Should You be Using Inbound Marketing?

A few years ago there was a big debate around inbound vs. outbound marketing.  As with most of these debates the fresh and new inbound marketing was seen as the new king and of course outbound marketing was dead, because apparently every marketing strategy ‘dies’ at least once (or quite a few times in the case of SEO).  Regardless of the fate that befell outbound marketing (it really isn’t dead!), inbound marketing has proven itself to be a highly valuable and cost effective strategy especially for smaller businesses that have a minimal marketing budget.

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Is inbound marketing the right strategy for you?

So What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a form of marketing where instead of trying to push your product in front of people to make them buy it you try and get them to find you.  Outbound marketing on the other hand is where you do try to force your product down peoples’ throats in an attempt to get them to buy it.  Inbound marketing utilises the vast number of different channels that are available on the internet now, such as; search engines (SEO & PPC), social media, blogs and content that is in some way helpful or useful to people.  The reasons that inbound marketing has become one of the most favoured methods of marketing is due to the increase in choice with a higher number of businesses providing similar services, the ease with which people can use search engines to find what they are looking for and because buyers are tuning out of traditional outbound marketing.  When was the last time you actually paid attention to an ad on TV?  Or took any notice of that billboard that you drive past every day?

Inbound marketing is an attempt to move away from traditional marketing, which has been well and truly sussed out by everyone.  Inbound marketing is a more refreshing outlook on marketing that looks to provide as much information about your products or services as well as employing other methods to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.  On top of this inbound marketing consists of brands getting involved in the community to provide that little something extra free of charge.

What are the Benefits?

Well first and foremost of its benefits is the cost, inbound marketing costs around 60% less than outbound marketing (according to research carried out by Hubspot), but can very easily be free on a smaller scale.  Whilst this is the benefit that will make most peoples ears prick up, there are some other advantages to carrying out inbound marketing.  One positive aspect is that because the customer has found you them self, instead of you jumping out at them when they weren’t looking for what you provide, they feel more confident that you can be trusted.  This trust can be built further if it is apparent that you are more involved in the community and are interacting with customers instead of purely providing a service or product for money.

In my opinion the major benefit of inbound marketing is the shift in mentality that it causes.  With outbound marketing you are, as previously mentioned, concerned mainly with shouting in as many peoples’ faces as possible about your product or service.  Whereas with inbound marketing, because you are trying to attract customers to you, the mindset becomes completely different.  All of a sudden the needs of the customer become your main concern again, instead of thinking ‘what can I say to make people want to buy this,’ you start to think ‘what else can I provide to potential or existing customers that will be of benefit to them.’  This then means that people will see you brand in a far better light and the more things that you give to people the more trust they will have in you as a brand that wants to help them.

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What is the Best Approach to Inbound Marketing?

That is a difficult question to answer!  The internet is a big place, which means that there are many different channels and methods of targeting the people you want to reach, as well as other considerations such as what you are selling and to whom.  So whilst I can’t give a definitive answer to how you should approach inbound marketing, I can provide you with some guidelines to keep in mind, for example:

  • Have value to people
    • Answers to common questions
    • How-to videos
    • Educational ebooks
  • Be Generous
    • The more you give the more you get
    • build trust, credibility and good will
  • Give Clear Direction
    • Obvious calls to action
    • Relevant landing pages
    • Compelling offers

Search engine marketing (Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimisation) is arguably the best method of inbound marketing. Get yourself on to the first page of Google for terms and people will come to your site, which is the first step to getting them to convert! To be successful with search engine marketing PPC is your best bet as it is by far the most efficient way of getting to the first page of Google as SEO is not guaranteed to be successful and can take far more time and effort to achieve. For a successful PPC campaign you need to figure out the terms that people search for to find your products/services and combine them with adverts that entice them to come to your site.

So is Inbound Marketing Something You Should be Doing?

As with most marketing strategy it is a case of different horses for different courses.  There is no definitive answer as to whether inbound marketing is the best strategy for you.  Having said that it is a far cheaper method of marketing than other strategies, and with the right approach can be highly effective.  All you have to keep in mind is customer engagement.  The more you interact with customers and potential customers the more business you will generate as people feel that they can trust someone more if they feel like they know someone.

If you have any questions regarding inbound marketing or how you could implement a strategy for your business then please contact me on 01480 878 510 or at [email protected]

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Ben Joy
I have spent over 5 years studying marketing strategies across consumer and business fields. I have worked within retail and manufacturing and this experience has provided me with a broad range of marketing experience.