Inbound marketing is the strategic use of tools and techniques that draw the attention of a qualified target audience through relevant content and interactive engagement. That’s a simple definition of Inbound Marketing. The keyword here is “qualified audience” which means potential buyers who are closer to the buying decision. Well, at least in expressing their need for the type of product or service you offer.
A prospect starts to look for you when they are getting ready to buy, and begin the process of searching for the best solution. Inbound marketing helps your business be found easily, both online and offline. Drawing people in to your CRM goes beyond B2B lead generation and takes on a multi-pronged approach to integrated marketing. Your deliverables become: (a) relevant content and (b) interactive engagement.
Let’s look at some leading trends in inbound marketing to understand how organizations are adopting best practices:
- Ratio of Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: Market trends show a shift in budget spending from outbound to inbound marketing. However, smart B2B marketers focus on leveraging the inbound spend rather than increasing it. What this means is that for every buck spent on inbound, you get a bigger bang!
- Cast a Wider Net with Content Marketing: With outbound techniques, marketing addresses more specific target audiences. And that makes sense – when you spend more, you want to be sure that every hook you throw out brings in the fish. Not that it always happens, but that’s what you aim for. With inbound marketing and content marketing you educate, inform and try to interest a wider audience. The benefit is that businesses that were nowhere on your CRM radar or never figured in your B2B lead generation efforts may actually convert into customers because you have made them aware of their needs and offered a ready solution.
- Tools and Methodologies used in Inbound Marketing: Some of the primary tools used in inbound marketing are Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid Search / Pay-per-Click (PPC), Content Syndication, Directory Advertising, Banner/Online Advertising, Social Media, Events (online and offline), Public Relations, Association Marketing, and so on.
- Ongoing Cycle: Unlike outbound marketing where each initiative follows a start to finish pattern, inbound marketing is a continuous cycle. Consistency is critical!
- Content Sourced from Multiple Functions: In order to create content that is relevant for different audiences, your business must source it from the various functional groups internal and external. For instance, content about your product/service/solution, its features and benefits, technical specifications, etc. is best sourced from your Product Department. Brand related content on the other hand should come from individuals that handle corporate functions.
At the Alea Group, we have recently started to expand our inbound marketing practices by using the internet – this blog is an example. What are your thoughts on Inbound Marketing? Any interesting observations you would like to share? Please comment below.