If you’ve got your ear to the digital marketing ground then you might have noticed a slight switch in emphasis over the last few months. There is an ever growing number of companies who are offering clients an inbound marketing service rather than a traditional SEO strategy. So what exactly is inbound marketing? Is it just SEO dressed up differently with a new ‘buzzword’ for a name or is it something a little more substantial? Let’s take a closer look.
What’s The Jist Of It?
Ok so to understand what inbound marketing is, you need to understand what outbound marketing is. Outbound marketing is pretty much any traditional marketing strategy such as television advertising, billboards, newspapers adverts etc. What they do is buy the attention of the public in order to sell them a product or service. Inbound marketing on the other hand gains the attention of people who are already customers or who are already actively interested in whatever product or service is being sold.
Still Not Clear?
Basically inbound marketing covers all digital marketing avenues and focuses on a content based strategy to earn more visitors to a website. It doesn’t end there though, for true inbound marketers that where the challenge just begins.
It’s About Conversions
The problem with a lot of SEO’s is that they are only concerned about rankings. As long as they get there client ranking on page 1 of Google for their keywords then it’s a job well done and everyone’s happy. Well not necessarily. It’s like the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Well SEO is the leading the horse part and inbound marketing is the attempt to make that darn horse do what it’s told.
There’s no point having lots of people visit your website if they aren’t buying your products or signing up to your service and after all isn’t that why you hired your SEO professional in the first place, to increase your profits? Inbound marketing will analyse your visitor’s behaviour along with your site to gain an understanding as to why they didn’t make a purchase. They may find that it takes ¾ visits on average for a visitor to make a purchase, there may be something stopping them doing it straight away or your checkout page could be broken ( it happens more than you think).
It’s Also About Repeat Custom
Inbound marketing aims to not only get people to visit your site and become a customer, it aims to have them do this again and again. Through creating great content the hope is that the customer will see the client as a brand that they trust and eventually love. This is achieved through creating content that is of real value to the target market through such avenues as an onsite blog, social media, whitepapers, video tutorials and newsletters to name just a few. Once you have created a trusted source of information then you can try to sell your product to your visitors and ensure that they comeback again.
There Are Cycles Involved
Inbound marketing recognises that people who visit a website are often at different stages of the marketing cycle and so they need to be treated differently. This means marketing to them at different stages of their interaction with your site. In order to do this you need to gain their contact details and in exchange for that you can offer them valuable content in the form of a monthly newsletter, an ebook or whitepaper, anything that gives them the information they are looking for.
In the world of inbound marketing the potential and existing customer’s information is gold and the tools used to get them are call-to-actions, forms, sign ups and content based incentives.
So as you can see inbound marketing has its own role to play in the digital marketing world and it is a strategy that is being adopted by many businesses as a way increase and retain customers whilst boosting their brand reputation.
About the Author
Stuart Cooke is an SEO Consultant. He offers bespoke SEO services but he also offers an inbound marketing strategy for clients who want to take their business to the next level.