Inbound Marketing: Leveraging Original Content and the World Wide Web
The purpose of traditional marketing is to seek out and reach new customers. A marketer’s job is to convince a customer that a certain product or company will solve their problem and anticipate their needs. However, there’s a form of marketing that allows the customer to find the business and come to that conclusion themselves. This is known as inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing attracts new customers through online content generated in-house, and its purpose, according to Marketo.com, is to cultivate brand awareness. Additionally, this strategy extends its reach to targets that more traditional marketing might miss. Simply put, “If you post it, they will come.” Blog posts, photos, infographics, videos, newsletters, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media are all examples of inbound marketing.
The value of inbound marketing lies in its ability to drive organic traffic to company websites and social media pages, saving money that might usually be spent on print, radio, billboard, and television ads. Due to the fact that most online platforms are free to sign up for and use, this strategy also levels the playing field for small businesses competing with larger entities. Just as important, inbound marketing promotes word of mouth (by way of social media) and allows for easily attainable feedback.
To implement inbound marketing, it’s important to first pinpoint a target audience. What story about the company does this audience need to hear? Make use of a content schedule or calendar, and choose appropriate metrics by which to measure the success of the initiative.
Consistency, fresh content (unique from past content and that of competitors), and distribution across social media all factor into the success of inbound marketing. Additionally, businesses have to nurture the leads their marketing strategies generate and not delay the development of relationships with potential customers. This is imperative so that customers transform from potential to regular buyers. According to InfusionSoft, it takes seven to 10 touches before a lead becomes a customer.
Combined with the rest of the strategies and techniques that comprise the average marketing plan, inbound marketing is another avenue by which businesses will find success. With the web so heavily integrated into everyday life, it’s only natural that marketing take full advantage of the resources it has to offer.