Have you ever wondered how you get so many junk mails all the time? People often try to introduce you to their products, hoping against hope that you’ll somehow buy from them. In order to achieve that, they post a large amount of advertisements to promote themselves. However, you, as a customer, would just downright ignore the promotion mail most of the time, hence, leading to the coining of the aforementioned term, ‘junk mail’. Only a handful of the mail ever reaches its intended target. This traditional approach of marketing, relies mostly on a teeny-tiny chance. It is designed to reach out to customers in an unspecific manner. This approach is dubbed ‘outbound marketing’. It is a low yield approach to obtaining customers.
To enable a more robust system, people have come up with the idea of ‘inbound marketing’. In fact, the term ‘inbound marketing’ was only coined in 2006 by a company called HubSpot.
So what is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing, as its name suggests, is the exact opposite of outbound marketing. In outbound marketing, companies reach out to people in order to make sales. In inbound marketing, companies cleverly design their promotional material so that the customer will be attracted by their propositions and be motivated to make first contact with them. In a way, this is a sort of self-selection on the customers’ part, where customers find companies based on whether they think the services offered suits their need or not. This runs in stark contrast to the old ways of outbound marketing, which is more like a lucky draw game, if you really think about it. The basic tenet of inbound marketing is simple: Firstly, companies attract customer with good propositions. Then, the company interacts with the customer and tweaks the product to the desired requirements of the customer. And lastly, the company ensures that the product not only works well, but that the customer will continually seek out the company for future projects. Essentially, this makes inbound marketing a loop in which the customer just keeps coming back for more.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds though. So, to makes things simpler, let’s go through a few strategies that companies usually use in order to enable inbound marketing.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Let’s go through SEO first. To define what SEO is, we need to first understand the term ‘search engine’. Search engine refers to a type of software which combs through the World Wide Web to find a specific web page. A few well-known examples of search engines includes Google, Yahoo and Bing. What search engines have in common is that they keep an index of web pages in their system. This index includes important information about your web page, such as the keywords and the number of links that direct one to the page in question. Then, when people actually use the search engine, the search engine will find the most relevant keywords that match with the search query and generate a list of results. Such a search is known as organic search. The order of the results displayed is, in part, based on the number of links present that link to the page. So, the more links a page has, the higher it is ranked. Another factor is the popularity of the page. If it is often visited, the page will be deemed useful to the majority of the people searching for related content. Hence, it will be ranked higher on organic search. With this is mind, put simply, SEO is the method of making your web page rank higher in an organic search, thus increasing traffic flow to your site. There are several ways to accomplish this. The most obvious way is, of course, to find the relevant keywords. This is not as obvious as it sounds as the person who enters the search query, while looking for a particular service, may enter different keywords as opposed to what the service providers describe their product as. In fact, the choice of keywords in search queries even differ in many countries even when they are looking for the same thing. Therefore, in order to maximize organic search, one must first know their target audience and make a tailored keyword list that can be included in their web pages.
- Content Marketing
Another strategy is called content marketing. Content marketing, in the simplest terms, is to create free online content that is useful and interesting, which is somewhat related to your product. The idea is to create a sort of online persona for your company. The main objective of such an endeavor is, quite obviously, to raise awareness of your company and promote yourselves as a friendly distributor of a product. This is useful in a way such that it may potentially boost sales for your product via attracting the right attention from the right group of customers. (This is self-selection all over again XD). It may also enhance your company’s social image via such engagement with netizens through your content marketing, whereupon your company will be regarded as professional and friendly, if done right. The scope of content marketing is near limitless. The only catch is that it has to be related to your product niche. It can range from videos, teaching people how to identify good products. It can range from comic art that offers an informative narrative in a fun cartoonish way. Or it can simply be a blog that offers friendly, trustworthy advice or offer insights into major developments in the field. All of the above are great ways to interact with the public, and hopefully turn some of them into future customers.
And there you have it, the basics of inbound marketing. It truly is an innovative way to find new customers and can be used to great effect in the digital age. Hopefully, this post has helped you wrap your head around the idea of inbound marketing. Thanks to Hubspot, your marketing strategies can yield a higher return on investment from now on.