Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3101
, Published on 30 December 2013
Inbound Marketing- Does this term ring a bell? No!! A little bit??
Then let me tell you more about this.
How do companies attract customers? Well the obvious answer is by advertisement and promotions. But do you know how much they spend on it? The FMCG giant Proctor and Gamble spent almost $10 billion in the year 2012 on advertising, maximum amount spent by any company in the world. But this spending is of no use if the return on investment is not satisfactory. There is a stiff competition outside where companies are trying their best to attract as much customers as they can. Year on year this spending is increasing exponentially. But is there a way out? Is there any other way wherein a company can target its customers by spending very less?
The answer is ‘Yes’. A true marketer is one who finds an easy, cheap and most effective way to reach and attract maximum number of customers. This new methodology is termed as Inbound Marketing.
Inbound marketing attracts the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws the attention of the customers to the website by producing interesting content. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service - not interrupting them with annoying, useless or unwanted messages.
Let me give you an example. If you own a Burger joint and you go around sticking fliers, pamphlets and menu cards under cars’ windshield wipers and distributing them to households all the time, that’s called outbound or interruption marketing. This is because you’re coming to them and trying to get into their heads, even though you have no idea whether they want Burger or even like Burger.
But if someone in your area searches for “Burger” on their mobile phone at any time, and they get a listing or a mobile ad from your business, that’s contextual. None of the option is interrupting the flow of what they’re doing. Either way, you’re providing them the information they were already looking for. Since this information given is contextual and query-triggered, it is called inbound marketing.
In traditional marketing (or so called outbound marketing), companies focus on finding target segments and target customers. They use techniques that are poorly organized, intrude people’s privacy and annoy them. They use the techniques of calling people, print advertising, T.V. ads, junk mail, spam, and trade shows. Inbound marketing techniques are more effective in taking your message to the user and convincing them of your product’s advantages. People are becoming more private and sophisticated in detecting promotional messages and expect to be entertained or informed rather than just sold.
The advancement in technology has made these techniques less effective and more expensive. Consumers have learnt how to ignore and get rid of them. Caller ID blocker, Blacklist calls, TiVo makes T.V. advertising less effective, spam filters to block unwanted e-mails, and tools like RSS are making print and display advertising less effective. It's still possible to get some messages out through these channels, but it will cost more.
The Inbound Methodology
The new Inbound Methodology covers each and every step taken, what are the tools used, and the lifecycle stage which it has travelled through, on the road from strangers to customers. It empowers the marketers to attract visitors, convert the leads, close customers, and delight the promoters. This new methodology acknowledges that inbound marketing doesn’t just happen on its own. It is done by using tools and applications that help you create and deliver content that will appeal to precisely the right people in the right places at just the right times.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that can pull people towards the company or the product. By aligning the content you take into account your customer’s interests and you naturally attract inbound traffic that can then be converted, closed, and delighted over time. Inbound also includes Permission Marketing wherein marketers request for permission before advancing to the next step in the purchasing process. For example, they may ask permission to send e-mails, newsletters, catalogues, etc. to potential customers. This is mostly used by online marketers, notably e-mail marketers and direct marketers.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting, not forcing, a person's attention, which is done through social media and similar contents, such as blogs, podcasts, viral YouTube videos, search engine optimization, webinars, Feeds, RSS and white papers. If someone finds your content worthy enough to share, they can pass it along via social media outlets. These generated contents are not only interesting but also informative and adds value by creating a positive connection with the consumer, and hence making him more likely to look into your brand and buy the product. So it costs less and has a better Return on Investment.
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by the customers. Inbound marketing campaigns are used to launch new products, build demand, enter new verticals or markets, enter new geographical areas, influence different buyers and demographics and recruit different employees, just like traditional ad campaigns are used.
Inbound marketers ‘earn their way’ in contrast to outbound marketers who may even have to beg to make their way in. Inbound marketing also comprises of content marketing and social media presentation. Any content is shared and spread through social media like Facebook, twitter, etc. and news aggregators like dig.com; so as to make the content go viral. This in turn will lead to more visibility. As the content is circulated through various websites, it gains more visibility. If your message gets viral, you can get the reach to millions of people by paying almost nothing. This links can be built to redirect the user directly to the company’s website which will significantly improve the site’s overall visibility in the search engines. Tech savvy companies have already realized this new trend and are adjusting their budgets accordingly toward more inbound activities.
Some facts about inbound marketing-
• It costs 61% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing
• More than one-third of marketers say that Twitter is ‘critical’ or ‘important’ to their businesses
• The number of marketers who say Facebook is ‘critical’ or ‘important’ to their business has increased by 75% in three years
• 63% of companies using social media say it has increased marketing effectiveness- among other benefits
• 81% of marketers rated their blog as ‘useful’ or ‘better’
• 86% of people skip TV ads
• 44% of people never open direct mails
• 97% believe social media marketing benefits their business
• 75% intend to increase media spending this year
• Facebook has become the preferred way of sharing content, second only to e-mail
• 70% of the link search users click on are ‘organic’ – not paid
• Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links
So the day is not far when we will see companies cutting their budget for outbound marketing and instead of that investing heavily in inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing tactics don’t just generate leads. They generate revenues.