Inbound Marketing Strategies: How It Works & Why You Should Use It
You’ve already got a robust marketing strategy, so you might be wondering, “Why do I need to add inbound marketing strategies to my roster?”
To illustrate the point, let’s talk about one of the best known inbound marketing strategies: blogging. About 55% of marketers say that blog content creation is their top priority. That’s not a very big number when you realise that blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.
And that’s just one aspect of inbound marketing.
If you’re still not sure what all the hoopla is about, we’re here to break down what inbound marketing is, why you need it, and a few inbound marketing techniques to use to your advantage.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Before you run, you have to walk. So let’s cover the most basic question: what is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a strategy utilising several types of pull marketing to create brand awareness. This can include everything from blog posts to social media to content marketing, to name a few.
How Inbound Marketing Works
The basic premise of inbound marketing is attracting the right kind of customer to your brand’s website–the target customer who’s most likely to spend money on your site once they’ve landed there.
You do this by creating detailed buyer personas and then creating valuable, educational content based on what your desired customer wants to find on the web.
For example, if your target customer is a business owner who doesn’t know much about digital marketing techniques and wants to learn more to grow their business (and find the right company to help them figure it out) a good example of inbound marketing is…well, an article a lot like this one, actually.
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing
For the sake of clarity, though, we should elaborate on the difference between inbound marketing and its close, better-known sibling, outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing is what you think of when you think of stereotypical marketing. It’s email lists and billboard ads and telemarketing and cold calls (oh my!)
Basically, outbound marketing involves casting a wide net in the hopes of catching a few good fish.
Inbound marketing is narrower than that. Instead of trying to catch any fish you can find, you’re trying to only catch the right kind of fish. Rather than calling a random list of people, you’re calling only the people who you already know are likely to spend money if you call them.
Why is Inbound Marketing So Popular?
This leads nicely into our next point: why inbound marketing is so popular.
We see approximately 5,000 ads on any given day. We read at least that many words per day and 45% of people watch more than an hour of video content on Facebook and YouTube each week.
Point being, there’s a lot of noise, which is why we also live in a time of attention scarcity (lower than a goldfish).
This means two things:
- The buyers of today are more empowered
- The buyers of today have much lower tolerance for information they don’t care about
This is why inbound marketing is so powerful: it gives searchers exactly the information they want at the precise moment they want it.
And if your brand is the one to provide that information? Congratulations, you’re well on the way to establishing trust and authority with your target audience.
Why You Need Inbound Marketing
So, let’s talk about why you need inbound marketing.
You’ll Generate More Leads
Unless you’re living off the grid, you should care a lot about lead generation.
And for the record: inbound marketing does pretty amazing things for your lead generation numbers.
After all, properly executed inbound marketing tactics are 10 times more effective for lead conversion than outbound ones. For example, in SEO, inbound-generated leads have a close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate.
Outbound Engagement is Poor
If you haven’t guessed as much from the majority of our article, we’ll come out and say it: outbound engagement isn’t all that great.
You could write an ad that won a Pulitzer and it wouldn’t change the fact that 200 million people have ad blockers. You could shoot a TV ad worthy of an Emmy and 86% of people would still be in the kitchen making a sandwich.
More Cost-Effective Than Outbound
Not only is inbound marketing more effective than outbound, but it also costs less.
Which one costs less: writing a blog, or paying to mobilise a marketing campaign?
You don’t need to be a math prodigy to figure out that calculus.
Plus, businesses that use inbound marketing as their primary tactic save about $14 for every newly acquired customer.
And for all the work and lost effort that goes into outbound marketing, the leads you convert from inbound are more valuable. They’re customers that you know will come back.
All told, this adds up to a better ROI.
For all the time that you invest in outbound marketing vs inbound marketing relative to the actual conversions you see from that time, inbound marketing gives you a much better bang for your buck.
That means your marketing team can focus on generating more new ideas instead of puttering with old ones that aren’t working anymore. And that increased productivity is good news for your business’s bottom line.
Using Inbound Marketing Strategies
With all that in mind, let’s talk about a few inbound marketing strategies you can use to give your digital marketing strategy a boost.
Luckily for you, most of these are things you’ve heard of before, unless you’ve never done digital marketing a day in your life.
And if you’re at all surprised to see some of these strategies here, remember that inbound marketing involves creating content specifically for a target customer. All of these tactics are based on that principle.
Some are more complicated than others (advanced technical SEO, anyone?) but you don’t need to jump off the deep end to see a material benefit from any of these techniques. Start with the basics and grow from there.
First up is something you’ve definitely heard of if you’ve ever dipped your toes into search engines: search engine optimisation or SEO.
Basically, it’s the fine art of making sure that your content shows up in search engines when someone types a relevant search query.
This can involve everything from keywords to how your site is structured.
You could spend every day of the workweek focusing solely on SEO and still never run out of things to do. However, if you need somewhere to start, an SEO audit is a good way to figure out what you need to focus on.
Remember back when blogging was a hobby reserved solely for the tech geeks? Those days are long gone.
These days, blogging has a huge array of benefits for your digital marketing strategy. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to give your SEO an extra boost.
This is why blogging is by far one of the most common types of inbound marketing out there. If you’re looking to create useful content for your customers, there are few easier ways to maintain a library of information than a company blog.
Of course, there’s also social media, which doesn’t always get the street cred it deserves.
A whopping 67% of adults use social media to share information, and they aren’t just sharing skateboarding dogs and Tasty recipes. In fact, one of the main reasons they go online is to research products they hope to buy.
Social media as an inbound marketing technique also has a key benefit over other types: it gives your company an opportunity to show your human side.
By presenting great content with a personal flair (and leveraging social media to engage with your customers) you’re creating an online community your customers want to return to again and again.
Live Events and Webinars
Live events and webinars combine the best humanising aspects of social media with a key tenet of inbound marketing: providing genuinely useful information to your customers.
Think of it this way. You’re showing a real, human face to your company, and that real, human face is taking half an hour or an hour to teach your customers about something that excites them.
Plus, these events and webinars are fairly easy for you to set up.
What’s not to love?
Making the Most of Inbound Marketing
Ready to make the most of your newfound inbound marketing strategies?
If you still need some guidance, you’ve come to the right place.
We offer a variety of content marketing services for businesses in a variety of industries.
If you’re ready to talk about what we can do for you, click here to book a strategy session.
Strategic Optimisation + Growth consultant for lean start-ups and change-making entrepreneurs enabling them to grow their business in a sustainable and profitable way. My super-powers are business optimisation, CX, SEO, and leveraging data insights for business growth. #fuelledbycoffee