For most of us, marketing is the core when it comes to many aspects of our businesses and our personal lives. It starts from early childhood when we market ourselves to the rest of the class (remember the efforts you put into picking a new school bag and clothes for the first day at school?), and continues during every aspect of our lives. When it comes to properly marketing your business, things can get a little bit more complicated. Our society is leaving behind the old-fashioned outbound marketing and is preferring the assistance of a relevantly new kid on the block, the inbound marketing.
What is outbound marketing?
In order to start talking about what inbound marketing is, it is essential to understand what outbound marketing is, and why it has to be replaced. Outbound marketing is the traditional marketing way, which you are familiar with, that was around for years. If you’ll ask me to explain it in a word, I believe the word ‘push’ will be a great choice. Outbound marketing is all about pushing the advertised content to the potential customers. Often, by interfering in an unnatural way. This type of advertisement also tends to be poorly focused. Examples include TV ads that interfere in the middle of a great movie, these ads are poorly focused, because unless you try to sell magic wands during a Harry Potter movie, there is a very low possibility you’ll be able to show your ads to a targeted audience, simply because you can know NOTHING about the person who is watching the TV!
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the exact opposite. Instead of pushing advertisements to a poorly focused audience, by interrupting whatever they were doing (e.g. Watching movies, reading a newspaper, listening to the radio), inbound marketing focuses on providing the advertised product as an answer to a need of your potential client. This technique is possible thanks to the fast evolving internet. A business that sells pet food doesn’t have to pay for old school advertisement in the newspaper, where many of the readers don’t even have pets. Now, this kind of businesses can make themselves found when people are looking for the best food for their dog or cat. Inbound marketing is all about letting people with certain needs find businesses that can provide answers.
How inbound marketing can help attract, convert and retain customers?
Having the ability to attract to your business potential clients who look exactly for what you have to offer, exactly when they need it. Sounds great, isn’t it?
When it comes to inbound marketing, there are 5 different categories in which potential customers can be related to your business:
Stranger – Somebody who has no idea who you are or how you can help him solve a need he has.
Visitor – Somebody who managed to find you on the web, now he is trying to discover more about your business, how you can help him, and whether he can trust your business or not.
Lead – Somebody who got interested in your business and responded to a call-to-action or filled a contact form. These people have not made any purchase yet, but they spent time reading your website and they are interested in the product you provide.
Customer – Somebody who had bought a product from your business for the first time.
Promoter – A regular client of your business. People in this group are happy with your services and often will recommend them to others.
Inbound Marketing is a completely new approach.
Proper implementation of inbound marketing can help you take your visitors through the different categories until they become customers and even promoters. Instead of pushing your product for people with old, ineffective methods, you should implement proper inbound marketing for your business.
You will immediately notice the difference in the results. Strangers will discover your business because of the great content you have, they will become visitors as you are answering their questions, you will develop new leads from those visitors who need your product and trust you enough. Of course, it is your responsibility to make sure you manage to convert these leads into customers. If you’ll do your job well, they will buy. If you’ll do your job great, they will become repeating clients and promoters.
This is the real story behind marketing in 2016, people are much smarter, the world is much more competitive. It is just not enough to buy random advertisement spaces in random magazines and hope that work will flow in. Hopefully, by now you understand the great benefits of inbound marketing and the fact it is a necessary approach for any business. Next time, we will talk about how can you actually implement inbound marketing for your business.