So, is inbound marketing a waste of time? In a word: no!
You may think (and correctly so) that we’re being bias, as a company that specializes in inbound marketing, but having been around the marketing world for a good long time, we can tell you, inbound marketing is far from a waste of time!
What is inbound marketing?
Before getting started with any marketing campaign, it is important to understand what inbound marking is — and what it is not. To understand all the ways in which inbound marketing is worth your time and money, you need to have a clear picture of what it actually is.
Inbound marketing is all about creating content that attracts customers, leads, or traffic directly to you. Instead of advertising and hoping that your ad gets a better response than that of your competitors, inbound marketing focuses on the customer finding their way to you, through the engaging, useful content that your business has created.
Inbound marketing includes blogs, website content, social media, and general branding. Awareness of inbound content among marketing aficionados has been growing for some time, as this latest Google Trends report indicates:
Inbound marketing is not just for large enterprise businesses, it can make a real difference for small businesses as well.
Inbound marketing is not advertising. As customer behavior changes and the internet becomes an ever-more powerful tool for spreading brand awareness, marketers the world over are looking for ways to make a real impact.
Traditional advertising and outbound marketing is a crowded space and it can be hard to hard to distinguish yourself. This is not to say that these methods are not effective, but with inbound marketing, you do not have to fight for attention in the same way.
Simply build great content, engage new leads, and wait for them to come to you or at least, that’s the idea…
The shift away from outbound marketing
There is still plenty to be said for traditional outbound marketing, but there is no denying that the way people buy has changed significantly over recent years. According to Douglas Burdett, Founder of Artillery Marketing, B2B buyers are now 57%-70% through the purchase process before they first contact the seller.
This means that many of the advantages that sales teams used to have – information on the product, pricing, promotions and guarantees – are now relatively useless. A buyer can find out what something costs, full product details and specifications, reviews, ratings and alternative prices from other businesses before they have even spoken to your sales guy.
Plus, consumers are getting better and better at tuning out marketing messages. Direct marketing is increasingly seen as unwelcome by most people. And even a tech-savvy two-year-old knows how to click ‘Skip Ad’ in YouTube so that they can get back to what they were watching.
- 91% of the population have unsubscribed from email lists
- 86% skip TV ads
- Over 200 million phone numbers are on the Do Not Call List
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
These days, it is less about what you are throwing at customers and more about what you are offering to them. Marketing efforts need to be engaging, informative, useful, and/or entertaining.
While these adjectives might apply to your outbound efforts, it won’t matter because odds are good that no one will ever see it. Combining your outbound with solid inbound content can increase conversions once people find your page.
What does great inbound marketing look like?
According to HubSpot, the most commonly cited marketing challenge for businesses is generating traffic and leads, with 63% – almost two thirds – reporting that this was their top marketing problem in 2018. The second most common challenge? Proving the ROI of their marketing activities. These two issues are inextricably linked; by not finding a way to evidence the ROI of inbound marketing, CMOs are going to struggle to justify investing in content marketing strategies.
Despite this uphill justification battle, when done well, inbound marketing is a no-brainer. Simple as that.
Here are some tips for getting it right:
- Keep it frequent; recent research shows that publishing 16 or more blogs a month can generate almost 3.5 times more traffic than publishing four or less.
- Make it engaging. Consumers will be attracted to your brand if the content strikes a chord with them.
- Let your brand be the voice of the sector. Readers love reading an expert’s view. You’re the expert when it comes to your business and your niche. Let consumers benefit from your perspective.
- Don’t market to people. As we have seen, it just makes people turn off – the reverse of what you want to achieve.
- Keep your audience in mind, and make sure you are creating content that speaks to them and their unique needs.
- Ensure your marketing efforts go across several platforms. This includes blog posts and sharing on social media channels, so that it all hangs together as part of your marketing campaign.
How do I use inbound marketing effectively?
Creating content can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is particularly true for startups and small businesses who may be lacking the support of big marketing budgets and departments. Knowing where to start can make all the difference. Don’t waste time and energy chasing pursuing topics that do not apply. One of the best places to start is with what you know.
Think about the kinds of questions you get asked about your product or service. Write a blog post to answer these questions. By doing this, chances are you will be providing useful content for your target audience. For every person who asks you the question, there are likely dozens and dozens who either haven’t asked or don’t yet know they also need the answer. By answering the question, you have automatically established yourself a solid resource for people seeking information on that topic. From there you can build out blogs based on related topics, concerns and keywords. Before you know, you will have a fully functioning content strategy that drives your inbound marketing campaign.
If this still feels like too much, or you are already overwhelmed by the work of running your business, we can help.
At okwrite, we create content with a purpose. We can take on the content strategy, writing, and delivery for you so you can continue to concentrate on the day to day operations of your business. No matter the industry, no matter the brand voice, we have an okwriter who is up to the task.
Don’t let ignore inbound marketing. In today’s world, with today’s sophisticated consumer, you need content that demonstrates that you are the best choice and we can do that for you.