Marketing isn’t as easy as it once was.
Today’s consumers are savvy. They don’t fall for the same old bag of tricks, gimmicks and sales pitches, and they know their worth. They’re willing to do their own research, wait for the right time to buy, and really make an organization work for their hard-earned dollars and business.
Because of this, marketers are having to change their strategy. Gone are the days of cold calling and shouting promotions from the rooftops. Customers today expect something more intimate—more valuable.
In a nutshell? They expect something like inbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
A term coined by HubSpot, inbound marketing turns traditional marketing methods on their head. Instead of pointing strategic efforts outward, pushing sales jargon and hard pitches onto the customer, inbound marketing focuses on bringing customers inward, using content that empowers them, educates them and, ultimately, converts them.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, 71 percent of marketers across the world say they “primarily conduct inbound marketing”—and it’s no wonder why. Just five months of inbound marketing can cut your cost per lead by 80 percent and make you 10 times more likely to convert those leads into real, paying customers.
In a world in which 70 percent of marketers say “converting leads to customers” is their absolute biggest priority, inbound marketing is just what many companies need to meet their goals—both in sales and in revenues.
Why Inbound Marketing?
Statistics aside, inbound marketing provides some serious—and tangible—benefits for brands that use it. Some are longer term, like improved search rankings and more brand trust, but others are felt immediately, like increased visibility and more clout in the industry.
Here are just a few of the many benefits inbound marketing can offer a brand:
- It improves your search rankings—and as a result, traffic and leads.
Inbound marketing calls for serious content creation. Blogs, articles, white papers, ebooks, social media posts, you name it, they’re all a part of a solid inbound strategy. And each of these new content pieces adds more fuel to the SEO fire, offering another URL to index, more keywords to crawl, more meta tags to read, etc.
If that content is valuable to readers and, most importantly, optimized for SEO, it can make a serious impact on your search rankings—and not just rankings of the content itself, either. More quality content means a better site ranking on the whole and, as a result, more traffic and qualified leads as well. It’s a win-win any way you look at it.
- It establishes you as an expert in your field.
Content certainly improves your SEO, but it also gives you the opportunity to show off your expertise—to make your team’s experience, knowledge and training well-known on the web and across the world. With enough quality content, your brand becomes a veritable expert in your field, someone customers—and other companies—can turn to when they have a need, question or concern.
Quality content is also shareable. It’s posted on Facebook, retweeted on Twitter and emailed to colleagues throughout companies and across geographic boundaries. This can expand your brand’s reach and boost its reputation as an industry expert far and wide.
- It increases brand awareness and visibility.
A big part of inbound marketing is content amplification—not just creating your content, but making sure it gets seen by people and, most importantly, by the right kinds of people (i.e., qualified leads). It encourages strong use of social media, blogging, email campaigns and more—all methods that improve your brand’s visibility and get your name out there.
Some of these methods, like social media, for example, offer increased awareness twofold: once when you post the content (and every time after) and then again when people comment on it, share it, retweet it or otherwise interact with the content. This exposes additional social circles to the content, thus creating a snowball effect of visibility that increases leads and improves content ROI infinitely.
- It encourages more long-term, repeat customer relationships.
Since inbound marketing focuses on providing value, it not only attracts new leads and customers; it can also help keep your old ones happier and around for longer. One of the four main steps of inbound marketing is the “delight” phase, in which you aim to over-deliver on your customer’s expectations. Enough “delighting,” and you’ve got customers for life. That means more sales and less time spent on marketing and other sales efforts in the long-term.
Another added bonus? Happier customers are more likely to recommend you to their friends and loved ones. They’re more likely to share your content on social media. They’re more likely to give you a positive review on Google or Yelp. Again, it’s a snowball effect that only means positive things for your brand.
- It creates trust.
Outbound marketing has always felt a little dirty. Pushy salespeople and cutthroat marketers made it quite obvious what they were after: customers’ pocketbooks. That didn’t exactly endear trust with brands.
Inbound marketing, however, takes a different approach—one that provides value first, before ever taking a penny from the customer. From the get-go, the customer sees the brand as a resource—a source of information, knowledge and, often, assistance with a difficult hurdle or challenge they’re facing in their life or career. Customers are much more likely—and willing—to part with their money when they know it’s in the right hands.
The Influence of Inbound
There’s no doubt inbound is the marketing way of the future. It’s what customers expect, and it’s what delivers the best results, the highest ROI and the lowest cost per lead for businesses.
Want to hop on the inbound marketing bandwagon and make your brand known? Enlist a HubSpot partner like Outlet Creative Group. Trained by the founders of inbound marketing themselves, our team can put your organization on the path to full-scale marketing success.