Inbound marketing, the art of attracting customers, is no longer optional. It has become a core part of a healthy marketing plan because direct approaches don’t work as well on the Internet. Oftentimes, advertisements are completely ignored or cause a user to immediately hit the back button. This is why you need inbound marketing to help attract the right customers to your doorstep.
First, Let’s Clarify What Inbound Marketing Is
Inbound marketing is a strategy that aims to naturally attract customers without being direct. Television ads obviously intend to make someone buy the product. They have a very direct, in-your-face approach. A blog post, on the other hand, primarily educates the reader about a certain topic. The blog post done right will subtly guide the reader to one day becoming a customer.
Many marketers like explaining what inbound marketing is by comparing it to relationships. When you’re interested in a woman, you usually spend time getting to know her first before committing to a relationship or taking it to the next level. Similarly, inbound marketing starts off more subtly than other types of marketing in order to avoid turning off potential customers.
Inbound Marketing Consists of Subsets You’ve Already Heard Of
There are several different types of inbound marketing. Some examples are:
Examples of marketing that are NOT inbound marketing:
- Paid advertising
- Direct mail
Why Inbound Marketing Is Necessary
Now that you have a better understanding of what inbound marketing is and what it isn’t, let’s look at the reasons it is a necessary component of your marketing plan.
Most Internet users don’t like advertisements. Not only that but there are ad blockers that they can easily install for their browsers. These ad blockers prevent advertisements from showing up on their computer screens.
People love freebies. A common strategy in inbound marketing is to offer something free, such as an ebook, in exchange for the reader’s email address. With the email address, the business owner sends the lead a series of emails that gently guide them to becoming a customer. Freebies are also sometimes offered without asking for anything in exchange, such as a download link that doesn’t require user registration or email addresses.
Inbound marketing delivers a higher ROI than outbound marketing. In Hubspot’s marketing research on the state of inbound marketing in 2015, they found that most marketers achieve a higher ROI with an inbound approach. This was true for businesses of all sizes with budgets both large and small.
An inbound approach develops trust. Inbound marketing is a great way to earn the trust of potential customers because it causes them to feel like you genuinely care about helping them. After all, the page they landed on from a Google search is delivering the valuable information they needed rather than pushing a product.
Inbound marketing has gained so much traction that it is no longer optional, but necessary for a well-rounded marketing plan. Internet users respond well to an inbound marketing approach, so it’s only logical for businesses to incorporate inbound marketing. People want free valuable information from your website before even considering making a purchase.
You will only make converting people more difficult if you ignore inbound marketing. We’re not saying that outbound marketing is dead or unimportant, but when it comes to the online world, inbound marketing is a necessity for higher retention rates, conversions, and ROI.
The main takeaways from this article are:
- Inbound marketing doesn’t pressure people to buy a product or service.
- Focus on informing and helping people solve a problem.
- Just as you wouldn’t come on too strong to a woman you’re interested in, you shouldn’t be too aggressive with your inbound marketing either.
- Internet users respond better to inbound marketing than outbound marketing.
- A marketing plan should include inbound marketing.
If you want to incorporate inbound marketing into your strategy, check out our Inbound Marketing 101 series to get a deeper understanding of what it is and how it fits into a solid plan that makes sense for your business.