Inbound Marketing Basics
By now, you have most likely been exposed to the concept of inbound marketing. To be clear, inbound marketing is the philosophy and methodology of attracting potential customers and leads to your product or service via the Internet and/or word of mouth communication. The following comparison may help you understand the concept a little bit better.
Traditional marketing includes various methods that are designed for your business to reach out to potential customers through various forms of advertising. It may be reasonable to call this method a shotgun approach as your efforts will most likely reach many that are not even in your marketplace or ready to buy. Sometimes you may be told that traditional marketing is simply a game of numbers.
On the flip side of the coin, inbound marketing, when done correctly, will act as a magnet and allow those potential customers who are searching or researching your product or service to find you. Additionally, when you consider the new world of social media, these potential customers can also even evaluate your product or service from the perspective of others. Another description of the difference between these 2 major marketing philosophies would be that traditional marketing is sometimes referred to as interruption marketing. Just think of the abrasive telemarketing that you've experienced as an example. You're just sitting around minding your own business when somebody reaches in and interrupts your life because they want you to consider a product or service that you may not he even have a need for. That's marketing as we have come to know it over the last 20 years. Inbound marketing is much less intrusive and operates on the philosophy of good content and attraction. You are in the market to buy a product or service, you can take the reins research and contact the vendor only when you're ready to have a conversation.
Now that we understand some of the basic differences between traditional marketing and inbound marketing, I would say it is safe to assume that you already have elements of inbound marketing in place and operational. I would like to suggest that possibly your next question is am I using the most effective inbound marketing components as I evaluate my own marketing budget and expectations. For example:
- Do I have an e-mail marketing system in place?
- Is e-mail marketing the best thing for my business?
- Are there other inbound marketing components that are missing?
- Do I have the cart before the horse?
- What does a good inbound marketing formula look like?
- What might be the best way to learn the foundations of inbound marketing?
- Can I apply inbound marketing basics myself?
- Should I hire a consultant to help me with my inbound marketing formula?
- Should I hire an in-house team to handle my daily inbound marketing?
- Would outsourcing my inbound marketing strategy make the most sense?
These are all common sense questions. And believe me, these only represent a fraction of the questions related to a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, inbound marketing plan and ongoing evaluation and modifications. If it were even possible to create and illustrate a complete inbound marketing plan in this blog post I would certainly consider doing this. However, every business, every product, and every service is different. Target markets are different. Buyer personas are different. Marketing goals and budgets are different. And because of these concepts alone I always recommend multiple discussions to help build a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy with some level of guidance. The good news is that a complete inbound marketing strategy is normally much less expensive than a traditional marketing strategy and its execution.
For any business that includes a marketing budget, I suggest and recommend to speak with a professional, get some ideas from that professional and compare it to others. Although there is much technology and maybe some new concepts involved, most of a good marketing plan revolves around common sense. When you complete a strategy discussion with a possible vendor or inbound marketing professional you should feel more confident, less confused and be more clear about what your strategy may look like and cost.
I certainly welcome all readers of this blog post to reach out either in the form of a comment, e-mail or telephone call (941-927-2028). Being a good teacher with a high level of educational skills is an asset I can offer to you. Like anything else, you will be the judge.
Recommendation: Know the value of your regular content development strategy.