Wouldn't it be great if you had a steady stream of prospects coming to you rather than chasing them down with ads? Even more, what if that audience consisted entirely of people who were interested in solving the problem that your brand addresses?
These traits are common benefits of a marketing mothodology known as Inbound Marketing. You've certainly come across inbound marketing, perphaps from an industry thought-leader providing valuable information through their podcast, a how-to blog as you were planning a project, or a pdf of business tips that you received in exchange for your email address. The point is that you willing to seek out this information, and therefore, engage with the brand promoting the content.
And, you don't need to be an internet guru to take advantage of the benefits of this type of marketing. More and more, businesses of all sizes and across industries are harnessing the potential of Inbound Marketing to get traction in their market.
Inbound Marketing is a methodology of attracting, engaging, and delighting your customers. Core to this style of marketing is that potential customers, who are interested in your solutions, are attracted to your business as they find a solution to a problem. This is opposed to traditional advertising, or outbound marketing, which pushes a message to an audience, whether it is welcome or not. The idea is to “solve, not sell.”
It's important to note that the inbound methodology includes three aspects: attracting, engaging, and delighting you customer and these are meant to span the entire organization, including the marketing, sales, and service departments. The idea is that every interaction a customer has with your brand serves to reinforce the momentum created in each department. There are a variety of tactics and tools that can help accomplish this. As the title indicates, the emphasis of this post is about "attracting." The primary method in the attract stage is to provide content which potential customers will seek out. This content can be in the form of videos, blog posts, courses, and social media. Further, it should provide value to your customers–such as training, education, reviews, social opportunities, and entertainment.
This style of marketing was coined by marketing technology company, Hubspot. They use this marketing methodology widely in their own marketing, such as with HubSpot academy, an extensive blog, and sponsorship of the HubSpot Podcast Network. Since their target customer is a marketing director, this content includes education in marketing practices, business insights, and so-on. Although the content itself is not their product, it serves as a way to attract their audience to them, where they have the opportunity to also provide their software for further support.
So, beyond simply providing content, the aim for the marketer is typically to offer continued support through further engagement. This often includes asking for an email address or contact information generally. To do so, the content may be gated (requiring an email address before delivery of the content) or simply offering a form and incentive to sign up for follow-up communication.
A primary benefit of Inbound Marketing is that the audience of your content can be highly qualified, before ever talking to a sales-person. Rather than reaching an audience to whom your product is irrelevant, you can reach an audience that is actively seeking solutions to the same issues that your brand addresses.
This methodology also has the potential to keep marketing costs down. As opposed to traditional advertising, in which more ads require more spending, the content created for inbound marketing can be a store of value. As long as content is up-to-date, it can continue to attract and help additional visitors for long to come.
Another advantage this methodology provides is the opportunity for a brand to position itself as an expert in the field. This can help a brand differentiate from competitors and to position themselves based on their unique value, as opposed to competing on price.
To get started you will want to create a marketing plan that includes:
Here at Tad Fannin Marketing Media, I am Inbound Certified by Hubspot and happy to offer options to implement this style of marketing with my clients in their marketing mix.