Inbound marketing has traditionally served as the small company’s answer to big marketing budgets. While large corporations command large budgets to spend on flashy advertising, smaller organizations have struggled to get the word out on a relative shoestring budget.
That has changed with inbound marketing, which prioritizes compelling content over ads and pulling customers to you rather than pushing your message onto them. With this shift, the little guy possesses just as much marketing power (and sometimes more) than their peers with deeper pockets.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
You’ve most definitely experienced traditional forms of outbound marketing such as cold calls (don’t you just love when that happens?), cold emails, direct mail, printed ad space and tradeshows. Thankfully, the days of traditional marketing are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Inbound marketing is the new, less expensive and more efficient marketing method for growing your business online.
Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. It earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to a company website by producing compelling content through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, live streaming, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other content.
If you still use the traditional methods of marketing, it doesn’t mean you have to stop using them immediately or even at all. Here at Blue Cricket Media, we still take advantage of some traditional advertising like email, direct mail and we just love tradeshows. But those are expensive, time consuming and are better used together with inbound marketing practices and not as a single means of marketing.
If you aren’t taking advantage of inbound marketing, it’s time to start updating your marketing strategies if you want to continue competing and growing your business in today’s marketplace.
Still need more convincing? Here are 9 reasons why your business must be taking advantage of inbound marketing.
1. Outbound marketing costs too much money – Years ago, we had no other options but to drop a hefty investment into our marketing campaigns to see an impact. In many cases, that impact disappeared as soon as the campaign ended. With inbound marketing, the cost is much less to reach an even larger audience. The brand awareness and relationship building that is capable of happening through inbound marketing are two effects you simply can’t ignore.
2. Inbound marketing levels the playing field – Not only is inbound less expensive, but small and big businesses start competing on content quality, quantity, and views rather than dollars alone. With inbound marketing, a successful marketing campaign can be accomplished on any budget and smaller businesses can leverage the same strategies as the big dogs.
3. Video ads are becoming ubiquitous – Videos themselves aren’t new. We are an audience of video watchers who view dozens of videos every day in our Facebook feed or on a YouTube video binge. Not only are videos entertaining, but they are now being used as informational content pieces and advertisements to be used on multiple channels (e.g. websites, social media) to communicate with target audiences.
5. Live streaming is easier than ever – More and more companies are sharing live feeds of video to give behind the scenes glimpses of their brand. Bringing your target audience into the daily life of your company will help consumers get to know you better and build trust with your organization. Humanizing your business—putting a face on it–is huge!
6. Ad blockers will require a change in strategy – Consumers are sick and tired of ever-present advertising, and disruptive desktop and mobile ads are now being blocked by new technology. Every major browser can now block ads and there’s not much you can do except embrace inbound marketing as a better way of getting in front of your audience by creating relevant content that doesn’t impede the buyer’s journey and doesn’t annoy your customers.
7. Inbound leads are warmer than cold leads – While you can always cold call prospects and attempt to make a sale that way, a potential lead that comes to you through inbound marketing methods has already made the decision that they need your product or service. These warm leads will always be an easier sale for your business to close.
8. Website redesign will die – The four-to-six-month site redesign process is history, and new trends show that a more agile approach will become the norm. Basically, your website shouldn’t focus on a full redesign and should instead be designed around the idea that it’s never going to be finished. You will constantly change content, add new blog posts and create new ways for customers to interact with you.
9. Inbound marketing builds momentum over time – In the days of traditional outbound marketing, you were most likely seeing a “one-time” promotion. It could be a call, a stop at your booth at a tradeshow or a view of your yellow pages ad. If that strategy didn’t work, there wasn’t much you could do aside from trying again with another idea and more money. Inbound marketing is designed to promote brand awareness through longevity and a steady buildup of your internal content. These aren’t things that have an expiration date and they keep working long past the first time you publish them.
What do you think about inbound marketing? Have you seen success in your own marketing campaigns?