Inbound marketing is a way of making yourself or your company easy to find and drawing people to your website by producing content that appeals to your visitors. The term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2005 by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan because he believed that traditional marketing was becoming less effective. Inbound marketing includes content like blogs, enewsletters, and the social media network. Inbound marketing is far more favored by businesses than outbound marketing. Outbound marketing includes content such as spam, telemarketing, and fliers.
The whole concept of inbound marketing is to get the customers to find you, instead of you reaching out to them. It can be broken down into five stages. One, attract traffic; two, convert visitors to leads; three, convert leads to sales; four, turn customers into repeat higher margin customers; and five, analyze for continuous improvement. A company can attract traffic to their website by blogging, for example. Updating your blog more frequently will attract more visitors to your website and revenue traffic. Announce your website via email, and across the social media networks like Google+ and Twitter to garnish social and search traffic. Email everyone you know about your new website, lead with content and the word will travel. Share it on your social media websites. Include keywords that will draw your targeted audience in. Then, you want to make sure that the material on your page is what the visitor is looking for. Your goal is to make the visitor a customer. After your visitor becomes a customer, make sure they will come back by sending them an enewsletter and keep your page updated with things that will attract them to buy again. After you went through the four steps of the process, you want to analyze everything that you have done and make sure you are doing everything you can to satisfy your visitors, followers, customers.
In order to make inbound marketing completely effective, you want to give your customers your marketing information, and a little something else. This provides a value above and beyond what they are looking for, which creates a value to the customer experience. For example, if you’re a gardening or landscaping company, write a little side story about your home garden and how you personally take care of it in the newsletter. The three key phases are “get found, convert, and analyze”.
Inbound marketing can be effective if the communication is interactive and two-way, unlike outbound marketing which is one-way. One way to create inbound marketing is by being found on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, etc. This is a type of inbound content because someone who is looking for something specifically related to you will go directly to your page. By creating valuable content on your website, your website will rise in organic search results. By rising in organic search results, it will benefit you tremendously because the closer you are to the search engines first page, the more visibility you are gaining for your website.
You can try and get your website higher in the organic search result by pay per click (PPC). PPC is an advertising model used to direct traffic to a certain website. Every time someone’s ad is clicked, the advertiser pays the website owner or publisher. Another way to rank higher in organic search results is to make a well put together press release that is filled with information that your targeted audience will click on when they search on a search engine. Don’t use keywords that are commonly used by your competition; be more creative when it comes to keywords.
A recently new field that inbound marketing has found its way to is the social media network. Social media sites are the most visited websites on the web. When marketing on social media, identify your target audience. Once you have a targeted audience, think about keywords this audience might use to search to find sites like yours. Facebook for example, has seen a steady increase in its search bar for businesses. A basic principle of a social media site is like using a forum, if there is no activity going on you will leave. To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you on your website, fill it with lots of information and useful content. Finally, another way to use the social media network for inbound marketing is to give your “community” something to talk about. For example, if you own a fitness company and you are now selling a new workout machine, tell your social medic community. This is the “network effect”, when your community creates a “buzz” about what you were talking about, it will bring in other users.
An easy way to get information out about your business or product is to advertise where they are already going. For example, by putting “like us on Facebook” on your company’s website, this will draw people to your Facebook page where you can advertise all about your business, products and services. Another way to generate inbound marketing is to host contests. By letting your visitors and or customers take an online survey about their experience with your website, offer a chance to win a prize if they take the survey. Also give them the opportunity to go through an easy-to-do sign up for newsletters offering them coupons and sneak peeks into the future.
Inbound marketing is far more effective than outbound marketing. You can prove this just by asking if you have deleted spam mail without reading it. Spam mail is an example of outbound marketing. Since social media is huge growing field, there should be no question as to why inbound marketing is so effective. In the end, it’s all about finding a new way to generate interest, and inbound marketing is the new way to generate interest and visitors, followers, customers.
The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.
Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.