Because inbound marketing isn’t always clearly defined, some business owners resist replacing ineffective outbound marketing techniques with inbound marketing strategies.
But ignoring the success rate of inbound marketing is more than a bad business decision; it’s one that will leave your company scrambling for reach, leads, customer loyalty and brand reliability in today’s complex, ultra-competitive digital marketplace.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand why outbound marketing is worth the investment and have stellar examples of companies who are doing inbound marketing the right way.
Inbound Marketing 101: The Basics
Traditional marketing revolves around selling products or services using compelling storylines. Inbound marketing gets your customers to tell that story for you.
Inbound marketing begins with a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and problems. What are the biggest challenges they face, how do they make their buying decisions and what media channels do they rely on? Using analytics, inbound marketers then carefully evaluate how a target audience behaves, and create high quality content (blogs, white papers, videos, etc.) designed to educate, enlighten and entertain.
“Start with the soul and end with the sale. Not the other way around.”
~ CC Chapman
The following info-graphic from our friends at Moz drives home the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing:
“Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” Jay Baer
The end game for inbound marketers is to attract customers by earning their attention. Inbound marketing teams rely on visually appealing, well-written content to help make that happen.
Rather than banging on the door, demanding entrance (outbound marketing), inbound marketers draw consumers to a brand or product by solving a problem, answering a question, or simply delighting them with beautiful, entertaining content.
Companies Using Inbound Marketing Creatively and Effectively
Right At Home uses content marketing and influencer outreach for franchise development.
Right At Home Franchise Recruitment is developing and promoting content in a unique way that melds traditional advertising, and public relations with Inbound Marketing for lead generation. The “magic” here, (I won’t use the term silver bullet since we all know those are only to kill were-wolves) lies in the content strategy & execution, buyer persona development, segmented messaging, digital foundation, data and the lead nurturing that is rolled out after the potential candidate clicks on the article and starts the buyer journey. You can take any blog post, any secured placement or any Google Display, Social Media or PPC Ad but if these tactics have not been architect-ed around the nuances of technical execution then the tactics won’t matter and the results won’t show success. This is best delivered by a content strategist who is trained within inbound marketing execution and has technical execution skills. This person or firm must also understand how to “read” the data and provide your with the analysis you need to understand the value and ROI that was created.
Franchise Marketing Systems utilizes a transaction based lead generation exchange to find existing small businesses and determines if they want to be a franchisor. They use big data, e-books, landing pages, extensive lead nurturing and segmented video content to connect with prospects around specific pain points and services. Again, all of these tactics and pieces of content do not “just generate leads.” A highly systematized strategy is developed and launched in a way that is completely custom to Franchise Marketing Systems, the needs of their prospects and further refined to connect with specific needs of those prospects and where they fall within the sales funnel/buyer journey.
Explore these company websites, noting how they attract their target audience using blogs, videos, white papers and free eBooks. All of the sites are digitally optimized, accessible and easy to use. Although each company uses inbound marketing differently, they have all successfully expanded their reach by listening to potential customers, understanding what they need and then providing answers.
“The ultimate content strategy is listening.” – The Sales Lion
Still Not Convinced?
Some of you are nodding your heads, ready to jump on the inbound solutions bandwagon. But a few of you are still sitting firmly on the fence. If you’re not convinced inbound marketing will help your business grow and prosper, your marketing team hasn’t done enough to explain the value of inbound marketing.
The digital age has permanently changed how consumers interact with brands and make buying decisions. Before making a purchase, customers do most of their research online, and the majority make their buying decision before ever setting foot in a store or speaking to a company representative.
It’s only after they’ve Googled your company and seen how you stack up next to the competition that they might give your sales team a shot, requesting more information or stopping by one of your stores.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for companies to speak their customer’s language, connecting with them at every opportunity on authentic, solutions based level. Brands that employ inbound techniques to teach rather than preach quickly garner a loyal following, and see their marketing dollars work.
Companies that rely on inbound marketing techniques are positioned to funnel qualified leads from the consideration/research phase to the critical point where they trust your brand and are ready to make a buying decision.
Inbound Marketing’s Core: Teach, Don’t Preach
The company who earns a customer’s loyalty with a consistent digital presence that says, “We’re interested in our customers, we know what we’re talking about and we’re committed to making your life better in every way we can” wins over the competition. Every. Single. Time.
That, in a nutshell, is the core of inbound marketing.
Sometimes making the transition from outbound to inbound marketing is as simple as putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. What helps you trust a company? What kinds of websites do you enjoy spending time on, and what types of content do you find useful?
Begin to see social media and inbound marketing as a holistic way to show your customers the integrity, mission and value of your company. Put yourself in their shoes, and focus on creating valuable, interesting, enlightening content that they will share. Turn your customers into natural brand promoters by helping them believe in your company with targeted, high quality content.
At Inbound Lead Solutions, we help entrepreneurs and businesses increase leads, sales and reach with inbound methodology. Let us help you build your online reputation as a thought leader, educator and reliable partner using the core principals of inbound marketing. Our team will be there to assist you every step of the way.
Founder and President of Inbound Lead Solutions, Nicole Hudson helps franchises, small businesses and national brands optimize their digital marketing strategies using a holistic approach to social media marketing. Applying integrated, analytics based digital marketing strategies, she positions companies to improve their reach, visibility and credibility quickly and cost effectively across all social media channels.A recognized thought leader, Hudson presented at the 54th Annual IFA Convention’s Digital Marketing Summit with Google, Moz, LinkedIn and Constant Contact and was twice awarded by the Franchise Update Media Group for excellence in social media strategies for franchise businesses.Hudson is also an experienced public speaker and regular trainer in lead generation, social media marketing, content marketing, local search technology and software. Her work was featured in a recent case study from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions on Franchising Search Engine Optimization and Lead Generation, and she authored The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook in collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom). Hudson also hosted a Master Class PR University webinar with LinkedIn, Citi Bank, Dell and JCPR. Nicole also devised social media strategies for two national television appearances on Be the Boss and Undercover Boss. Hudson is a member of the International Franchise Association, sits on the Marketing & Technology committee, FranTech Task Force and is a contributor to Franchising World Magazine.
Connect with Nicole Hudson
248 808 9922