What is Inbound Marketing?
To understand Inbound Marketing, you must first be aware of the incumbent strategy, Outbound Marketing.
The most annoyingly ubiquitous and obnoxious advertisements are often part of a firm’s Outbound Marketing strategy. This would be best exemplified by the commercial breaks between innings of the Mariners game or flashy billboards for the local casino alongside I-5. When a company uses Outbound Marketing, they are fighting for potential customers’ attention by essentially standing on the table and shouting for the masses. While this has proven effective in putting your brand’s message out there, it may not be the most efficient way to make your message heard.
The idea of Inbound Marketing is all about providing relevant and interesting content in the right places to reach the right people without being interruptive. We want to empower our customers. But to do this effectively, you need to understand them:
- Who are you looking to attract as customers?
- What is their problem?
- How do they go about solving their problem?
- How do they find you?
The Inbound Methodology developed by Hubspot, a firm that specializes in Inbound Marketing, outlines the process of making sure ideal customers for your business find you without wasting time and money on people who have no use for your product/service. In other words, a construction company does not need to expend resources on attracting renters in apartments, that effort is better spent elsewhere.
To attract the right customer, you have to appeal to them so they are genuinely interested in your product/service. Remember, we want to empower our potential customers.
- Social Media
- Producing Unique Content (such as a video showing the process for preparing a dish at your restaurant)
Perhaps for your business, blogging is not the best way to reach the customer. Maybe your website should include a slideshow of projects or products instead, it is all up to you. In fact, nobody should have a better understanding of your ideal customer than you. The way you form your Inbound strategy should be unique to your business and your industry.
Once you have attracted your ideal customer, you want them to not only become a consumer but a promoter of your company. To do this, you need to manage leads, communicate efficiently, nurture customers, and continually evaluate the satisfaction of the customer, all while performing your task. This is difficult and time-consuming but is ultimately worth it.
Empowering your customers from the start and cultivating a positive relationship is just good business.
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