What is Inbound Marketing?

“I’ve heard people use the term ‘inbound marketing’ but I’m not sure what it is or if it’s relevant for my business” – sound familiar? If it does, please read on. 

This is a blog post that I have written to help clarify the meaning of inbound marketing and how it might benefit you.

Companies increasingly rely on the digital space to build up brand awareness. A clearly mapped out route to new customer acquisition put digital marketing at the top of the list for businesses.

You’ll have at least a basic understanding of social media and SEO – but you may have also come across the increasingly-discussed field of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing can be defined as any type of marketing that pulls customers to the brand.

Marketing departments realise the importance of capturing relevant inbound traffic. The internet has empowered people who can easily compare prices, reviews and specifications, so businesses have to work harder to win over consumers. Inbound marketing helps them achieve this by putting the power in the hands of the searcher. Marketing teams now provide the information and validation that consumers are searching for.

So what is inbound marketing?

It’s simple.

Positioning your brand in front of a potential customer at the time when they are searching for your product.

This may include:

  • Content marketing – blogging, website landing pages, downloadable content, whitepapers, infographics
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • PR
  • Social media
  • Video marketing
  • Forums and comment marketing (providing it’s genuinely constructive)
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Community building
  • Public speaking and thought leadership

Should I be using inbound marketing?

If your customer acquisition strategy includes a digital marketing plan then yes. Inbound marketing is crucial to any digital campaign.

How can I get started?

As with any marketing strategy, your efforts must be based on research.

  • Start by gaining an in-depth understanding of your target market. Talk to your current customers and finding out what they would find valuable from your business.
  • It’s a really good idea to use this feedback to develop user personas to bring your different types of customer to life.
  • Identify their pain points and develop solutions to their problems. This information can then form the backbone of your inbound marketing communication.
  • You know who your audience – think about where they spend their time online. What they are most likely to respond to? For example, a fashion brand with a fairly young target market might choose to focus on social media, specifically visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. A B2B company like an accountancy firm could get better results by creating informative blog posts about tax efficiency.

Your goal should be to provide something that entices your potential customers and develops your reputation. You are trying to promote trust in your brand.

What are the most important aspects of inbound marketing success?

1. You need a well designed website

  • Your website is the hub of any digital strategy – after all, you need somewhere for all those new prospective customers to land!
  • We’ve previously discussed how building a website is only a piece of the puzzle, and you can think of it as the foundations on which everything else rests. Make sure that when you design your website that you have your customer persona in mind.
  • Think about your conversion rate (how many visitors then become customers). If your website isn’t designed properly all of your inbound marketing efforts will be wasted. Remember to signpost those visitors. Where do you want them to go? What action do you want them to take?

2. Great content

  • Make sure anything that you publish has been carefully planned. Your style should be regular and consistent, always maintaining a high quality. It’s far better to put out one excellent blog post than twenty that don’t appeal to your target audience.
  • Content that you publish should either inform or help to solve problems for your reader. Make it relevant to your customer persona.

3. Measure what works and what doesn’t

Finally, you must regularly analyse the impact of your inbound marketing.

  • Set KPIs and monitor your campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. For example, if you’ve been focusing on social media and it’s getting you plenty of traffic but no customers, something’s gone wrong – it could be that your message isn’t aligned with your audience’s requirements, or your website isn’t telling the same story.
  • Experimenting with your approach and constantly monitor results, you can work towards the most effective inbound strategy possible.

Need more advice?

Still not sure how inbound marketing could benefit your business? We’ll happily have a chat with you to see if we could help.

Our websites are designed with inbound marketing in mind, and we’re always excited to meet new companies looking to strengthen their brand online. Why not get in touch with our team for a free marketing consultation?