Looking back, we can see how during the first phase in the evolution of the Internet, Google changed forever the way we interacted with the Internet. In a short time we became accustomed to search, search and more search. As a result, our lives and businesses are now increasingly dominated by online activities.
Either coincidentally or as a direct result (I really can’t figure that one out!), consumers became tired of mass marketing – think advertising, letter boxes full of direct mail, TV and radio. Consumers learnt to switch off when messages are pushed towards them, and increasingly they don’t trust these forms of advertising. They see them as invasive and in some cases outright annoying (think cold calling!!).
Inbound marketing has matured over the last two years and can best be described as the practice of bringing warm, qualified leads into your sales funnel rather than reaching outward or broadcasting to cold, questionable targets.
Broadcast, or outbound marketing, by its nature is like using a shotgun. You aim it roughly in the right direction (i.e. the general target demographic), pull the trigger and hope that you hit the right audience. Of course, you’re also paying to hit some unwilling bystanders (non-target demographic) but that’s unavoidable. You then trust that the people you have hit will react to your efforts. Inbound marketing turns this approach upside down.
Inbound marketing involves discovering where potential customers are searching online, and then positioning yourself correctly so they’ll find you and your content, and discover whether you have what they are looking for.
Inbound marketing should be seen as an ongoing process and commitment that will be well rewarded. By developing an inbound strategy you will find a new source and connection with your customers, with results directly proportional to commitment.
We don’t recommend that inbound marketing completely replace all other forms of marketing effort but it should increasingly be considered as a crucial part of any integrated marketing campaign.
Most importantly, inbound marketing can be measured and justified by demonstrating a positive ROI. By implementing an integrated strategy you will:
- Increase brand awareness through social media, content creation and SEO
- Capture leads through attractive offers and incentives and effective landing pages
- Convert the hottest leads to customers with lead nurturing campaigns
- Continue to refine the process by analysing results and adjusting your strategy and content.
The tools and technology that drive inbound marketing have evolved in the past two years to the point that has made inbound marketing practical. Hubspot are really leading the way here.
Ultimately, inbound marketing is about building relationships. If you would like to know more about how inbound marketing can benefit your business, then why not start by downloading our free whitepaper.
About the author
Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and a new media enthusiast with a passion for spreading his knowledge and blogging. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.