Inbound planes. Inbound passes. Inbound Marketing. What do all three have in common? Each one delivers something of value. Inbound planes deliver passengers to their destination, inbound passes advance a basketball game, and inbound marketing brings an audience interested in hearing what your company has to say.
How is inbound marketing defined? Generally speaking, inbound marketing means creating content that naturally attracts the attention of your target audience. The advantage of this marketing mode is that it focuses on sharing knowledge, insights, or solutions that people are genuinely interested in. This is in contrast to the ‘hard sell’ that typically dominates business to consumer messages. The former approach creates an organic relationship and aligns business and consumer interests. The latter creates a transactional relationship in which one party (the consumer) feels pressure to choose a certain product or service.
The modern consumer of today doesn’t want to be pressured or forced. Knowledge is power, and consumers are more empowered when making buying decisions than ever before. Armed with information from countless Internet searches, people think they know what they want before a pitch is ever even made. For the businesses that are in the game to help educate consumers about what they do and how they solve problems, this is a great opportunity to create natural sales opportunities. This education involves publishing useful and relevant information in the form of blogs, social media postings, and website content that answer consumer questions or provide industry insights.
After attracting prospective clients through these inbound marketing channels, the next step of the process is converting these visitors into leads. Typically companies look to do this by means of a form for more information, a landing page, or a call-to-action. The key is to make the conversion process a natural ‘next-step’ in the process. When you can move seamlessly from information sharing to prospect conversion, you have made a successful inbound marketing play!
Of course it takes time, effort, and forethought to develop, implement, and sustain a successful inbound marketing strategy. But with dedication, you’ll find the rewards that come from sharing insights with your target audience and fostering mutual interests.