What Is Inbound Marketing and Why Should You Care?

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Instead of one-way interruption, inbound marketing is about delivering useful content at just the right moment the buyer needs it.

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David Meerman Scott
Marketing Strategist
The New Rules of Marketing and PR


Inbound Marketing is a Lead Magnet

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Inbound marketing relies on digital marketing techniques to connect businesses with potential clients over the Internet. More than just another marketing tactic, it is an entire marketing strategy that focuses on creating relevant, educational, exciting, attractive, and engaging content with your prospects in mind to drive only the most ideal traffic to your site, leading to a higher likelihood of conversions. The strategy also involves retaining these clients for repeated sales in the future.


The 3-Step Inbound Marketing Cycle

Inbound marketing typically follows the process below:

  1. You begin by creating content designed for one or more of your target personas. Prospects arrive at this content either as a landing page or through content marketing techniques such as SEO, social media, blogs, and direct mail.
  2. You then nurture these prospects through further marketing in a process that, if effective, should begin generating leads. You can respond to these leads through workflows, email, or telephone — whatever is most appropriate for your business. Once the leads are qualified, you pass them on to your sales team.
  3. In order to maintain a relationship with customers, it is important that the buying cycle does not end after the first two stages. You can follow up by remarketing, adding relevant workflows, or using additional marketing techniques.
  4. Finally, you should evaluate your buying cycle and decide if any changes or improvements are necessary.

Inbound marketing is not a marketing magic bullet or another ineffective marketing tactic. It is a long-term investment both in terms of time and resources. You need to embrace a content marketing strategy throughout your company in order to see success. But why should you?

Why You Should Care About Inbound Marketing

For a start, inbound marketing is much more effective than outbound marketing; for example, it delivers 54 percent more leads than such traditional methods, according to the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report by Hubspot. The same study also found that inbound marketing leads to a stronger ROI — inbound marketers who spend more than $25,000 per year save, on average, 13 percent per lead and more than $14 per new customer compared to outbound marketers.

In 2013, inbound marketing had grown by 50 percent for the third year running while outbound marketing continued to deplete. Now, 60 percent of marketers have adopted these marketing strategies, although 19 percent of the remaining marketers are still unsure about where to begin.

Furthermore, inbound marketing is a win-win situation for clients and marketers alike. It provides consumers with access to the high-quality content and information they need or desire, while marketers gain new customers who are seeking them out, rather than the other way around.

Why Not Traditional Outbound Marketing?

Traditional marketing focuses on generating awareness of your brand through means such as advertising. Although outbound marketing can often be effective for B2C looking to build their brand development, it is usually expensive and unhelpful for B2B companies.

To understand why this is true, consider a few statistics: 91 percent of adults who use the Internet utilize search engines to find information. Of this number, 59 percent do so on a daily basis, according to the Pew Research Group. Furthermore, 93 percent of all online experiences start with search engines, according to a study by Forrester.

When using a search engine, consumers see that the most important and relevant results appear at the top of their searches, and they inherently trust these results. In contrast, people tend to mistrust ads, mainly because that they know that businesses have paid to have them appear.

The best way to take advantage of this trend is through inbound marketing. Inbound marketing strategy enables you to provide prospects with content that will appear in organic searches and therefore be viewed as reliable and useful. Plus, unlike outbound marketing, once you have gained a customer, inbound marketers employ the other inbound marketing tactics mentioned in the 3-step inbound marketing cycle above to retain that client in the future.

Want to learn more about Inbound Marketing? Click the image to download 
The Essential ABC’s of Inbound Marketing