self-sustaining advertisement by interested/informed people on social media or blogs who act as promoter of a convincing product or service.
Just by reading this and recalling your own experiences, you probably notice very fast that Outbound Marketing became outdated these days. People are tired of being bombed with advertisement everywhere they go, everything they watch on TV and every time they open the browser to check their mails. You know the struggle. Besides being tired of advertisement people became more and more resistant to this kind of Marketing, which means more and more wasted money for a corporation.
Inbound Marketing seems to be the fashionable solution for the Marketing world. In a world where most people from developed countries have access to the internet, advertisement in the traditional way became irrelevant. People are able to educate themselves anywhere at any time by calling up necessary information on their computers while they shop online or also on their smartphones while walking down the streets.
Inbound Marketing steps in at the moment when a person enters his search into the web. The idealistic idea of Inbound Marketing is to provide the information experience which a seeking person is looking for, without the intention of an actual sale. In greater terms, Inbound Marketing is about creating a community that educates and entertains prospective customers even before they are even considering buying your product.
The user develops during the process of information gathering and sharing. At first he is a stranger who visits the page. If the information appeals to his expectations and preferences these information might lead him to sign-up for future info or to buy a product and become an actual customer. The process doesn’t stop here. The actual goal is to turn the customer into a promoter who shares his experiences with other persons and thereby advertises without any expenses for the corporation.
Qualitative content is probably the most important factor of Inbound Marketing. It means increased awareness for your business and quality relationships with potential customers. At the core is a deep and thorough understanding of your potential customers, where and how they look for information and what kind of information interests them (remember what I wrote about Analytics last sessions). This dictates what kind of content a corporation should publish and on what platforms it publishes the content. Most importantly, the content should focus primarily on the problems and concerns faced by potential customers.
The hardest part of implementing Inbound Marketing is to get is rolling in the first place. The choice of different platforms and channels seems way too big and uncontrollable. But if Inbound Marketing first runs, it is an almost self-sustaining Marketing tool which needs only continuous update, which costs far less than the traditional PR.
For this, Hubspot is an Inbound Marketing pioneer (founded in 2006) which I would like to introduce briefly. Like bringing all the different channels of Blogs and Social Media together on one platform for easy handling, Hubspot focuses on the optimization of online traffic. They offer services in Content Design, Exposure Optimization, Lead Tracking and Intelligence, generating Traffic, analyzing it and giving recommendations for future Marketing actions.
At last a lesson to remember: Content, Content, Content. Also according to Hubspot, the three skills needed to maximize inbound marketing are:
- The Ability to write compelling content that attracts people to one’s business. This content needs to be useful and shall not be any sort of advertisement. If content lacks authenticity and consistency people will question it and possibly turn away.
- Distribution must be flawless, meaning the pages must be easy to find on the internet. Search Engine Optimization is a keyword here.
- Attract and engage lots of followers/a community of possible customers.