Why spend excessive amounts of money on advertising when some money could be saved with a specific strategy? I think anyone who knows what money is is in favor of saving it – and for marketers, inbound marketing is that specific strategy. It’s a tactful method that involves customers coming to YOU – instead of you going out of your way to grab the attention of potential customers. By combining inbound and outbound marketing efforts, a company can “see bottom-line results” according to an e-book written by the company Marketo. This article explains how, when done right, inbound marketing succeeds when traditional marketing efforts fail. Marketing is in the digital era along with the rest of the world, therefore the main focus of inbound marketing centers around creating unique content that is searchable, and will drive potential customers to you! The use of social media is key with this idea, because the more your content is able to be searched and shared via Facebook, Twitter, and other websites, the more publicity your blogs, press releases, videos, etc. will get.
Search Engine Optimization is an extremely important tactic that will help your inbound marketing efforts. You know those first pages and links that show up in your google search? Those companies are using SEO, and it’s working for them. When your content is ranked close to the top in a search, it means you’re using the right keywords that your potential customers are looking for – thus driving them straight to you.
Marketo makes sure to mention how inbound marketing can go wrong:
- Leads can be in high volume at first but dwindle over time.
- People might not know you are searchable in the first place
- People might know you’re a company, but have no idea what it is you do
- The inbound marketing efforts might just not be enough to break past the leading companies for a specific search
Market also explains how a successful use of the Inbound Marketing Multiplier has 3 components:
- Change Brand Recognition & Business: the more your content gets found and shared, the more people will recognize your brand and company, therefore they could potentially turn into a future customer!
- Make Prospects Speak your Language: by integrating a consistent language throughout all of your promotional marketing materials, customers will pick up on this language and use those words to search for your brand
- Capture your Target Market: this component does exactly what it says! And it’s achievable through both inbound and outbound marketing.
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the founders of HubSpot, can also be considered the founders of the term “inbound marketing.” HubSpot was the first company to quickly adapt to the ways of Web 2.0 and was “…considered a thought leader,” stated in the Harvard Business School case titled HubSpot: Inbound Marketing and Web 2.0. In 2011, it became apparent that if a company was resistant to adapting to the new digital ways of the world, they would imminently suffer the consequences. HubSpot and the founders were ahead of the curve and through implementing inbound marketing, they realized there were effective ways to actually pull customers to you, instead of pushing your products and/or services at them.
The HBS case emphasizes that for inbound marketing to be effective, you need to have compelling content. This is probably the most important component. If your material is lacking, no one will care to share it, and your brand and business recognition is going to remain low. Clearly that’s not the objective of any company. Therefore, having creative, unique, and memorable content is going to be what gets your blog etc. passed around through various social media sites, and therefore into the minds of your future customers. Another important component to inbound marketing stated in the HBS case is that your content must be easy to find. If you aren’t searchable, then what’s the point of your inbound marketing efforts? They will all have been for nothing if you can’t even be found. HubSpot is the company that created inbound marketing and since then, other companies have adapted to the new ways of digital marketing.
In an article written by David Klein, titled 5 Companies With Inbound Marketing Strategies That Work, he shares some insight into how 5 different companies have used inbound marketing and their success. The companies he lists include Salesforce, Cisco, Dell, GE, and Starbucks. Each of these 5 companies uses inbound marketing in their own way that works specific to their company, proving this method of marketing has many different functions for a business. It would be near impossible to argue that inbound marketing would not help a company.
So, back to my original question. Why spend all of your advertising money strictly on outbound marketing efforts? The answer is you shouldn’t. Inbound marketing is the digital trend and it would be tough to find a company that decides against this strategy.