If you’re looking to grow your business in 2020 and beyond, dull-scale, direct advertising may not be something that’ll work.
Because pretty much everyone is trying to be the loudest one in the room, and as a result, are driving customers away. To them, your ad on TV, Radio, or even the internet is just another interruption they’d gladly pay to eliminate.
Why do you think Adblockers and streaming sites like Netflix became so popular?
Truth be told, having a stellar product isn’t enough these days. You also need a solid marketing strategy to get the message out to people who are looking for your product or services.
And for that, inbound marketing is 100% the way to go!
Inbound marketing is a strategy of naturally attracting new business through the use of content, SEO, social media, and more.
But would this form of marketing be the right choice for your business? Keep on reading to find out!
Table of Contents
Inbound marketing vs. Outbound marketing: What’s the difference?
Outbound marketing constitutes all the efforts involved in “going out” to try and find customers.
In a way, we can say that most ‘traditional marketing methodologies’ can be classified into outbound. TV and radio ads, newspaper classifieds, Facebook, and Google ads, are all outbound marketing methodologies.
And not to forget cold emails, cold-calling, and door-to-door advertising (which is probably the most despised of them all). This form of marketing isn’t as effective anymore in 2020 because of three reasons:
1. It’s hard to reach the ideal audience when you’re broadcasting everywhere
2. Traditional advertising cost has shot through the roof due to high competition
3. People have seen and heard everything!
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a more subtle form of advertising that’s designed to appeal to, and draw in a specific targeted demographic.
As a result, you get more potential customers, and that too without excessively pitching your brand and product in the hopes that some will convert.
Inbound marketing simply works better because it aims to provide value, increase reach, drive qualified organic traffic, and then gain engagement and conversions.
Since your approach is non-salesy, you’ll naturally end up in the good books of your potential customers.
But we don’t mean to say that outbound marketing is bad, or it doesn’t work. Oh, it does, but you’ll need a bigger budget to get any result.
And in the case of most small and medium businesses, the marketing budget serves as the “elephant in the room” that needs to be addressed first.
The inbound marketing methodology
If we had to break down the concept of inbound marketing, we’d get four distinct steps through which strangers turn into visitors; visitors turn into leads; leads turn into customers; customers turn into the promoters of your brand.
And the four steps are – Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.
1. Attract: to attract the right kind of audience to your website, you must publish compelling content that answers the question they have on their minds.
2. Convert: after you’ve helped your audience with valuable content, you can get their contact details with the help of optimized landing pages and call to action buttons. You can give away a free e-book or case studies in exchange for their contact information.
3. Close: once your potential customers have gotten a taste of your freebie, it’s time to deploy lead nurturing, follow-up, and sales tactics to transform those leads into paying customers.
4. Delight: now, this is one area where even the most experienced marketers screw up! Your job is not complete when you make a sale; you still have to take steps to delight existing customers. So, keep publishing, and also share content that helps them better understand and use your product.
Some inbound marketing examples
Now that you know the definition of inbound marketing let’s get into some examples.
- Blogs posted on your website to solve a particular problem
- Social media posts that are meant to inform, entertain, and delight your audience
- eBook giveaways as lead magnets
- Some industry case studies
- Ranking posts through search engine optimization to bring in natural leads
- Webinars, how-to video guides, white papers
There’s no need for you to do everything to run successful inbound marketing campaigns.
You have to figure out where your target market hangs out and which form of content they’ll respond to.
How to start inbound marketing?
If you’re a small or a medium scale business owner, the right inbound marketing strategies can prove to be a blessing.
Not only will you be able to attract more business by spending fewer dollars, but also retain more customers for continual, steady growth.
Also, keep in mind that implementing the right stack of inbound marketing tools will prove to upscale your strategy.
Here’s how you can get started:
The first step (quite naturally) is research.
The goal here is to identify your target market and learn everything about them, starting from their name, age, and location, to their income, hobbies, and underlying fears. You can’t create content that will appeal to your audience unless you know what they care about.
Create a unique, compelling story around THEIR problem, not yours. That is the way to make sure that your audience will listen to you.
Choose your content delivery platform – blogging, videos, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Pick one where your target audience hangs out and focus on delivering massive value.
It’s crucial to create a schedule that will allow you to deliver engaging, fresh, and relevant content consistently. Creating content is not all about investing more; it is instead about commitment and how you can put your creativity to use.
Valuable content educates your audience, gets them talking and sharing with their peers. And as a result, you get more reach, brand authority, leads, and ultimately, more customers.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to inbound content marketing than what we can discuss here, but you get the gist.
How much does inbound marketing cost?
Inbound marketing can cost as much, or as little as you like.
Sure, there is undoubtedly a correlation between bigger marketing spend and getting more leads, but it isn’t as proportional as it is with outbound marketing. That’s because of its passive nature.
Imagine you write a killer 4500-word article on how to start a Shopify store under $300, and the article goes on to become the world’s best resource on the topic.
That content could stay ranked #1 on Google’s search results for many years to come, bringing you ROI at a magnitude you never expected!
Unlike paid ads on Facebook or Google, your income doesn’t stop the moment you stop feeding the ad budget. So, you can keep on earning money for years to come.
Inbound marketing is a long-term game, and the costs involved will vary greatly depending on the strategies you pick and how soon you want to see results.
Here are some facts stating how inbound marketing is more cost-effective than outbound marketing:
Mashable reports that the cost of 3 out of 4 channels for inbound marketing is less than the cost of an outbound marketing channel.
Hubspot says that the cost of inbound leads is 61% less on an average than outbound leads.
According to Kapost, inbound marketing can yield 3 times as many leads per dollar than traditional outbound methods.
Gartner says that inbound tactics, when properly executed, can effectively convert leads 10 times better than outbound methods.
HubSpot found that inbound marketing can double your website’s conversion rate, in a study in which the conversions went from 6% to 12%.
Eloqua claims that the average cost per lead drops by as much as 80% after consistent inbound marketing efforts for five months.
Tracking your ROI and the importance of analysis
Monitoring the impact of inbound marketing that can clearly demonstrate ROI isn’t the easiest thing to do. What you have to do is be clear from the beginning and define which metrics to track.
Having set a solid content marketing plan from the beginning can work miracles!
Let’s say you cannot track the number of leads generated directly from the campaign.
Still, you can track the number of downloads of your resources, how many new followers you gained, the average watch time of your video, the total number of Add-to-Carts, etc.
When you’re planning the campaign, be clear on what you’re trying to achieve and measure that metric honestly.
That way, your expectations will be set, and you’ll likely meet them. Remember – no inbound marketing campaign has ever become successful overnight.
It takes time to plan, implement, analyze, and refine the tactics that make your campaign a success. And the process can get labor intensive too, needing designers, content creators, outreach personnel, social media marketers, etc. to get started.
According to the State of Inbound 2018 research by Hubspot most companies admitted that the highest ROI came from inbound marketing strategies.
We understand inbound marketing and use fresh tactics that bring us and our clients’ new business every day.
We are able to make our clients succeed because we put the time and effort necessary to create an evergreen campaign that’s set to offer value and generate ROI for the foreseeable future.
If you’d like to work with us, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll be back with more value-packed posts soon!