You may have heard that many brands now carry out ‘inbound marketing’ and wondered what on earth that is. Trust me when I say there’s no judgement there because the phrase doesn’t really explain much.
This said, if you want to promote your business and attract the right type of customers, it is vital that you understand what inbound marketing is and how it works.
Before the days of digital, many businesses would use ‘outbound’ marketing tactics, and for a while, these worked well. However as more people began to shop and research products online, these tactics became less and less efficient – causing brands to move to ‘inbound’ marketing instead.
As such, if you really want to make ‘inbound marketing’ work for you, I think it is vital to also understand ‘outbound’ marketing – so here’s a quick history lesson:
How Outbound Marketing Worked
In the good old days, consumers were a lot more passive as the products/services they could buy were limited by the amount of information they could access and their physical location.
As such, it was easy for companies to push their messages ( eg buy my products) out to the customer through methods such as adverts in the local paper, TV commercials etc.
These methods often offered a possibility of reaching a lot of people but there was no way of telling if that person would even receive the message or be interested. For example, you may pay for a TV advert during a prime time show only for 50% of the audience to be making a cup of tea when it aired.
As the TV was technically showing the advert, TV stations could easily claim the advert had been viewed – without ever really knowing if the person was even actually in the room.
As times changed customers gained more power – they could read reviews online, fast-forward through adverts on TV these outbound marketing tactics became a lot less effective.
Types Of Outbound Marketing
- TV/Radio/Podcast Advert
- Newspaper Advert
- Direct Mail (Brochures/Flyers)
- Adverts on 3rd Party Sites
How Inbound Marketing Works
As the results from outbound marketing began to dwindle, many organisations realised that it was much more effective to use their messaging as a means of drawing people ‘in’ to their store or website instead.
Drawing people in, in this sense, may refer to visits to a website, sign-ups to a mailing list or footfall at a physical premises/event etc
In order to achieve this, specifically targeted content is produced and promoted, with the aim of reaching only those that are interested in the product or services on offer.
Businesses may decide who to target on a range of factors ranging from behaviour (eg using Pinterest) to demographics (eg being a female aged 25-35 years.) The more tightly a business can target their customers, the more likely it is to see results from its marketing efforts.
Types of Inbound Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Video Series
- Search Engine Optimised Content
So Why Is It Important?
Inbound marketing is important because it only draws in people who are truly interested in your product – and therefore much more likely to buy. If you are working to a limited timescale or marketing budget it is crucial that you maximise your conversions – even if you have plenty of resources, maximising your conversion rate should always be a priority!
After all, there is no point having a thousand visitors to your website if none of them is in the market for your product. In fact, if they realise this and leave your site soon after clicking on to it, your business may suffer as it will affect where you rank on Google.
Also, by targeting possible customers – rather than everyone reading the paper for example – your marketing efforts are going to be a lot more cost-effective as you are no longer paying a huge flat fee for huge numbers that may possibly see the advert.
I hope this has cleared things up but if you have a question about inbound marketing, or need help just let me know!