This is the opposite of outbound product marketing: techniques that involve buying attention with direct mail campaigns, cold calls, television ads, telemarketing, or other traditional advertising methods.
Inbound techniques lure visitors in, rather than going out to find them. It is focused on making the company easy to find, their website easy to navigate, and their online properties compelling.
Earning Instead of Buying
What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is about earning trust, interest, time, and attention. It’s about creating something that makes people want to read, watch, or share. Earning often works better than buying. Buying attention in the form of ads, commercials, links, or other promotional materials often functions as a distraction or an interruption. For example: a commercial in the middle of television programming that irritates the viewer. Viewers see commercials as boring and unimportant (and they often use the opportunity for bathroom breaks, i.e. not for learning about a product, service, or brand). But an inbound marketing article, interactive website or video is entertainment – it is the programming. In this way, it attracts viewers and fans.
Good inbound marketing inspires positive sentiment. A potential customer who comes across a video she likes, will probably feel good about the company that made the video. She might subscribe to that video feed, share the content with her friends on social media, or write a comment expressing her feelings. The content inspires her to act socially, and it may inspire her to buy too. But buying is not the focus of the content – it’s secondary to the value the content provides. Good inbound marketing content is like honey: it attracts the consumer bees.
A good content marketing plan that attracts visitors, viewers, and sharers, has a tendency to grow organically. As viewers see the content and share it, they bring in more viewers. Those viewers see and share too, and so it goes. This organic, social media marketing growth is effective and it’s low cost. While you might spend money on content creation, that is a finite amount of money. The virality of the content is free and, with a bit of luck, it can balloon so much that it pays for itself many times over. As you can see, it’s worthwhile to invest in truly excellent content that is likely to inspire this kind of attention. Though, it is also important to remember that sometimes what goes viral is a mystery.
Converting Leads to Customers
Once visitors find their way to a business’ online property via an inbound campaign, it’s time to convert those visitors to leads and then to customers. There are many ways inbound marketers do this, including: email list sign-up prompts, live chat, landing pages with targeted promotional codes and sales, social media engagement, and more. Most strategies involve recording the visitor’s information in some way so that marketers can contact them in the future, evaluate their demographic information, or otherwise analyze their behaviors.
Still not clear on inbound marketing? Contact us today. Visually’s global team can come up with a strategy that works for you.