Anyone taking their first steps into the world of business and eCommerce has surely heard the term “inbound marketing” at some point along the way, however many find themselves confused as to what this term really means, and why it matters to the success of their business.
In business, there are two main forms of marketing: outbound and inbound. Over the past few decades, outbound marketing has traditionally been considered an industry standard, and involves the use of phone calls, emails, and even door-to-door selling techniques in order to make sales. This method has historically worked very well, but changes in business have allowed for new inbound marketing techniques to become the new standard for most industries.
Inbound marketing takes the same similar concepts of outbound marketing and uses them in an entirely new way.
Instead of bombarding potential customers with information about deals and sales they may find valuable, inbound marketing works by providing value to customers in hopes that they will return the favor by giving the company their business.
With inbound marketing, customers are made to feel like the choice is theirs to make, and that they should choose one business over another based on the value presented, whereas outbound marketing focuses more directly on persuading customers for their business with aggressive sales tactics.
In today’s business world, inbound marketing is standard, and understanding how the benefits of inbound marketing can help your business is crucial to keeping up with competitors, as outbound marketing tactics are becoming less and less effective with time.
In order to get started with effective inbound marketing, it’s important to understand that the very core of the process comes from providing immense value to customers – value they cannot refuse. This is done by offering value and asking for nothing in return, which then encourages customers to continue working with the company. Some popular methods of inbound marketing include the distribution of free content such as eBooks, webinars, mobile apps, and infographics that can be useful to potential customers in that specific niche.
To get an idea of how inbound marketing operates, think of a company that sells design templates for web designers. The company could offer a set of free templates to site visitors for free, and once the customer realizes that they have gotten excellent value out of the free templates, they will feel more inclined to make a purchase with the same company in the future.
Inbound marketing often involves giving away some kind of product or content for free, but can generally be done with very few overhead costs. Distributing a free eBook can cost little to nothing, depending on the need for paid writers, and in turn can generate hundreds or thousands of sales.
While inbound marketing strategies are extremely beneficial to companies in today’s modern age, this is not to say that all outbound marketing strategies are ineffective, or should be forgotten. Rather, outbound marketing should be tactful, and should work in conjunction with inbound marketing techniques. Poor outbound marketing strategies can not only prove ineffective, but can turn away customers if done improperly, however well-planned outbound marketing strategies can be a powerful tool to use alongside inbound marketing tactics.