Inbound marketing is about developing a marketing strategy that not only works for you, the business owner, but also works for the potential customer by providing them with entertaining and engaging content.
One of the main features of inbound marketing is the voluntary participation of the customer. Rather than you interrupting them to sell your message, they should be coming to you to hear it. It sounds tricky but it isn’t. All it takes is some research and organisation.
The HubSpot flywheel – Attract, Engage, Delight – is a great visual explanation of the three fundamental features of inbound marketing.
Digital marketing, in simple terms, is any form of marketing that occurs online. The first stage of being a successful business owner is accepting that digital marketing is the new mode of marketing and without it, any business will suffer.
Digital marketing encompasses a variety of marketing strategies from pay-per-click to email marketing. Inbound is just one aspect of digital marketing and, we would argue, should be the very first step a business takes when launching its digital marketing strategy.
Content creation, through blog posts, infographics and promotional material, increases a website’s SEO whilst also conveying the company’s personality and ethos. Having a consistent and engaging blog firmly establishes the company as an influential and authoritative figure within the industry. It builds trust and confidence. That is the power of the written word – provided content is well-written.
Some might argue that social media marketing is more important than inbound marketing as a company’s first step into the digital world. However, a good social media strategy is reliant on the existence of good content. Inbound lays the foundation for a social media presence.
Another key aspect of inbound is its affordability. Indeed, any business owner could start writing a regular blog and post it on their website and voila, they have initiated an inbound strategy for no cost at all.
Obviously, this is not possible for all business owners, but content creation can still be inexpensive when you use an external party. The cost of an inbound strategy can be as high or as low as you want it to be, depending on your desired outcome.
If you want the outcome of your marketing strategy to be the immediate arrival of new customers then an inbound strategy encompassing content creation, discounts, and customer registration would be appropriate.
If you want to build a relationship with previous customers or establish yourself as a trustworthy and influential brand in your industry, then perhaps an engaging blog and a vibrant social media presence will be all you require.
In January of 1996, Bill Gates declared in an essay that content is “where much of the real money will be made on the internet” and over the last two decades he has been proven right.
Whether it be blog posts, memes, gifs, pictures, vlogs or any other format, content populates the internet. The most popular websites around are generally sites used to host and organise that content for us.
Whilst huge amounts of this content are irresistibly engaging and delightful, even larger amounts are sub-par and fail to attract.
Inbound operates as a feedback mechanism:
This adds an element of risk to an inbound strategy but, as all business owners know, what is business without risk?
Finding a good digital marketing agency can help mitigate that risk so be sure to do your research before you step into the world of inbound marketing.
Maintain your business’ personality throughout your blog posts. Clients should be able to detect the ethos and vision of your business through your blog posts.