Inbound Marketing — as Hubspot coined it “Inbound Marketing,” have unquestionably invested a ton of time and money marking it as their own.
Here’s the means by which they characterize it: “Inbound advertising centers around creating quality content that pulls individuals towards your organization and item, where they normally need to be.
By adjusting the substance you distribute with your customer’s advantages, you normally draw in an inbound traffic that you would then be able to convert, close, and delight eventually.”
Inbound Marketing: Why you as a CEO of SME should consider it?
Inbound marketing has been around for a while now since Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan coined the term many years back(though it existed long before that too under different fragmented informal terms) , but has really picked up pace in the last few years with the biggest of conglomerates like Tatas to even the smallest of start-ups relying on it to attract potential customers & grow their business.
Inbound marketing has become quite a rage in recent times spawning thousands of digital marketing gurus & marketing firms dedicated to running & tweaking inbound marketing campaigns.
But is it really worth all the hue & cry and should you focus on investing in it? My one word answer- ABSOLUTELY you should especially since you as a CEO of a SME are just starting up & would be looking to attract & build rapport with your customers at minimal costs. For the long answer, read on-
What is Inbound Marketing?
It is a form of marketing focused on providing information through content designed specifically to address customer needs & provide solutions for the same.
The content can be disseminated through many channels such as social media platforms, blog posts, company newsletters, e-mails, etc.
In contrast to traditional outbound marketing methods like cold calling, advertising, etc. Inbound marketing focuses on the user to take initiative and is hence far less intrusive.
As a head of any SME the major constraint is budget & the major aim to generate a high ROI.
Inbound marketing helps you address these two major focus points & should definitely form a part of your overall marketing strategy.
You as a CEO don’t really need to know the complete ins & outs of inbound marketing though having a sound understanding of basic inbound marketing concepts will surely help you while approving your marketing team’s plans.
Here is a checklist you need to go through before you start implementing Inbound Marketing. It will give you an overview – how you should begin devising a plan for you busines with Inbound Marketing.
So without any further delay let’s dive down straight into why as a CEO you should consider using inbound channel for marketing:
Cost effective/ high ROI:
The main focus of majority of companies especially SMEs is to convert potential customers at as low costs as possible.
And it’s here that inbound marketing helps play a key role. It is highly cost effective- it doesn’t cost much to setup a blog or digital marketing campaigns.
You can start running digital marketing campaigns at as low as Rs.50 & gradually scale them up while continuously tweaking them as you go along depending on customer feedback and campaign data.
Recent studies show that it takes on an average one-third the cost to generate a lead from inbound channel vs.
What it would have taken to generate the same lead from outbound channel. This would ultimately lead to higher ROI which as a CEO should be your final goal.
Less intrusive & intent to buy:
Inbound marketing let’s the customer take the front seat & make the first move.If a customer finds your content relevant & if it looks to satisfy his/her need, then he/she is bound to make the inquiry.
Also, if the customer himself is making the inquiry it definitely means he is interested in your product/service & it becomes far more easier t convert him.
As said above inbound marketing let’s the customer take the front seat & is always on the buyer’s terms.
It let’s the customer consume the information at his/her own leisure without interrupting their daily schedule.
Over a period the customer will start trusting you if you keep on delivering quality content & will also start referring other potential customer to your blog/newsletter.
This helps build a rapport with the customer & also build a community around your business over a period of time.
You don’t really need me to tell what wonders can a top notch viral post can do to your business.
A great well written post can become an instant hit on social media within a matter of hours & be shared with lakhs of users skyrocketing your visibility & brand awareness.
Efforts you need to take to successfully grow your business with Inbound Marketing:
Everything has it’s own pros & cons and inbound marketing isn’t any different. It too has some disadvantages though it’s advantages far outweigh its cons.
Inbound marketing requires constant time & efforts in order to be successful. You need to constantly analyze campaign data as well as keep your content customer worthy in order to continuously tweak your campaigns to generate quality leads.
It requires varied skill sets like content writing, SEO, data analytics, social media marketing, Adwords, etc. which quite frankly a small company just starting up may find hard to do. It always helps to hire a good consultant to initially help with your campaigns.
Inbound & Outbound marketing: The right mix:-
With inbound marketing having so many advantages over outbound channel does it mean we should stop investing in outbound channel? No you shouldn’t- Inbound & outbound marketing go hand-in-hand with one supplementing the other.
Many a times you will still need to cold call a customer in order to generate lead & convert it (the customer may not be active on social media or maybe even be too busy throughout the day to really have a look at your newsletter).
The only thing that matters here is to have a right mix of inbound & outbound channel in your marketing strategy.
So what should be the ideal ratio? It’s really impossible to suggest an arbitrary ratio without studying the data. It depends on a variety of facts like industry,consumer behaviour in that sector, the stage that your business is at, spending capacity, etc.
Future trends in inbound marketing:
Inbound marketing has become a highly competitive field with thousands of players vying for customer’s attention leading to saturation in advertising.
However, there are a lot of new developments going on in inbound marketing space which you as a CEO can leverage to better your marketing strategy.
The term ‘influencer marketing’ keeps cropping up a lot now-a-days over social media & different blogs and is said to be the next big thing in inbound marketing.
Even Facebook recently rolled out new controls & functions such as boosting posts from the creator’s page when the influencer gives permission so that the target audience will see the post originating from the influencer rather than the brand & many other functionalities(but that’s a topic for another article, here we will just touch upon the concept briefly) in order to help marketers handle Influencer marketing campaigns in a better & simpler manner.
So what exactly is ‘influencer marketing’? It involves marketing products through people who have a sway on what other people buy. A typical example may include asking a highly respected travel blogger to write an article about your product & endorse it (assuming your company is into travel space).
A huge number of people follow the blogger & respect his/her opinion and are more likely to invest in your product since they value & trust his/her opinions.
Let’s face it- everyday we are inundated with huge amount of content being shown to us over so many different sources be it social media platforms, newsletters, emails or blogs.
With so much information being disseminated daily it’s becoming tougher & tougher to grab your customer’s attention & on top of it the attention span of current age users has reduced considerably over the last few years.
Video marketing isn’t just a passing fad but here to stay for good. A short, witty & informative video has much more probability of catching your user’s attention as compared to plain text.
Also, video content is more likely to be shared over social media/YouTube. According to a recent report by Cisco, video content will account for nearly 69% of all consumer internet traffic by the end of this year.
Video content is fast becoming one of the most engaging format to grab consumer’s attention & I suggest you adopt it(if not already done so) to stay ahead in the game.
According to a study conducted by Experian, personalized emails saw six times the transactions of emails that weren’t personalized & personalized websites for visitors saw an 18% increase in sales.In today’s world personalization isn’t just a norm but the expectation/demand of majority of customers.
As a marketer you should focus on not just ‘attracting’ customer but also ‘delighting’ him/her to build a long lasting rapport with your customer & providing a personalized experience will help you do that.
Gather as much data as you can about your customer’s shopping behaviour, personal details, demographics, feedback etc. & serve him/her content based on that data.
Ask him/her to fills out forms, surveys, indicate their preferences, etc & in return you can offer them something in-return such as maybe gift vouchers/discounts so that they are more willing to provide the details.
That’s all folks from my end. Hope the article helped you in gaining some knowledge about Inbound Marketing.