What Is Inbound Marketing?
Not so long ago marketing was defined almost entirely by “outbound” activities or tactics: Direct marketing to acquire leads, public relations to push out the story, print advertising to push the brand in front of your targets, etc.
As we all know changes in technology have wrought changes to the structure of the media which have transferred power — irreversibly — to buyers.
Information about products and services once moved in a linear fashion and through a small number of powerful media masters from vendors to buyers. Today, buyers have complete control over information about vendors, their products and services.
The web, search engines, and other communication tools have driven this change. Some experts estimate that buyers are 70 percent of the way through their buy cycle before they become known to the potential vendor.
Buyers or users have access to all the information they need to make decisions about products and services from their desktop or laptop or mobile phone. They can use search tools, get reviews and opinions on community web sites, and consult their trusted peers for information without ever attending a trade show, reading a print advertisement, or responding to an email, or, God forbid, talking to a sales person.
The challenge for marketing, then, is to ensure that when buyers or potential buyers search for solutions to a problem which your product or service addresses — they find you. The tools and techniques for “findability” are very different from those of “outbound” or “interruption-based” marketing.
They involve vigorous search engine optimization strategies and pay-per-click programs; an approach to publishing via your web site, blogs, and on social networks that ensures your content performs well within the major search environments, and programs to establish and monitor your brand’s reputation which involve participation in online communities not governed by a small number of media masters, but by dozens or hundreds of user-driven and generated initiatives.
Answer these five questions as a start:
- What are the words or phrases that your potential buyers use when they search for solutions like yours online?
- Do you have a clear idea of where you brand needs to establish presence online?
- Have you defined the top 20 influencers in your target market (including competitors)?
- How can you most credibly assert a position of authority in your market?
- Are you actively monitoring your brand’s reputation as a key aspect of your marketing strategy?
Inbound marketing is a process that never ends and it often creates a major burden on internal marketing departments. To be successfully establish and maintain a strong presence online, companies need strategies to stay on top of what’s happening and constantly have a fresh stream of content in the pipe.
When you are ready to develop a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, do not hesitate to contact Us.