Introduction to Inbound Marketing
Brian Halligan, the co-founder of HubSpot, created the concept of Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is a contemporary marketing concept and it is about using marketing concepts to bring potential customers to the business, rather than having efforts to take business to the customers.
Traditional marketing (Outbound Marketing) uses marketing techniques to broadcast their products or services to the customers. In contrary, inbound marketing focuses on content creation designed to appeal the potential customers. This marketing concept is effective to identify relevant, qualified and potential customers.
The need of understanding this marketing concept is required because the parameters of market are constantly changing and buyers are now well informed and very impulsive. The medium of getting information has changed along with the availability of information. For instance, traditionally, customer searched for the product they want in shops and markets but now customers prefer searching for goods in google or any other websites.
Development in technology and technological frontier and changing landscape of media are the reasons for such changing behavior.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Any strategy that focus on content creation and align the content with the customer’s interests is qualified for inbound marketing strategies. The most common and favoured inbound marketing strategies are:
- Thought Leadership
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Integrate with PR
- Paid Search Advertising
- Generate Word of Mouth
- Leverage events
This is a type of content marketing where the brand or the representative of the brand create content that best describe the query of the customers in the best defined and detailed manner. Thought leadership does not create something new to their customers, rather they provide the best to the customer. Brands lead their way by providing the specific, detailed and expected solution to their queries. Thought leader can be a representative person, a Q&A section of any company’s website, a blogging column, a YouTube channel etc.
Whenever you see a expert review in a website, the blogpost written by company’s representative, Q&A posted in website, videos answering queries etc., remember they all are example of thought leadership. Some of the thought leaders are;
Lately, blogging has become a very effective content based platform. Blogging started as a platform for free-style writers and now it has become a platform for brands to express and market their products and services. The best part of blogging is that when done correctly, blogging attracts a lots of users. Also, blogging is a great platform for thought leaders.
Disney Park Blog, 21st Street, Myntra Life, Anthropologie etc. are some example of blogging. Blog has their regular readers and it is a great medium to make customer aware of the products and services. Blogs are very specific and they have their own audience.
Social Media needs no introduction and how it attracts the customers. It is one of the biggest platform of human engagement and interactions. There are plenty of social media platform which as specific purpose and they have customers with specific interests. Due to the popularity and human engagement, social media has become a biggest platform for content presentation.
LinkedIn is very formal social media space for professionals where the content is basically formal, employment related, growth and development focused. Therefore, different brands use this platform for such formal announcements. LinkedIn participants have different expectations from brands and companies and purpose is approached in expected way. Similarly, Instagram is another social media platform where Image-based content is preferred. Instagram is very personal and colorful, therefore brands who wishes to expose their colored side approach for Instagram contents and so on.
In such platform, brands and their representatives create attractive contents that customers get involved. Social Media is very robust form of Inbound Marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the top priority of modern market. A report states that 93% of online queries start from search engine hence, every successful brands work to be efficient in SEO. SEO is all about making your online presence ahead to your competitors i.e. improving visibility of side in relevant searches. The more company invest on quality content and SEO techniques, the more visible their content is. As a result, such visibility of company in online platform increases customer/potential customer engagement.
For instance, while searching anything in any search engine, we tend to open those links or websites who are ahead in the search page. Such websites will obviously have a competitive edge.
Integrate with PR
Association with PR is a cost effective channel to build awareness and reach new and different customers. Integration with PR helps in easy communication of brands among the social group and public through various modern medium. Customers follow such public representative and this allows the PR to target the expected audience.
For instance, there are public figures for defined consumer products. Brand Ambassadors are such though leaders that promotes brands and brand ambassadors in an integration with PR.
Paid Search Advertising
Paid advertising in web-medium is another inbound marketing strategies. Brands and marketing management companies uses website advertisement to promote their offerings. This is a supplement to content based publicity. Companies adapt to other inbound marketing strategies, also advertise them and their offering through website advertising.
Paid search advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC) is very tailored where you can advertise to the specific group and database management assist PPC. Paid search advertising is effective as more people are into web and most of the searches for goods are through internet.
Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth has been an effective marketing tool and it is still a relevant concept. Validation is important while converting a prospect into a customer and word-of mouth provides the public validation. Blogging, integration with PR etc. make people aware of the brand and product and rest what happens is word of mouth.
Generally, word-of -mouth publicity is offline but online platform has become starter for word-of-mouth advertisement.
There are various promotional events and stunts that are performed to promote brands and products. There are various online and offline events that are conducted in this marketing world. Such events assist in brand awareness and lead generations. Along with it, virtual or online events are cost effective.
Burger King’s Whopper Detour, Amazon’s Jurassic Delivery, Google’s mini doughnut shop etc. are some examples of such leverage events.
- Inbound Marketing, Top Ten Strategies, Marketing Next Practices