In the irksome sea of marketing techniques, there is one that you -at least- should be aware of: Inbound Marketing.
Is it something really new? Well, the concept appeared in 1999 in the book ‘Permission Marketing’, written by Seth Godin. If recalling correctly (again, we might not), ‘Inbound Marketing’ as a term was coined by HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan around 2007 and became popular around 2012.
What is Inbound Marketing?
A simple definition (there are too many out there):
“Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, via content creation, before they are even ready to buy”.
Inbound marketing is the art of using engaging and creative content to attract visitors and quality sales lead to a website; it brings people to your website not directly to your physical store, if any.
When people go online and use any search engine, they search for a variety of things. E.g. some visitors would want to know how certain things are done or how they come about: a potential visitor could search “how to convert a pdf document to word” or a visitor would like to solve a specific problem an example of such a search could be “how to reset the Samsung Galaxy s7”. When an individual performs a search online, powerful algorithms scan through millions of web pages that possess the keywords the search term contains and makes available the most relevant results on the first page.
Inbound marketing, therefore, is about providing useful content in a specific industry that helps online visitors and in doing so, make the website an authority in that type of niche or industry. When a website becomes the go-to place for all important information for a specific industry or market vertical, then trust is built which can be translated into leads and eventually sales.
The art of helping your clients with important tips, research and data are essentially what inbound marketing is about. For example, a hair and beauty salon that wants to rank highly on search engines for the term “beauty” can create content on their website with topics such as “How to Deal with Acne Once and For All” or “Lifetime Anti-Aging Beauty Tips”. If you get all your information about visiting London and what to do there with your kids from a specific Travel Agency’s website, isn’t it likely that you will also trust to buy your air-tickets and hotel accommodations from them?
Obviously, providing relevant and essential information pertaining to your expertise and industry (so that ‘targeted customers’ can locate your website) is of paramount importance in Inbound Marketing.
A simple Inbound Marketing example.
It is imperative that a website for a business
- becomes a multi-dimensional tool that tells the customer about the business and also
- serves as a ‘resource database’ for information relating to the niche the business is operating in.
Inbound marketing is what makes the difference so that website do not serve as virtual billboards for businesses but an active extension of the business and a marketing tool for attracting customers.
This ability to adopt and incorporate inbound marketing into the marketing efforts of a business is what makes a difference between a business that is doing OK to a rock star business that attract customers. Hopefully, you can imagine what a comprehensive and in-depth inbound marketing can do for your business.
Let us analyse the example of Mark, a personal trainer
Mark is a personal trainer who works with middle-aged men and women in achieving their weight loss target. Mark performs a training session with each client three times a week. After every training session, he gives his clients personalized dieting tips so they achieve their desired weight goal. These dietary tips Mark offer are effective and his clients start seeing changes from implementing them alongside their regular exercise schedules. Mark provides dietary advice in an informal way and does not necessarily document what he tells his clients nor is any relevant information to be found at his website.
Q: Is Mark implementing inbound marketing tactics informally?
Q: Can he go the extra mile of documenting his well-researched and proven tips on his website?
Now imagine if Mark had updated his website with information on dieting and exercise with blog posts, images, videos and quality external links- his clients then, they will not have a problem when they forget a dieting tip.
Also with such rich content, his website is likely to grow and becomes an authoritative source for advice on health and fitness for middle age people (or whatever market segment he goes after).
Inbound marketing techniques keep visitors coming to your website for more. The algorithms of search engines are built on trust and reputation and how much other websites are linking to you.
Problems with Inbound Marketing.
Keep in mind that Google -and possibly Bing (Yahoo Search is based on Bing)- gives a high priority on Content Quality in its search rankings.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers are producing a huge amount of subpar content and that results to low-quality leads. So, the internet is overpopulated with ‘junkish information’ and that make sit tough even for quality-focused content to compete with tat ‘junkish noise’.
FYI: it is estimated that today, close to 90% of all marketers are ‘practicing’ Inbound Marketing!
Rule of Thumb: ‘the more brands that churn out content, ads, and social campaigns, the less effective inbound becomes for everyone’.
Inbound Marketing is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to convert strangers into customers and promoters of your business.
Highly optimised inbound marketing tactics must ultimately transform visitors of a website into leads. Some of these leads end up becoming customers because they derive long term value from visiting a website. The more valuable the inbound content, the more visitors and sales leads a business generates.
It’s up to you to turn ‘strangers’ into known prospects over time, and in best-case scenarios, loyal customers and advocates of your brand.
Kwaku and Spiros
© 2018 Kweku Abedi & Spiros Tsaltas and © 2018 HireLoyalty