It is hard to define what is inbound marketing, and even harder to measure its effectiveness. However, we can say that inbound marketing is not marketing the product or service, but rather, marketing the idea of the product or service. This is because the message of inbound marketing is intended to attract the buyer, not to sell the product or service.
In this article, we will see what is inbound marketing and its importance. We will also know the top three characteristics of inbound marketing.
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What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a philosophy of marketing that focuses on attracting customers to a business’ website, where they can discover more about the organization, its products and services, and can easily initiate contact with sales or customer service and make a purchase. This strategy results in an increase in leads because customers are actively seeking the business out rather than being approached by a company.
What Are Top 3 Characteristics of Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing has top three characteristics that help define this way of business. They are:
It is result oriented – Unlike other forms of marketing, inbound marketing always produces a result due to the fact that customers reach out to a business based on their own interest. Therefore, it is cost effective since there is no need for spending money on advertisement and other promotional campaign.
It is an engaged audience – Unlike hard sell approach, inbound marketing allows customers to discover more about a business through their website, which increases their interest in the company. Thus, it has an engaged and loyal customer base.
It is focused on increasing value – Inbound marketing focuses on increasing the value of the product or service offered by a business and not just on selling its products or services. Therefore, this strategy has excellent long-term performance as it helps add value to the product or service that is being sold.
Other Characteristics of inbound marketing?
Following are the 9 characteristics of inbound marketing:
- Inbound marketing is initiated by the customer – The customers find a business through their own interest and initiate contact.
- Evergreen – Within a short span of time inbound marketing becomes an integral part of the business and because it is evergreen, it keeps generating leads for a long time.
- It is based on quality content – Content is the king when it comes to inbound marketing as the quality of content will determine your leads.
- It requires a lead magnet – Inbound marketing requires some sort of a lead magnet, which could be an eBook, white paper or even a free trial which helps in conversion.
- All about creating trust and authority – A business needs to build a brand for itself and create trust and authority among the customers.
- It requires a sales conversion – Once customers reach the business’ website, it is the sales person’s job to convert them into a lead. The only thing that should be kept in mind is to separate the jobs of these two team members – marketing and sales.
- Requires consistency in performance – Consistency is important for inbound marketing strategy, and this is what will talk about in terms of content. Content should be consistently generated, updated on regular basis and promoted.
- Requires a sales funnel – Inbound marketing campaigns are integrated into a larger sales funnel. This can be either an automated process or a manual one depending upon the nature of the business.
- It is based on lead nurturing – Inbound marketing follows a lead nurturing system, which means that customers have to be nurtured in order to convert them into buyers. A buyer needs not only to trust the product but also a business’ after-sales service and support.
When Is The Best Time to Use Inbound Marketing?
It might be a bit confusing when the best time to utilize inbound marketing is. In fact, you can use it at any point of time, but if we look at the present scenario, a business might require inbound marketing when:
A competition has entered into its market and is acquiring customers aggressively. The business wants to expand the customer base. A company wants to focus more on customer retention and less on customer acquisition. A company wants to increase its customer base.
Therefore, it is important for a business to understand the different strategies and tactics and choose the strategy that best suits their goals.
How Is Inbound Marketing Different From Other Methods?
Inbound marketing is quite different from other methods in terms of:
- Cost – Unlike other forms of marketing, inbound marketing costs nothing.
- It is an investment – Inbound marketing is a long-term investment that requires time and money.
- Activation – Other forms of marketing require some sort of activation on the part of the customer, inbound marketing doesn’t because customers initiate contact with the business.
- Communication – Inbound marketing helps to build trust and authority by providing quality content. This content helps to build a relationship with the audience and this in turn leads to communication between businesses and customers. The communication helps to understand the audience and this in turn helps a business to offer the right product.
- Lead generation – Inbound marketing follows a lead generation strategy, where leads are generated through customer engagement. An inbound marketing strategy allows businesses to generate leads at a low cost as compared to other strategies.
- Opt-in – Inbound marketing offers an opt-in approach to customers, which means that the customers have to opt-in before they will be able to receive their desired product.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing Strategy
The following are the benefits of inbound marketing strategy:
- High Response Rate – When it comes to inbound marketing, marketing and sales can work together effectively as the clients are getting in touch with businesses through methods other than cold calling.
- It is cost-effective – Inbound marketing provides a low cost-of-entry as it allows the customers to make quality contacts by providing them with quality content.
- It can be utilized by any business – According to experts, inbound marketing strategy can be used by all types of businesses, small and big. All they have to do is to focus on the organization’s goals and follow a structure that works best for them.
- Effective strategy – According to experts, it is the most effective marketing strategy because of the above-mentioned reasons.
- It has a low risk of failure – Inbound marketing goes hand-in-hand with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), both of which are tried and tested strategies that have less chances of failing.
- It brings all your departments together – It provides better integration between your business departments, particularly between marketing and sales. In doing so, a business will become more efficient and future-ready.
- It’s all about customer engagement – Inbound marketing has a strategic call-to-action (CTA), which is asking the customers to engage with the business by taking the recommended actions. This way, a business can learn more about the customer, such as what they like and don’t like, and what they need.
- Relevant – Inbound marketing uses content marketing in order to connect with customers more effectively and relevantly.
- Future-friendly – Inbound marketing strategy allows businesses to get ahead of their competitors by using this strategy. It allows them to use the latest technology to better serve their customers.
- It has a better ROI – With inbound marketing, a business is expected to respond faster and more effectively to customers. The sales can follow up more on their leads, and maximize the flow of information associated with each lead.
Inbound marketing enables a business to:
The secret behind inbound marketing is that it attracts “less qualified” customers than one tries to reach out through cold calling, but it still provides a high chance of converting customers into prospects. When a business does inbound marketing, it is expected to track the effectiveness of its marketing. When an inbound marketing strategy is implemented, it can increase the popularity of the business.
A common mistake for businesses to make when implementing inbound marketing is that they are not doing so optimally. In order to get more customers, some business managers might decide to hire all of their employees to be like salespersons. Hiring employees to be salespersons will bring about inefficiency, since not every employee will be a good fit for outbound calls and cold calling. Efficiently implementing inbound marketing involves creating a strategy. A business manager should choose how to implement its inbound marketing strategy. The strategies will depend on the various factors of the business such as its target market, number of customers, and the competition.
The proper way to develop a good inbound marketing strategy is with the help of data. Through data, businesses can find out what type of customers it has and what type of products they offer. With that information, they can create their content which will appeal to their target audience.
When inbound marketing strategies are developed, businesses can easily retain customers and create more revenue. A huge number of businesses are gaining profit through inbound marketing strategies today. This is because businesses know how to go about it really well. These are the types of strategies that help small-scale companies gain a wide audience of customers for their products/services.