Regardless of the size of the business and the service or products they offer, every business needs marketing. But marketing today is not as it was a decade ago. Banners, print newspaper advertisements, flyers, direct emails etc. which are called outbound marketing, have become quite yesterday. Now is the age of Inbound marketing. But before we get into why this change has occurred, let us what inbound marketing really is.
In layman’s terms, inbound marketing is simply focusing on creating customer interest naturally into your services through valuable information aka content. While outbound marketing aims at talking about their particular brand’s product or service, inbound tries to generate the customer’s interest into the articular category of service or product and then give them reason to choose their brand through soft advertising. Inbound too aims to increase conversion rate. But the approach to do so is different from outbound marketing that uses forceful imposition of product or service quality and features on the customer.
Inbound Marketing was coined by Hotspot in 2006 and was divided into 4 steps : Attract, convert, close and Delight. Starting with using your content to attract the consumers, converting them as leads through collecting emails and phone numbers by offering the information they want, turning them into customers with tactics like backlinking, targeted and soft advertising, and keeping your customers happy with good information as well as services.
The backbone of inbound marketing is content. It can be in any form, video, blog, animation, infographics and so much more. With specific and targeted tools, the quality of content is enhanced in the direction of a your business particularly.
What It Entails
Inbound marketing is a broad approach. It aims to optimise and create content that their prospect or current customers want to read about regarding their field. For example, if a brand sells pillows and rugs, it can generate content related to interior decor, cloth materials, home textiles in a broad sense and everything even remotely related to pillows.
The next question to pop up would be what exactly is content? Well, anything you find online, is content. Podcasts, videos, blogs, articles, e-books, newsletters, webinars, they’re all content.
Inbound marketing entails tracking your own content along with others to find out the trend and following the stats of that trend to be able to provide the right information to the right readers. Inbound marketing believes and process that readers become customers and thus focuses on making their readers happy through qualitative and easily accessible content.
Finding what is working for your brand and service is a difficult task but there are hundreds of tools designed specifically to help you see where your content is taking the connection you aim to build with your customers.
Why The Paradigm Shift?
While the term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2006, the tactics have been around for a little earlier than that. This shift from outbound marketing to inbound came out of necessity. Outbound marketing essentially includes forcefully pushing the services and products on the customers, which did not bring about the growth it was expected to and instead, in some cases, drove the traffic away. Thus there was a need to change this approach into something that could sync with the consumers’ natural interest instead of forcing them into a direction they don’t intend to go. This aves both parties time as well as effort and thus is more efficient.
From bullish to interest driven, marketing has covered a long journey towards a more successful and efficient approach of inbound marketing. But inbound marketing is itself filled with so many details and complexities. Thus finding a good inbound marketing service provider has become an important part of every business strategy to ensure business growth of any industry or sector.