So what exactly is inbound marketing, and why is it so relevant to the modern digital landscape? Here’s a quick rundown, along with some notes on how to make inbound marketing work for your business.
As explained by HubSpot:
“Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive.”
Normal advertising – the kind that you see on your side bar on Facebook or interrupting your favourite TV show – is called outbound marketing, because it’s interruptive, it aims to steal your attention while you’re doing something else.
Inbound marketing encourages your audience to come to you, through the provision of helpful, useful content and material that delivers on their needs, information that they’re actively seeking.
“With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”
Inbound marketing has seen a huge rise in recent times because people have more capacity than ever to seek out information for themselves.
These days, when people have a need, they head to Google and search for an answer, they post a question to their friends on social media – they’re able to seek out the exact information they need faster and more accurately than ever before.
And when they go searching, you want your business to be the result they find in order to maximise your response. Thus, it’s important to create content that caters to common questions, and to share material that answers queries that come up in social channels, as this helps boost exposure for your business.
Inbound marketing also better aligns with how people use social media than disruptive ads – via social, people are now more in control than ever over their media inputs, which gives them the capability to shut out any marketing messages they don’t like. Aligning with user behaviour helps avoid being blocked out – which also relates to ad blocking, another practice which is on the rise.
How to get started
The key to maximising your inbound marketing strategy lies first in understanding the questions your target audience is asking, and how you can answer them.
To do this, you need to listen – you can conduct surveys of your clients, get feedback from your sales team on common questions, check out Google Trends for related searches and queries.
You can also ‘listen’ to social media – on Twitter, for example, you can set up a search for your target keywords and get an idea of the questions people are asking, the ways in which you can provide relevant content for these users.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of the questions being asked, and the answers you can provide, you need to create content, hosted on your own blog, or even shared via guest posting on relevant sites, which answers these questions and provides what your audience is after. It’s also worth checking out the best ranking answers for such queries in Google to see if you can create a better, more relevant, more researched post.
The better you can answer your audience’s key questions, the more likely people will come to see your business as an authority, which can lead to improved Google search rankings, more web traffic through referrals, and, ultimately, more leads.
It takes time to establish and roll out an effective inbound strategy, but as user trends shift further and further away from traditional media, and push back against disruptive ad models, the need to create a strategy only increases. Boosting your organisation’s authority through helpful, relevant content is simply the best way to ensure ongoing exposure and traffic online.