More than likely you’ve heard of the term “inbound marketing” before, usually when marketing professionals are talking about it for a business to invest in and to have robust inbound channels that help supplement lead generation and sales numbers. However, what makes it so important and why should a business bother with such marketing? Also, what makes it different from outbound marketing and why is outbound considered to be obsolete in this day and age?
Inbound Versus Outbound
Consumers of all ages and all walks of life are using the Internet to research products online, to shop online, and to even engage with customer service with their questions and concerns online. According to Ipsos, a leading market research firm, 61 percent of global Internet users are researching products online that they wish to buy in the future. So, it’s important that a business have a very strong web presence in order to succeed by investing in a website and inbound marketing.
When most businesses are asked how they generate more leads, most often the answers are trade shows, huge email blasts, telemarketing, and traditional advertising. Unfortunately, consumers are so used to this type of marketing that they easily tune it out. Businesses need to be able to fine tune their marketing and be able to truly focus on certain target markets or their sales will continue to dwindle.
While being able to try and grab as many leads as possible, no matter their quality or if the lead was actually interested, might have worked in the past, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to grasp at straws like this. Inbound marketing allows for businesses to be found naturally by gathering already warm leads that are interested in the product or service you’re selling. However, you need to have all of the right tools in order to succeed.
The Basics of Inbound Marketing
In 2012 alone, 44 percent of shoppers first used a search engine to find what they were looking for. They didn’t reach for a newspaper, they didn’t go through their spam folder (Where most unsolicited email blasts end up), they went to the Internet (Google is the new Yellow Pages) to search for what they wanted. This number is only going to be increasing now that users have smartphones and tablets everywhere they go to do product searches.
In order to capture your target audience, you need to have a website that can be found. As HubSpot, an industry-leading online marketing solution, has explained : a business needs a website and it needs to be a destination that a customer would want to visit. Also, a business must have engaging content, optimized landing pages offering free downloads such as e-books or white papers, and always have a constant presence online. These are the basics of inbound marketing that any business needs to be investing in immediately.
What are other aspects of inbound marketing?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so you can be in front-and-center of users searching for products and services in your industry. Isn’t that better than blindly blasting out random emails to potential leads?
- Social media makes your online presence and customer experience much more memorable on mediums large amounts of people are already using, such as Facebook or Twitter. A trade show can’t compete with such numbers.
- Business blogging to make your business an industry thought leader that leads want to become customers with, and fellow businesses look up to as a great example of inbound marketing strategy.
With more and more people actively seeking what they want and ignoring all of the noise that outbound marketing creates, inbound marketing is becoming more of an attractive and affordable solution for lower sales figures any business is experiencing.
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