The art of inbound marketing is all about the customer. That’s why in the past five years, inbound marketing has become the savvy small business owner’s go-to strategy. It allows you to show not only your product or service, but your company’s heart; it creates space to tout your industry knowledge while reaching your customers at every purchasing stage; and most importantly, it reaches your customers where and when they want: online and when they’re ready to start the purchasing process.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing rejects interruptive messaging as a strategy. Television and radio ads, direct mail, spam, telemarketing, and cold-calling … These are relics of traditional advertising strategies. Inbound marketing, sometimes called “permission marketing,” utilizes customer-friendly pieces, such as blogs, video, search engine optimization and social media to generate high-quality content targeted at customers in specific points of the sales funnel. It takes advantage of the fact that increasingly, people get online to arm themselves with purchasing power and knowledge. With a good inbound marketing campaign, their search for the best deal and best local vendor or provider will lead to you. In short, inbound marketing shepherds your customers to you, rather than hoping they will find their way.
How It Works
Inbound marketing works because people – your customers – value personalized, targeted content. This content is your way in. Through smartly produced blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts and other similar means, your company becomes a wealth of must-have information and a reliable partner in the eye of the customer.
The great part about inbound marketing is that it comes naturally to most small or locally owned businesses. Inbound marketing, at its purest, is merely an extension of old-fashioned customer service from face-to-face interactions to online publishing. While much of the interaction remains the same – attracting a customer, converting them to your product or service, closing the deal, and delighting them enough to earn word-of-mouth advertising – the location of the interaction has shifted from the brick-and-mortar business to the World Wide Web.
As shown in the graphic above, inbound marketing utilizes a variety of tools to accomplish the feat of moving the interaction. It spans from your website to your social media pages and focuses on attracting traffic, converting visitors to leads and then sales, and being so delightful that your customers become brand evangelists for you.
Inbound marketing allows businesses to stake ground in a new place, with new customers. Through the targeted use of quality content on blogs, white papers and other online pieces, businesses can increase their cyber presence, gain a loyal and engaged following, and convert interest to sales in a new and meaningful way.