Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a relatively new term that refers to marketing that is opt-in. Unlike outbound marketing, which consists of push techniques like TV, print, and radio advertising, public relations, direct mail, and telemarketing, inbound marketing is about joining the conversation that a prospective client or customer is already having with themselves. It’s not about trying to create a want or a need; it’s about satisfying a want or a need that already exists. So what exactly constitutes inbound marketing? Here are some examples:
Search engine optimization is the practice of making changes in different areas of your website and website presence in order for the search engines to find and deliver targeted visitors to your website. The foundation of an SEO campaign is the targeted keywords that are chosen. A website will only appear on a SERP (search engine results page) organically if what the website offers matches what the searcher is looking for. Instead of seeking out a target audience, a target audience is seeking you out. You aren’t interrupting them, you are assisting them.
Pay-per-click advertising, similar to SEO, is also based on keywords. The difference is that the keywords are paid for to guarantee that the ad is placed. It’s still a form of inbound marketing because the keywords still match the intent of the search query.
People don’t like to be marketed “at” by anybody and everybody. However, if they are interested in a particular product or service they can very easily choose to receive targeted messages via social media. They can connect with, follow, and become a fan of a company or brand on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. There are also a number of niche social networking sites. Social media marketing puts the power in the hands of the consumer. They can just as easily choose to stop following a brand on social media as they can choose to follow it. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of the company to ensure that the marketing provides value and isn’t annoying. It’s about pleasing the audience.
A big part of inbound marketing is creating and sharing useful content with a target audience. This establishes the company as a legitimate source of information and knowledge. Bloggers aren’t forcing people to visit their blog, the people that visit the blog choose to do so on their own because they are getting some value out of reading the content.
Inbound marketing is an extremely important part of the marketing mix these days as consumers grow tired of “interruption” marketing. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional outbound marketing is dead. It still serves a very crucial brand building purpose. The best marketing strategy is diverse and includes both types. After all, the success rate of inbound marketing tactics is higher when the user has already heard about the brand via traditional marketing channels.