Inbound marketing is anything that brings people to your website, social pages, or just makes them aware of your business without coming through the doors or actively looking to purchase. This often includes, blogs, SEO related results & images, emails (although this is often a step that happens later), and social media posts.
But it's also so much more than that. Bryan Halligan got it right when he said,
It's no longer about what you sell, it's about how how you sell it. Inbound marketing is about bringing people to you on their own terms rather than disrupting them.
It's maybe a twist people struggle with, but it's not just about waiting for people to come to you, it's bringing them to you by caring about their problems and delivering solutions. I think this a profound movement in the way companies deliver their products and services, and I'm confident that it'll only get better for consumers and businesses who are truly passionate about what they do!
You're probably thinking "it's like great customer service" even though the buyer part might be missing. If that's true, then why is it so important to invest time into inbound marketing? Put simply, it’s a huge part of why people remember you. Brand awareness is becoming key in the crowded marketplace. By repeatedly offering great insight into problems, people start remembering your name and truly see you as an expert in your field.
How can you use inbound marketing?
Now that we've covered what inbound marketing actually is, let's look at how you can use it.
There are some superb perks to using inbound marketing. Think of an informative post or content of any sort, as a way of aligning your buyers perspectives with your company's perspectives.
You can do this by making yourself an expert in the field, or simply offering some tips on self-improvement for the reader. This might mean you give them advice on something related to your industry, how to better their position using your products or service, or offering some fun but useful content such as videos or info-graphics.
Imagine you are you selling personalized journals. If you want people to understand that a personalized journal is more than just a notepad, you have to prove it.
One way could be to post about how a personalized journal stimulates the users to actually utilize the journal, which leads to better defined life and career goals.
Explain how little time it takes to do a journal entry to support the ease of this process while reinforcing the purpose.
Add a call to action, "check out some of our favourite personalized journals" and give examples of real people who used them.
The key in the example above may be subtle, but it's easy: we never said "Buy your own customized journal" and that seems backwards right? Shouldn't the call to action be pushing them to make a purchase right now?
Not with inbound marketing...
As we covered previously, it's about proving your worth through expertise, and gaining trust. Maybe the reader will say "hey! ya! I'm going to start a journal" but they just use some old notepad they have from college. You may not have gained a sale, but you have the opportunity to gain a follower. Which takes us to our next point on inbound marketing.
What's the value of a follower?
A follower doesn't sound as great as a sale. I get that, BUT think about this follower as one of two things (or both):
an ambassador for your blog, social posts, or even your brand (as they see it); OR
a sales lead
At this point we're assuming they've visited your website or social page and have clicked that glorious follow button. They might not have made a purchase, but maybe they want to learn more about how to write great journal entries, or how to make achievable goals. This is where the opportunity to keep them coming back is. It doesn't matter if they start following your social or sign up for a newsletter, you're driving traffic to your site and making it rank better. All of this has the opportunity to lead to more sales.
If they haven't followed or subscribed, there's still an opportunity to reach them. That's where paid inbound comes in. Put simply, it's using paid ads through social media or Google Ads, to bring people back to your blog or page. By doing this you're not pushing them to buy (losing trust), but encouraging them to return for some free learning.
The best part is this often leads to new followers and sales too! So, what's the key to inbound marketing?
Be real, offer free value with little to no sales push.
Make it easy for them to follow you, subscribe to your posts, or join an email list.
Continuously share knowledge!
Want to harness inbound marketing? Let's talk.
About the Author
Emily Gust | B.B.A.
I'm the brains behind Bluetines, a dream of mine since I was 11 years old. I'm passionate about efficiency, effectiveness, but most of all loving what you do!