Inbound marketing is about publishing useful content for free for your current and potential customers.
The daily and weekly routines of inbound marketing consist of regular content production such as blogging and video publishing, sharing the content in social media, engaging your readers by commenting and building links from other sites to your site.
The objective is not to sell in the traditional sense, but to publish content that serves your customers in each of the phases of their customer journey. This will eventually result in some of them buying from you.
A short history of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a concept developed by the founder of Hubspot, Brian Halligan, in 2005 to describe the characteristics of contemporary marketing. The traditional marketing utilized by companies at that time had started to conflict with the way people were searching for information about products and services and and buying only when they were ready to do so.
The difference between traditional and inbound marketing
- In the traditional marketing the seller has a product or a service, he picks up a phone and calls unknown people with sales purposes
- Radio and TV advertisements are created, which interrupt your viewing or listening experience
- Print advertisements are sent to recipients of a bought customer register
Inbound marketing, in turn, is based on you producing so interesting content about your area of expertise that your current and potential customers find it helpful and are happy to share it. This way, some of them eventually end up buying from you.
Objectives of inbound marketing
The objective of inbound marketing is to
- conceive a strategy that guides you to produce useful content for all phases of your customers’ journey
- produce articles, videos and pictures that keeps your customers engaged in your content a long time
- produce quality leads, which you will get for example by your newsletter subscriptions
- maximize the so called conversions i.e. to help the customers move from their journey phase to another
The methods and tools of inbound marketing include
- Blog articles are the most informative and almost a cost free way to produce content.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The search engines, e.g. Google, valuate your site, pages and articles according to certain criteria. The better you match those criteria, the bigger chance you have to rank high on the search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Web pages. The individual pages of your site are the digital storefront of you or your organization. The higher usability of those pages, the more chances they have to aesthetically please, inform and encourage your customers to buy.
- Social media. Social media enables you to share your content to a wide audience, discuss the ideas with your potential and current customers and thus acquire valuable information about the factors that affect the buying decisions in the customer journey.
- Customer Relationship management (CRM). Through inbound marketing, you will receive a lot of information about your customers. CRM is the place to store the info in, and manage the rrelationships from.
- Email, especially automated email. When you succeed in inbound marketing, the number of your customers increase so much that you cannot communicate with all of them personally. But: you can automate some of the repeated interaction, such as onboarding the customer through a series of automated emails that introduce new customers to your specific area of expertise.
- Analytics, which means all the tools and methods with which you can monitor and measure the impact of your actions on your customers’ behavior.
Inbound marketing is a way to differentiate
Inbound marketing is relatively a novel way to service your customers. Because of that it is also developing fast as we speak. New information is published almost every minute, which creates a lot of opportunities to differentiate from your competitors.
Last, here are some of the best articles about the inbound marketing method I’ve found
Dmitry Dragilev from Criminally Prolific tells how he ranked #1 for a high-volume keyword in under 90 days
Samir Patel: How to accelerate your growth machine with inbound marketing
Did it, but it didn’t work? It’s probably because your inbound marketing sucks. The folks at Trigger tell you why.