Why inbound marketing?
Here are three reasons inbound marketing matters.
1. People’s buying patterns have changed
Consumers are smarter than ever about tuning out pure marketing messages. Nowadays, people want to be in control of the buying process, and that’s why they are increasingly turning to the Internet. To help them, you need to offer relevant, high-quality content. Over time, you will be increasingly perceived as an expert and trusted advisor in your field and not just a vendor seeking to sell something.
2. Inbound marketing is cost effective
Research indicates that businesses relying on inbound marketing strategies have a lower cost per sales lead than those using outbound marketing strategies.
Indeed, a blog costs the same whether it attracts 1,000 or 100,000 visitors whereas with outbound techniques such as direct mail, the costs vary depending on your number of impressions.
What’s more, many of the content publishing tools you will need for your inbound marketing program are inexpensive.
3. Visitors are more likely to turn into customers
The people who find you online through inbound marketing are likely to be actively looking for your product or service. They are “warm” leads, as opposed to the ones you would find through cold calling or blanket advertising.
Here are some steps you can take to reap the benefits of inbound marketing.
Developing a content strategy—Your strategy should identify gaps in your content and outline goals for developing what you need, whether it be a blog, advice articles, how-to videos, e-books or other material. You should then make a realistic editorial plan and assign responsibilities to staffers or freelancers. Don’t forget it’s important to learn and implement strategies to optimize your site and content to be found by search engines—a process known as search engine optimization (SEO).
Work to engage potential customers—This is the essence of a social media strategy. A key step here is to determine whether your customers are already participating in certain social media communities such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You need to be where they are—interacting with them and posting links to content on your site. Also, think about and test whether they are more responsive to certain content formats (e-books, videos, podcasts, etc.) than others. This will help you to prioritize your efforts.
- Focus on converting visitors into customers—Considering the potential high value of inbound leads, it’s not enough to offer them great content. Once they have found you, you have to think about how to convert them into customers. This means making it easy for them to take the next step. You might want, for example, to highlight sales offers on your homepage or set up an automatic email confirmation process that includes a sales offer when visitors download a free e-book.
The potential for increasing sales through inbound marketing is promising, but does this mean you should stop doing outbound marketing altogether? Probably not.
You have to find the right balance between inbound and outbound marketing efforts. Besides, it will take time before the volume of leads you obtain through inbound marketing counterbalances the volume of leads obtained through more traditional techniques.
However, it is precisely because these things take time that you should start right away.