Presently, marketing has evolved from outbound to inbound marketing. In fact it almost feels like everyone who knows their business knows the benefits of inbound marketing, and there is no point writing about it. But there was a time – before the internet came on the scene – when marketing was a really grueling task. Radio announcements, television commercials, sales flyers, cold-calling among others were the only ways for one to advertise his/her business. They were not just grueling, they were equally expensive.
Then came the internet.
The digital era brought about radical changes in the way we gain access to and evaluate information. It did not just make make marketing easier, it equally gave us more access to marketing our businesses affordably. However, this radical change was not as radical when it came to our marketing methods. There was no change in the way we did marketing – only in the channel we used for marketing.
We went from sales flyers and cold-calling to buying email lists, spamming people and creating annoying pop-up ads.
Traditional marketing can be intrusive and downright annoying sometimes, although this is not to say that it is all bad. But business owners and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) alike are realizing that traditional, in-your-face marketing is no longer as effective as it used to be. It has begun to make more enemies than customers.
With this came the realization that a shift was needed in our marketing mentality; businesses needed to come up with a way to create awareness for their product/service without ticking people off.
Then came inbound marketing. This form of marketing has been way more successful than traditional/outbound marketing for more than a decade now. And this is because of the increase in the use of and dependence on the internet for any and everything that we do.
The term inbound marketing, was coined by Brian Halligan in 2005. Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention.
But enough of the long talk.
Are you a serial entrepreneur or just a one-business entrepreneur? Do you need strategies to grow your startup? Would you like your marketing strategy to be more effective for your small business/startup?
Below is a list of some of the benefits of inbound marketing and how they can help you grow your startup.
1. You deepen your knowledge about your industry
This is an unintended benefit of inbound marketing. Content creation is the beginning of most inbound marketing campaigns; it should be the beginning for all if you ask me.
To achieve this you have to come up with good articles for your blog or guest post that readers/potential buyers will find informative and extremely useful. These articles will make you look like an experienced head.
The funny thing is that at this point, the phrase “look like” is not proper because you will be an experienced head. This is because you will have deepened and widened your knowledge about your industry through your research and writing.
2. You attract only the right people
Unlike the interrupt marketing approach that conventional marketing applies, inbound marketing is unique in that it seeks (and succeeds) at attracting only the right people. It does not just blind fire your message to places where your potential customers are.
Now for an illustration.
Imagine that your boss sends you to the airport to pick up someone you have never met. Let us assume his name is Adom, or let’s say Mr. Wright. The right thing to do since you do not know him facially would be to write his name boldly on a placard and hold it up at the arrival terminal, right?
I imagine that you would not opt instead to run after every arriving passenger to ask if they are Mr. Wright, right? (no pun intended). Doing that will only guarantee that you meet so many Mr. Wrongs before you find your man, that is if you do find him.
Mr. Wright on the other hand will be looking for a person carrying a sign with his name on it. You are getting the picture right? The first approach leads Mr. Wright (the potential customer) right to you while the crazy approach will almost guarantee that you miss Mr. Wright (again, the potential customer).
3. Your marketing strategy will be cost-effective
It is no news to any business owner that marketing campaigns can be very expensive. Inbound marketing begs to differ; it is cheaper and converts way more than its predecessor.
This is because it does not focus on spending money to put up online ads (most people ignore these anyway), buy email lists to spam people etc (Matthew Tan of poweredbysearch.com has an interesting illustration for this). These methods target a large segment of online users, most of who will likely not be interested in your product/service.
Inbound marketing only seeks to attract individuals that are looking for a product/service that you have on offer. It is a lot easier to convert these people if they are already interested when they come to you. The effort used to attract them is much less because the individuals are already looking for you, so they meet you halfway.
Here is something to think about:
According to Hubspot, Inbound marketing is about 62% cheaper than outbound marketing and delivers 54% more leads than outbound marketing.
4. It ensures better customer relations
As I mentioned earlier, employing inbound marketing strategies ensures that you and your customers meet on a good note because you both already know what you want.
If you have a blog where you regularly publish related and useful content concerning your business and industry, you can build your customer base organically.
Let us say your readers like what they read on your blog and are endeared to you. They will more than likely subscribe to be receiving your newsletters and other mails from you.
Better still is that they will subscribe of their own accord – this is very important. Because according to this statistics, most email users (about 91%) unsubscribe from a company email they previously opted into.
They will interact with you through comments on your publications, chat with you on your social media sites etc. This approach to marketing fosters the development of a healthy relationship between you and your customers, increases your credibility and their trust in you. Which in turn makes doing business with them a lot easier.
5. It increases the visibility and awareness of your brand
Reading this article, you will quickly notice how many times quality content creation is emphasized. The truth is I cannot emphasize it enough.
Content is still king! Tweet that!
The digital era we live in has dramatically altered the business landscape, creating opportunities unseen before for small businesses by making it easier for them to show their brand to the world.
Most potential buyers – whether B2B or B2C – complete about 70% of their research before picking up the phone to call any sales rep of any company. They want to be armed with sufficient information about the product/service they are seeking so they do not come off as ignorant or get swindled in the buying process.
Your job is to provide said source of research for these buyers. By creating content relevant to the buyer’s search, it becomes easier for your target audience to find your publications as they conduct their research.
Besides contacting you (and/or visiting your site) to do business if they like what you have written, they can also share your content with their social networks – exponentially raising your visibility and establishing your reputation as a credible resource.
Are your marketing campaigns converting effectively? Or are you pumping money into traditional marketing systems and still waiting for when you will start to get results? What if I tell you that the reason your marketing campaigns are not converting could be because the world has gone inbound and you are still solely using the old traditional methods?
Does this mean that the traditional marketing system doesn’t work and should be thrown out the window? No. However, these benefits of inbound marketing are enough to convince you to start the process of initiating an inbound marketing campaign today.
Good luck with that.
In case you are still new the whole system kindly ask your questions in the comment section, and I will do my best to answer them as much as I can. Also feel free to mention other benefits of inbound marketing that I missed out and how we can all make the most of it. And don’t forget to share this post if you loved it.