What is Inbound Marketing?

As a marketer, you must have heard a lot about inbound marketing. If you are involved in digital marketing, you are already doing inbound marketing but I see a lot of digital marketers ask what is inbound marketing and how it works.

Traditional marketing is all about using techniques to reach your target audience such as billboards, TV ads, etc. These techniques were working pretty well but then digital marketing changed everything. The demand for content compelled marketers to produce quality content for their audience. This is what inbound marketing is all about – creating and publishing quality content for your audience. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

It is a marketing methodology that focuses on creating valuable content to attract your target audience. The idea is to help your ideal customers find your company via content. This is the opposite of traditional marketing where your marketing message interrupts your audience. Inbound marketing relies purely on solving your customer’s issues and persuading them to connect with your company:

inbound vs outbound marketing

It focuses on growing your business by developing relationships with your audience with the help of content. How is it done?

By three key marketing channels:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Search engine optimization
  3. Social media marketing.

You’ll use these channels to drive traffic to your website, convert visitors into leads, and build a relationship with your customers. Inbound marketing has three phases:

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Delight.
inbound marketing methodology

It is all about attracting your target audience with content, engaging them so that they convert, and helping them achieve success with your product that leads to delight.

Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing

inbound vs outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing and is usually referred to as traditional marketing or interruption marketing. It uses traditional marketing techniques that are interruptive and pushy. 

Think of TV ads. They interrupt you in the middle of your favorite TV show. The same is the case with cold calls, these are interruptive marketing techniques that don’t consider your willingness.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, avoids hard selling. It attracts customers by writing and publishing helpful content. The content isn’t interruptive rather, your target audience finds the content with its will (and need), interacts with it, and then engages with your company.

These differences make inbound marketing different yet opposite of outbound marketing.

Why Inbound Marketing

What is so special about it that you have to switch to it and leave outbound marketing? Is it really better than conventional marketing?

Here is an overview of the key benefits and features of inbound marketing that make it a must-have:

  • It is cost-effective and way cheaper than traditional marketing. It costs 62% less per lead than traditional marketing. This reduces your overall marketing expenses.
  • Inbound marketing generates high quality traffic and leads. If you want to drive targeted traffic to your website, you need inbound marketing. Businesses that blog generate 55% more traffic than businesses that don’t. This shows the importance of content and how it is linked to traffic generation.
  • It improves credibility and trust. Research shows that 85% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. This means it is a lot easier to reach your target audience via the internet and content because your audience is already searching for potential solutions to its problems. When your audience sees your content over and over again, it boosts your brand’s credibility and develops trust.
  • When you publish quality content consistently (as part of an inbound marketing strategy), you become an authority. Search Engine Journal, for example, is an authority in the SEO industry. you can’t deny its repute. And it has developed this authority by publishing top-quality content on SEO.
  • It is reported to increase ROI. As much as 41% of marketers say that inbound marketing generates measurable ROI for their business and 82% of businesses that blog see positive ROI. If you are interested in boosting ROI, you must switch to inbound marketing.
  • Overall, inbound marketing is more effective than outbound marketing in terms of lead generation (54% more lead), conversion rate (double website conversion rate), and savings ($14 saving per newly acquired customer).

How Inbound Marketing Works

Yes, it sounds amazing and if you are ready to get started with inbound marketing, you must know how it works. It has a three-step process:

inbound marketing stages

1. Attract

This is the first stage of the inbound marketing methodology that involves attracting your target audience or ideal customers. This involves creating and publishing content. You must have a clearly defined content marketing strategy that identifies goals and target audience.

You’ll need to identify appropriate keywords that your target audience uses. The best idea is to create buyer personas which are semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. It includes all the necessary details about your target audience such as interests, demographics, challenges, etc.

Here is how a buyer persona looks like:

buyer persona template

You need to identify content ideas, content types, and publishing channels to create and publish content that your ideal customers will love.

2. Engage

This is the stage where you have to engage with your leads. Once visitors are attracted to your website and engage with your content, you have to make sure they convert.

This stage involves engaging with both leads and customers.

But the key purpose here is to produce content that your leads and ideal customers find extremely helpful that they’re left with no other choice but to become your customer.

Here are the key content types that you need to create to boost engagement:

  • Lead magnets
  • Ebooks and white papers
  • Guides
  • Case studies
  • Tutorials
  • Webinars
  • Email courses.

The idea is to show your ideal customers how your product helps them solve their core issues.

3. Delight

This is the last stage that ensures customers are happy and satisfied with your company and product after they have purchased and used the product. The idea of this stage is to convert customers into repeat buyers and loyal customers.

Creating referral programs and rewarding your customers with exclusive offers and discounts are the major ways to make them happy. You must focus on retaining customers and increasing average order value as increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%. 

Besides, if you delight your customers, they’re more likely to become your brand advocates and active promoters.

What’s better?

Final Words

Inbound marketing is amazing. It delivers exceptional results that you won’t get with traditional marketing. If you aren’t using inbound marketing yet, it is time to switch to it.

Where do you get started?

You already know what is inbound marketing, the next step is to start creating and publishing quality content.

Simple, right?

Get started now…

Featured Image: Pexels

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