Inbound Marketing – Cost Effective Venture Strategy To Boost Sales
INBOUND MARKETING – NEW SOLUTION TO OLD PROBLEM
Inbound marketing has become one of the most used buzzwords in the marketing world today. Although the marketing playbook has certainly changed a lot in the last ten years with the internet revolution, the online marketing battle has escalated to generate high-quality leads and gain customers, contrary to popular belief, the term inbound marketing might be much older than we presume.
It is a widely accepted fact that the creator of HubSpot, Brian Halligan, coined the term inbound marketing but some marketing experts like Peter F. Drucker claim that the concept itself emerged in the 1950s and 60s when the rapidly growing awareness of just how important market research and identifying (and quantifying) customer interests were becoming apparent. In the 1960s, major US companies, like General Electric, recognized just how valuable customer opinions and preferences are in all stages of product development.
WHAT EXACTLY IS INBOUND MARKETING?
Inbound marketing is a strategy, instead of interruption, Inbound is about educating and empowering potential customers. Halligen calls inbound marketing "extreme personalization“ and "the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your venture“.
Back in the day, it was all about spending good old cash on advertising, tradeshows, flyers, cold calls and direct mail with promotional marketing or, as it is collectively called, outbound marketing.
Today, both advertisers and online marketers bombard customers with thousands of advertising messages a day, their attention span is drastically shorter and the way they shop and interact has moved from the real world to the online one. So it was only natural that marketing tools also had to change and adapt to this new reality. Venture strategies have reciently incorporated new tactics and new platforms which are much more cost effective. Automated online Inbound marketing was born.
Inbound marketing is online specific and it uses a combination of tightly integrated marketing strategies. Instead of buying expensive display ads and bearing the cost of cold calling, inbound marketers start by blogging and focus on getting found by customers. Inbound marketers draw customers in through search engine optimization (SEO), social media, video clips, social bookmarking, keywords, forums, and direct / referral links. In short, it relies on free web traffic sources to get customers to approach businesses, not vice versa. It is customer-focused and customer-friendly.
THREE REASONS WHY INBOUND MARKETING SHOULD BE YOUR PREFERRED CHOICE
Cost-effective: In this day and age, inbound marketing is no longer a choice but a necessity. It is one of those powerhouse tools that can give you the desired result at a fraction of the cost of classic outbound marketing. Inbound marketing agencies can handle the bulk of the work for you. The fact remains that content publishing tools are inexpensive compared to old-fashioned marketing strategies. Even Google has recognized this and has changed its algorithms: giving preference to educational content over paid content.
There are no ’big boys’ (or fierce competitors) – The beauty of inbound marketing is that it is at everybody’s disposal. There are no challenges and substantial costs that come with breaking into a huge market because it all hinges on how appealing your online content is to customers. In the world of inbound marketing, size really doesn’t matter. It is all about building trust between you and customers, and creating content that is useful to them in a professional and well-informed manner that enhances your customers brand experience. Instead of calling a sales rep to get information, customers are now only a click away from accessing a huge pool of information that can be generated and controlled by you.
High quality leads – The quality of leads generated as a result of inbound marketing is much higher than the quality of those generated through outbound marketing. How so? Simply put, when you allign your content with your customer’s preferences, the quality of your leads grows because you have adapted and adjusted your messages to better suit your customer’s specific needs. You can use inbound marketing tools such as forms, landing pages or calls-to-action to convert visitors to your website into leads and subsequently those leads into loyal customers. For instance, research has shown that over 60% of companies find social media to be a much more effective platform to engage customers than the usual lead generation methods.
Last but not least, inbound marketing is a great tool to track your results in real time. Do you want to know how many visitors your Facebook posts or tweets generated, or which keywords brought the best leads, or which blog post got the highest number of call-to-action clicks? You can even know what posts a proespect has read and qualify that lead before passing them onto your sales team for that first sales call. Because inbound marketing is digital, its metrics are extremely measurable.
We’ll leave you with a few statistics to ponder over in order to drive the message of the necessity of inbound marketing home.
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases (Source: Retailing Today, 2014);
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases (Source: Engine Land, 2014);
- Mobile commerce makes up 30% of all U.S. e-commerce (Source: Internet Retailer, 2015);
- 65% of smartphone users say that they search for the most relevant information on their smartphones regardless of the company providing the information.
- Currently, 2.6 billion people use smartphones. It has been estimated that this number will have grown to 6.1 billion by 2020. (Sources: Google and TechCrunch, 2015).