Inbound marketing is the business approach that focuses on high quality, valuable content creation to attract buyers. Inbound marketing aims to attract unknown customers through engaging informative content based on their buying journey. Its focus is on communicating, educating, and engaging your audience in a transparent manner. Inbound channels include web content and SEO, your blog, social media marketing, signing up for webinar or newsletter, downloading an ebook, or advertising. Inbound marketing involves connecting with the audience with useful content through search engines and link sharing with friends in an organic manner.
On the contrary, outbound marketing is the business methodology that involves reaching out to your prospects, of which some information is available. The audience is not entirely unknown, and the main objective is to communicate, educate, and convert them into customers. Outbound marketing includes email marketing, lead qualification calling, appointment booking for sales teams, SMS marketing, etc.
Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing
Both inbound and outbound approaches have a common goal of lead generation and driving sales.
As the names indicate, INbound marketing involves prospects coming IN to your site or mailing list at their own will. Whereas, OUTbound marketing consists of sending messages OUT to your prospective customers.
Inbound marketing leads to the formation of the required connections and finding the solutions to problems of prospects. On the other hand, outbound marketing interposes the prospects sometimes with unwanted content.
|Focuses on high quality content creation.
|Uses traditional non-digital strategies to gain attention.
|Attracts interested audience (Pull tactics)
|Message sent to everybody irrespective of their interest (Push tactics).
|Interactive and two-way communication
|Inert and one-way communication
|Pulls in customers
|Seeks out customers
|Channels include blogs, social media, search engines, referrals, opt-in emails
|Channels include print ads, TV ads, billboards, radio, telemarketing
Inbound marketing is more successful than outbound marketing, as it allows you to communicate with the people who have willingly permitted you. It will enable the entrepreneurs to give detailed holistic information about your product and services on your distribution platform, with computable metrics.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing revolves around gaining trust and respect, thus building up long-lasting impact in the marketplace.
- The inbound channel inputs require very little expenditure, including setting up your website, utilizing social media, content writing, etc.
- Though it takes time to build the following on social media like Facebook and content marketing, the long-lasting effects are worth it!
- Inbound channels aim to delight their prospects and not irritate them.
- It provides a two-way communication platform for prospects and entrepreneurs.
- The prospects or the audience is more receptive to your messages as they are interested in your product and intend to purchase it.
- Inbound marketing gives compound returns.
Limitations of Inbound Marketing
- Inbound marketing is inexpensive if the entrepreneurs have the right skillset of content writing, marketing, or a developer. Else outsourcing these tasks will become expensive for startups or small companies.
- Constant time investment is needed for creating high-quality content in inbound campaigns.
- The inbound marketing process takes a long time and is difficult to analyze accurately.
- The return on investment (ROI) is difficult to track.
Steps involved in Inbound marketing process
- Turning the strangers to visitors by attracting through different channels.
- Turning visitors to leads through calls to action on your landing pages.
- Turning leads to customers through two-way communication.
- Turning customers to testimonials through encouraging them to refer.
Key Channels of Inbound Marketing
The key channels of inbound marketing that can be used independently or in collaboration are discussed below.
- Social media campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
- Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website text
- Landing pages
- Viral videos
- Web-based seminars (Webinars)
Web content with the “viral” factor
The web content, including blogs, informative pages, and other articles, have a cumulative impact on the audiences. The content, both digital and offline through social media posts, play a vital role in establishing an inbound traffic flow.
Web content with search-ranking factor and SEO
The entrepreneurs should focus on creating content with the scope of top rankings in Google for targeted keywords. Maintaining the keyword rankings of your content will ensure constant traffic. The primary mode of search traffic is the text, compared to the search of videos on Google’s first result pages. The hiring of good search optimizers and writers can lead to an enormous change in scope and attaining high rankings for the companies.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and the organic search play a key role in marking your website’s presence online. SEO optimizes your existing content, thus making it visible in various search engines. When you learn about your customers, their products, and their mode of search for required products, you can modify your content in such a way that it appears on user search and thus brings them into your marketing funnel.
The paid unfiltered traffic has proven to be an unsustainable way to increase traffic as traffic lasts until your money lasts. In contrast, the organic search is a classic source of traffic that delivers at low maintenance or content update cost.
Attract with social media posts, hashtags, and groups
In the current scenario, social media is the most appropriate platform for securing the attention of targeted filtered traffic through various dedicated groups and hashtags. The social media profile enables in establishing a direct communication channel between the potential users and the entrepreneurs as any question or doubts can be immediately answered. The quick response eventually leads to an opening for a sales hook. The entrepreneurs should choose the right social media networks platform suited best for their targeted inbound marketing as different social media platforms have different audiences.
Through the group postings and using these platforms, the traffic might not be massive, but the quality and probability of conversions as well as ROI are very high than the outbound channels. The dedicated social media groups on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. have members interested in that particular subject and, therefore, are an excellent source of targeted inbound campaigning. The likelihood of receiving an excellent response on your posts of a new launch or your blog or any other relevant information related to your brand is very high. These social media groups have targeted followers and have a high probability of purchasing your products or services.
OOH and DOOH
Advertising your products and services is a critical component of marketing. Out of Home (OOH) and digital out of home (DOOH) advertising constitute different channels of advertising, including roadside banners, public digital displays, public internet kiosks, and many others. OOH refers to the traditional form of print advertising, while DOOH refers to the digitalized upgrade version of OOH that includes display channels and the purchase and selling of these ad spaces.
The use of blogs for business purposes is well established and extremely potent inbound marketing channel, which is under your complete control. The entrepreneurs get ample opportunities to showcase their opinions and insights on any subject through their blogs. Each page of your blogs serves as a route for the user to enter your inbound marketing funnel. With the increase in the number of blog pages, the likelihood of a user being attracted to your site for gaining valuable information also increases.
Similar to SEO (search engine optimization), page optimization focuses and relies on user experiences. Page optimization aims to make it easy for a new user/reader to check the content on your page, see your call to action, and eventually move down the funnel and convert it to a customer by purchasing your products or services. The process of converting a new user requires high quality and valuable content creation, several repetitive visits, ideal products, low pricing, and other ways of attracting users.
Customer Service Satisfaction
Customer service is the key to connect and making things right with your customer after the sales. It is vital to build your reputation for providing product support, which will help gain your users’ goodwill. Customer satisfaction will lead to positive reviews about your products or services both at online platforms and offline word of mouth. Eventually, your efforts and dedication towards your product and after-sales service will turn your customers into walking advertisements for your brand!
Any negative reviews from your customers can pose a hurdle or blockage in your sales funnel, thus influencing other prospects’ conversion to customers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of an entrepreneur to ensure maximum customer satisfaction and positive experiences with your high-quality product or service.
Inbound Marketing Metrics
Analytics is the backbone of marketing that allows you to measure, manage, and monitor your marketing performance. The analytic tactics of inbound channels can range from the number of people following you on social media to a complex lead conversion ratio. The metrics that entrepreneurs should regularly monitor, measure, and analyze for their website performance are discussed below:
- Sessions: It allows you the overall growth measurement of your website.
- Traffic Source: It indicates the performance of your search engine optimization efforts through the source of visitors. The traffic source can be direct, organic, or referral.
- Indexed pages: The number of pages cataloged by the search engines as your website component is termed indexed pages. A blog will help in improving your site’s performance through this measure.
- Website goal: The website goal refers to the meaningful action taken by a user on your site. It can be a form of submission, making a phone call, online sale, eBook download, new blog subscriber, or commenting on your blog.
- Visitor conversion rate: It represents the ratio of goal completions to the total number of visitors. The metrics take website traffic as well as website usability into consideration.
- Landing page conversion rate: It is the measure of visitor percentage that fills the form on the landing page and indicates the efficiency of your landing pages to convert the visitors into customers. The filled out forms play a crucial role in identifying contact as Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).
- Nurturing, Funnel completion rate: It represents the fraction of website leads that make a purchase.
- Social media activity: The creation of high-quality informational content through social media attracts a targeted audience. Social media traffic on your postings can multiply using appropriate hashtags on your postings and engaging your followers.
- New contacts: The metrics measures number of new connections received in a fixed period.
- Blog keyword rankings: The blog rankings are also one of the key inbound marketing metrics. The use of right tail keywords and monitoring them in Google are ways of optimizing your blogs.
- Inbound email statistics: Email marketing is one of the most effective and proven channels for nurturing prospects for a long duration. The click-through rate and the un-subscribers’ rates indicate your success.
The digital tools that can be utilized for tracking the metrics as mentioned above are:
- Google Analytics
- Marketing Automation platform
- Web analytics software
- Call tracking software
- Social Media Platform analytics
- Google Webmaster tools
- Email marketing platform
- Pop-up offer tool
- A survey tool
The inbound marketing and all its channels targeting the same end goal can be very effective. The constant monitoring and analysis of these metrics result in a higher number of leads and customers and in gaining insights into the process involved in the conversion. It helps in keeping the campaigns focused and giving opportunities for optimizing your marketing efforts.