In the past, traditional marketing efforts involved receiving annoying phone calls from telemarketers during dinner, having to listen to more advertisements on the radio than songs, and having to watch a one-hour television show that included 30 minutes of commercials.
This type of marketing, referred to as outbound marketing, was designed to reach as many people as possible in hopes that interested consumers would see it. Thankfully, consumers no longer have to endure such a broad approach that inundates them with advertisements.
There’s been a major shift in consumer behavior as we move beyond mass appeal ads to more acceptable marketing that focuses on what we really want.
As consumers, we can now use the caller identification feature on our phones to decline and block calls from telemarketers. We can skip television commercials to get back to our favorite shows using the DVR or streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. We no longer have to endure commercials on the radio, and can instead listen to digital music on mp3 players or stream music from digital services like Pandora or Spotify.
Do you toss out those glossy, colorful advertisements that appear in your mailbox without even taking a look? Our lives are busy and we simply don’t have time for the clutter until we actually need a service – then we go online to find exactly what we need.
Inbound Marketing – How Businesses Can Reach New Customers
Businesses have shifted their marketing strategies to align with a new customer-driven market. Consumers don’t want to be interrupted on inconvenienced in order to get information about your service or product.
The emergence of the consumer-driven market has resulted in a more targeted and cost-effective marketing strategy. Inbound Marketing is defined by Wikipedia as promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, white papers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers.
Inbound marketing is an evolving strategy to attract new customers through the use of digital tools. It focuses on bringing new customers to you instead of you casting a wide net and hoping consumers will be interested. Inbound marketing results in a more targeted audience that is more likely to actually purchase your service or product.
With inbound marketing, engaging content is the most important element. Your marketing efforts are no longer about CREATING a need. It’s about SATISFYING a need – seeking out and joining consumers who are already searching for your services.
Remember the door-to-door vacuum salesman? He came to your door with an actual vacuum cleaner and cleaned your carpets to demonstrate the product. Can you imagine how many doors you’d have to knock on to find a person trusting enough to let you inside their house these days?
Inbound marketing means instead of knocking on doors, a business engages with new customers by joining a house cleaning forum to provide tips and information, identifying related trends on social media, or blogging about industry related news. It’s about engaging with potential customers who are seeking your services, understanding their needs, and informing them on how you can help.
Types of Inbound Marketing
RESEARCH: Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) research starts with identifying what your target audience is seeking. Let’s say your company sells vacuum cleaners.
Think about what potential customers are typing into Google. Yes, they may be seeking “Vacuum Cleaners” but the search engine results page will generate millions of results.
Be specific. Maybe your potential clients are seeking “Vacuum Cleaners for Cat Hair”. Notice the difference in the number of results?
Compile a list of keywords terms that will help drive traffic to your website. Use these keywords to write related content that offers value.
INFORM: Blogging – Use Your Website to Attract People
So you have a website, but are you blogging? A blog is a series of posts displayed in reverse chronological order on your website. A blog can help you attract new customers that are specifically seeking your services. Be informative and creative – throw in a video or podcast to make it more interesting. Your blog posts should be informative to your visitor and have a call to action. A call to action can vary and may ask the reader to sign up for a newsletter, share your posts, or provide a comment.
SHARE: Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing allows you to share blog posts on Facebook, watch conversations on Twitter, and post pictures to Pinterest. Social media allows you to identify people seeking your services by joining related online communities, following conversations, or communicating directly.
Inbound marketing is about targeted marketing – finding people who want your service or product. It’s all about joining in and demonstrating how you can provide value.