What is Inbound Marketing?

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Inbound MarketingInbound Marketing is the term for the types of marketing efforts where you are being found by consumers when they are researching information.

Outbound marketing is the term for interruption based marketing like television commercials, radio ads, newspaper articles, telemarketing etc. All of these marketing methods are built to interrupt people while they are trying to do something else, like watch their favorite TV program. Humans, as clever as we are, have found different ways to ignore these outbound marketing efforts:

  • TV commercials – Meet the DVR Fast forward please
  • Radio Ads – Satellite radio, Internet radio, portable music devices like iPods Turn it up!
  • Newspaper ads – Our eyes are trained to look at the content not the side bars or full page ads Who still reads the paper?
  • Telemarketing – Caller ID Unknown caller – no thank you
  • Direct Mail – aka Junk Mail is promptly thrown away. Mine doesn’t even make it in our house Recycle bin right next to mailbox

Why are you wasting your marketing dollars on suffering marketing mediums?

Because it is safe and what we have always done. STOP. The power has shifted back to the customer you can either hop on now or be left behind. Your customers are researching products and services before they contact you. They know about your company, your competitor, maybe even your employees (a website’s About Us page is usually the second most viewed page on a website). They want a conversation, not to have someone shouting at them through traditional marketing channels.

Be found when your customers are looking!

Inbound Marketing efforts focus on you being found when your potential clients or customers are looking for answers or more information. There are lots of places to reach people but here are the biggest examples of Inbound Marketing tools:

  • Blogging – Blogs are a great way to constantly be adding targeted new information to your website. You can easily add a blog to your current website or have it separate from your site. Blogs can tackle difficult questions, discuss industry news and so much more. Blogs are also very share-able and many people bookmark good blogs to refer black to.
  • SEO and SEM – Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing and Organic Search are all positioning your website to be found for relevant searches. We live in Google’s world. People online search for everything under the sun. By doing a little research, some measurement and producing good content targeted correctly you can make sure your site is found when that search query is entered.
  • Social Media – The Internet has gone social. People all over the world are participating in Social Networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. While on the sites they are discussing problems, solutions, products, services and more. If you are not participating and being able to contribute, you are missing out on an opportunity. There are thousands of online social networks. It is your job to find the communities that matter to your business and participate in them accordingly.
  • Online Videos – Why tell people in words what you can show them in video? How to Videos, viral videos, and video blogs are very popular and a great way to reach out to consumers. Video production no longer takes a huge studio and camera crew. If you have a little bit of time, talent, and the will to do it, you too can produce good video content! Once your videos are online they are easy to share, comment on and ask for more information

Stay a part of the conversation after the purchase

One of my favorite aspects of Inbound Marketing is that you can also be a part of the conversation with your customers after the point of purchase. Lots of companies are using Social Media, Blogs etc. to tackle Customer Service requests, promote their brand, build trust and more. For this purpose I also like to add email marketing to the Inbound Marketing mix:

  • Email Marketing – A well executed email marketing campaign can be one of the best ways to build trust and stay top of mind with your customers. A content rich, well targeted email can be sent to your customers’ Inbox and many people save them for future reference and share them with friends that they think will find them useful.

Let’s chat some more

I hope this was a good review on what Inbound Marketing is. I will tackle a little more in depth each of the topics I went over quickly here in the next few weeks. If you have any specific questions or feedback on a topic you would like to see discussed please comment below!