By now, you’ve probably heard the term “inbound marketing.” So what’s all the hype about and how can inbound marketing help you transform your business in 2017? Native to the online world, inbound marketing is essentially just a means of enabling your brand to get found by interested prospects. How you get found is largely a matter of creating and distributing content that your audience will want to engage with. That content then nurtures relationships, turning strangers to customers.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? And it is. But here are a few even more compelling reasons to add it to your marketing mix:
1. Inbound marketing builds relationships with your customers more effectively than traditional “outbound” advertising.
As we all know, people don’t like ads. Even when they’re funny and clever, people tend to want to ignore them. Online, that becomes even easier, by installing an ad blocker. Traditional advertising is picking a fight with human nature. It tries to effectively “interrupt” someone’s day and sneak a message past their filters. Sure, it can work. But it’s costly for you, and annoying for your customers. Isn’t there a better way?
Inbound marketing gives people what they want. Rather than fighting against human nature, it works with it. People use the Internet to search for information and be entertained. Knowing that, doesn’t it make sense to give people useful information and/or entertainment?
When you give people what they’re looking for, you’re no longer an obnoxious salesperson, you’re a valuable partner. This approach lowers defenses and builds trust. In a word, it’s more “human.” The key is to invest in high quality content that genuinely provides value, not just shallow clickbait.
2. Inbound marketing is more affordable than outbound marketing.
Buying spots on radio or TV is expensive. Even PPC advertising can be expensive for certain search terms. On the other hand, A 2011 Hubspot study found that leads obtained from inbound marketing efforts cost 62% less than leads from outbound marketing efforts.
You’ll also save money by owning (or using for free) many of the content distribution channels (websites, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media channels).
When you partner with a HubSpot certified marketing agency, you’ll also save by eliminating the need to subscribe to multiple sales enablement and martech platforms. HubSpot includes over 25 apps, including a blogging platform, an email marketing tool, a web page designer, a form generation module, an easy-to-use call to action creator, social distribution and monitoring system, an analytics engine, CRM, and more.
3. Inbound marketing increases your brand equity
Following on the last point, because you own the space where your content exists, you’re increasing the value of your brand assets. Rather than a one-off campaign that only exists as long as you can afford it to, you’ve created something lasting. Over time, your websites can become popular media outlets, increasing brand equity.
4. Your content keeps working for you long after it’s published, passively generating valuable leads.
Once the content is published, it’s there to “catch” prospects into your funnel until you choose to delete it. As long as the content is still accurate and relevant, you’ll want to keep it on the web as another access point into your branded environment. The more content, the more leads! And the more valuable content, the more authority you’ll have in your market.
5. Your content can easily and affordably be tailed to your market.
No need for focus groups. A little keyword research can provide keen insights into your customers’ motivations. You’ll also learn how they talk about your products and services, so you can reflect that familiar language back at them in your content.
So if you need content ideas, start with keyword research, then create content that answers those queries. You can even learn how the search queries evolve across each stage of your sales funnel, and build content that can catch prospects at each stage.
Inbound marketing can work for any industry!
So if you’re thinking, “wait a minute, this sounds great, but what kind of content can we create about paperclips? Or tissues? Or bandages? Or…?”
We want you to know that there are numerous examples of such companies hitting it out of the park with inbound marketing. What you need are creative partners who can see the potential in your products and services, and extend that subject matter into broader areas of life.
So if you sell paperclips, maybe your content is based on tips to stay organized. If you sell bandages, your content could be about all of the fun activities where people may also be more likely to need your product: camping, skateboarding, popular kids games, etc. If you sell tissues, you could provide health related content like, “How to avoid the flu this season.” The opportunities are endless.
As you create useful and entertaining content around these broader subjects, you’re still building brand equity and nurturing leads through your funnel. You may sell unexciting products, but you can still create entertaining and useful media.
So what are you waiting for? See how you can transform your business in 2017 with inbound marketing.
Consumer51 specializes in inbound marketing and content creation. We’re a consumer experience company for today's connected world, providing brand identity management, user experience, and digital marketing solutions to select global companies. We offer strategic, consultative, and creative services for companies that understand the importance of approaching marketing from their consumers’ perspective.
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