We all know that the way consumers research and buy products/services have significantly changed over the past decade. New consumer behaviors have altered the way that businesses must market themselves in order to effectively reach their customers. Traditional marketing (a.k.a. outbound) has been pushed aside with a more targeted, cost effective strategy called inbound marketing.
If you’re a marketer or part of a small business wearing multiple hats, you’re likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the term and/or concept of inbound marketing. Its definition is:
A set of marketing activities that earn the attention of customers through relevant, engaging and timely content, which make the organization stand out and easy to be found.
While the successful execution of inbound marketing is becoming more critical in order to ensure customers are reached before competition, it’s an area that many organizations are still struggling to perfect. For many, this type of marketing is being learned through trial and error since experience and formal education on this topic are minimal. Up until recently, traditional marketing dominated most marketers’ careers and inbound marketing was not a concept taught in school.
Fortunately, because inbound marketing has created a lot of hype, there are plenty of books and conferences available for marketing teams to strengthen their knowledge. HubSpot’s annual Inbound Conference generated over 14,000 global attendees just a few months ago. There’s also learning tools specifically for digital marketing and social media. Before investing time and money in these learning tools, it’s helpful to know the basics:
Inbound marketing is not the same as digital marketing. Digital marketing is a category of channels (email, social media, web). Inbound marketing is the content and strategy that relies heavily on the digital marketing channels to deliver its content to customers.
Inbound marketing uses analytics to customize and adjust content. Marketing analytics help provide insight on how your customers are accessing your content and which materials they’re favoring. This information helps you to continue to improve your inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is not a trend. Inbound marketing is here to stay. As technology continues to advance, there will be new channels that can deliver, but the strategy itself will not go away. If you haven’t already, you need to come up with a plan for creating and executing an inbound marketing strategy.
Unlike traditional marketing, inbound marketing doesn’t interrupt customers. Inbound marketing is not annoying or intrusive. Instead, it’s interesting and informative – providing customers with the information that they’re seeking. It’s there for customers when they want it vs. in their face when they don’t. And, because of these traits, inbound marketing is almost always more effective than traditional marketing.
A lot has changed in the last decade. Inbound marketing has changed the way customers expect to do business with you. It’s also the forecaster for the marketing in the future. The need for providing convenient information to customers will not go away. This will continue to be what helps increase sales and grow your business.
So, if you haven’t already, embrace inbound marketing - and have fun with it. Inbound marketing is here to stay.
For help with inbound marketing at your organization, contact Break Ice Marketing.