What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of designing a marketing strategy that results in customers coming to you to do business. This is in stark contrast to outbound techniques which rely on you or a sales team reaching out to prospects to educate them about your services. Most business owners are familiar with outbound tactics such as cold calling, going to trade shows, and asking people in your network for referrals. Rightfully so. These tactics have been around much longer, are more intuitive, and for entrepreneurs with more time than money are a good way to drum up business without breaking the bank.
There are limitations to outbound techniques though, and businesses should supplement their outbound efforts with inbound marketing. In this article we will discuss some of the outbound limitations, benefits of inbound marketing, and some techniques for developing an inbound strategy.
Outbound marketing and sales techniques have a key limitation. They are dependent on hiring and training people to make outbound efforts, which equates to labor costs, and limits scalability. If an outbound employee resigns, then your sales and marketing efforts resign with them.
There’s also evidence that consumers are getting weary of constant bombardment by outbound techniques such as cold emails and sales calls, limiting their effectiveness. Consumers are becoming more savvy and will perform independent research for a product or service before making first contact. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t leverage outbound techniques, however businesses today should be supplementing outbound with inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Techniques
Inbound Marketing helps customers discover your business and drive them to contact or purchase using a variety of techniques. You allow customers to discover your brand and offering though:
- A Search Optimized Website
- Content Marketing
- Gated Content (email address in exchange for information)
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay Per Click Advertising
Once they have discovered your brand that is just the beginning of the buyer journey. Since there isn’t human interaction which yields a chance to ask questions and move closer to a purchase, you need to proactively reach out to the prospect and nurture the lead. This can be done with tactics like:
- Email Marketing
These move your prospect from the awareness phase toward interest in your product and service and get them one step closer to contacting you to do business.
Inbound Marketing Benefits
Although you lose the benefits of the human interaction element, inbound marketing efforts provide many benefits over their outbound counterpart. For one investments into inbound marketing provide and ongoing benefit and are working for you 24/7 365. Since content and advertising can be delivered asynchronously you add a multiplier to your existing staffs revenue generation capabilities, thereby increasing the revenue per employee.
There aren’t many people in the world who would tell you that they love cold calling. Inbound marketing allows you to hire inbound sales reps and in some cases combine them with an account management role. This lets sales reps focus on providing top quality service to people who already want to be talking to them rather than the rejection filled exercise of cold calling or standing at a vendor booth flagging down people as they walk by.
Inbound marketing is the practice of developing information materials that prospects can discover on their own and that lead them to contact your business after discovery. Inbound pipelines serve as an excellent supplement to outbound efforts and can supercharge sales efforts. Leads and sales generated from inbound methods are typically much more profitable and inbound sales messaging can be delivered around the clock. Are you ready to explore inbound marketing for your business? Give us a call.
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