Inbound marketing is an effective approach to growing your customer base by using contemporary digital methods to get customers to come to you.
This contrasts with traditional outbound marketing, which utilizes a series of wider reaching approaches in order to garner the attention of customers (e.g. TV, radio and print advertising, cold calling, and trade shows), all of which involve actively seeking customers.
Inbound marketing flips the script by utilizing existing user dynamics within the digital media marketplace. Instead of businesses seeking customers, customers instead seek you.
What are the differences between inbound and outbound marketing?
As mentioned at the start of this blog, outbound marketing refers to the more traditional advertising approaches taken by businesses in order to attract customers. These methods are essentially a form of broadcasting – i.e. putting your message out into the world, and hoping that people discover it.
The method behind this type of approach is to make your brand, product, or service more well-known amongst the general public, increasing your reputation, and therefore customer-base across a range of mediums. It’s a solid tactic that can still be effective in the modern marketplace, particularly when combined with other digital methods, although it does have certain limitations.
If outbound techniques can be thought of as marketing with a megaphone, inbound is marketing with a magnet. This contemporary digital technique positions your website as a way to draw customers to you through informative content. Inbound marketing uses our understanding of user behaviors and analytics to provide specific, targeted content designed to address users’ questions and problems.
Instead of projecting your message into a general space, inbound marketing is designed to bring specific, qualified leads to your website. These leads should then be easier to convert into satisfied customers as they are already interested in a particular product or service (otherwise they wouldn’t have been drawn to your site in the first place). Inbound marketing is about targeting ideal customers and using content to bring them directly to you.
How does inbound marketing work?
Thanks to the rise of digital technologies, users are often far more tech-savvy and increasingly adept researchers who use the internet to seek answers to a specific problem or gather more information. When watching a TV series or film, for example, many of us will also be researching specific actors to see what else they’ve done, following relevant Twitter and Instagram pages, and checking fan theories online.
There is a widespread culture amongst modern digital users for information seeking, which is not just reserved for watching TV. Users are also keen to find out more information about products they’re interested in, or to answer a specific question they have. Inbound marketing works by providing these users with a range of helpful content and tools that answer their questions and provide depth of information.
A successful inbound marketing methodology attracts users to a business’ website and attempts to convert them into customers by using relevant, useful content that answers a user’s specific problem. By providing the right information alongside relevant products and services, you have an excellent chance of turning visitors into satisfied customers.
The users who are driven to your website are in an excellent position to buy, as they were actively seeking a product, which makes it easier to convert targeted leads into customers.
By utilizing SEO and knowledge of user behaviors in online spaces, inbound marketing offers numerous benefits for your business and consumers, and can both improve your ROI while adding value for your customers.
Why inbound marketing improves ROI
Inbound strategies can improve your business’ ROI in a number of ways. First and foremost, as they don’t require any tangible advertising materials (such as printed literature or POS), inbound marketing methods are usually much cheaper than outbound approaches. In fact, according to research from the software company HubSpot, finding a lead through inbound marketing will cost 62% less on average than if the same lead was obtained via outbound methods.
While how much a marketing method costs is a significant factor, it is far from the only reason why inbound marketing helps to improve ROI. Because of the inbound methodology, adopting this approach to marketing is about targeting more qualified leads, which means that less time and resources are spent on unqualified leads.
Additionally, this type of approach creates higher customer conversion rates as well. Inbound marketing finds ideal customers who are looking for a specific product. This removes a large portion of chance from traditional outbound marketing, as you can create a clear profile of who your customers are and how they can be targeted.
Unlike people who may have seen an advert on TV, the users who arrive on your site have visited for a specific purpose, and are therefore more likely to become customers.
Outbound marketing methods are designed to cast a wide net, while inbound tactics seek ideal consumers, which makes them more efficient, improving conversion rates and your ROI.
Inbound marketing and increased value for customers
In addition to offering clear benefits to your business, inbound marketing can also improve your customers’ experience by increasing the value of your website as a resource.
As mentioned already in this blog, the internet has significantly affected the way consumers engage with content and businesses. Customers are often quite savvy and use online resources to find the answers to questions before buying anything – they want information as well as a product.
An old-fashioned sales pitch won’t do the job, and websites that offer the guidance and information users are looking for (in an unbiased and not pushy way) will add value to their experience with your website.
By creating this value, you are building a better relationship with your customers, ensuring they are happy with what you offer, and importantly – that you increase the rate of return too.
Inbound marketing uses modern tactics to target ideal customers through digital channels, therefore bringing qualified leads into your business. This helps to provide a greater ROI for businesses, through improved conversion rates and lower costs, while adding value to the customer’s experience through high-quality, informative content.
While outbound methods are still a useful and viable approach to bringing in customers, inbound marketing is a highly effective approach ideal for the digital marketplace.
About The Author:
Rob Samuels is a writer for Aira based in the UK. He has been writing on various subjects for several years and has an avid interest in web, SEO, and all things digital media.