With Click’s very own founder and CEO, Matt Bullas, predicting that inbound marketing will revolutionise the digital industry in 2014 and beyond, we take a look at what exactly inbound marketing is and why you should incorporate it into your digital marketing plan this year
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting visitors to a website, converting them to leads and nurturing them to clienthood using a variety of pull marketing techniques, such as the creation, optimisation and distribution of blogs, guides, white papers, ebooks, webinars and podcasts, and the use of social media marketing and organic search.
Inbound marketing is about providing potential clients with valuable content. The content can be unrelated to the company’s products and services, but should always be relevant to the target audience.
The main objectives of inbound marketing are to attract visitors, increase brand awareness, convert leads and increase return on investment in digital marketing.
Does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing has been an integral part of Click Consult’s own marketing plan for a while now. We have been using our marketing know-how and creativity to generate email marketing campaign ideas and executing them using the marketing automation software, Act-On. We have also publicised our services through social media campaigns and high quality content creation. Overall, the results have been phenomenal. And we aren’t hiding our lamp under a bushel; we’ve decided to share our expertise by providing a devoted inbound marketing service to clients looking for a tangible return on investment.
So, yes, we think inbound marketing definitely works. But you don’t have to take our word for it; there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that inbound is the future of the digital marketing.
For instance, the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report revealed that almost 60% of marketers have adopted inbound marketing strategies and over 80% of those practising inbound marketing have integrated it into broader company goals.
According to inbound marketing software provider Hubspot, 41% of marketers increased their inbound marketing budgets in 2013 as a result of successful strategies.
Furthermore, Hubspot research has found that 54% more leads are generated through inbound marketing than through traditional outbound marketing methods.
With confidence rising, inbound marketing has gathered significant momentum in recent years and 2014 looks set to be the year it really comes into its own.
Why you should adopt inbound techniques this year
The demise of old-style SEO
No doubt you are already aware of how Google’s various search results ranking algorithm updates have changed digital marketing over the years.
Thanks to Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird in particular, ‘black hat’ SEO tactics, such as paid links, keyword stuffing and duplicate content, have fallen out of favour with digital marketers, as they are no longer effective ways to improve search engine results page rankings.
Instead, online businesses have been compelled to listen closely to what their audiences are searching for and to provide them with the answers and solutions they are after in the form of valuable content.
The demise of traditional B2B email marketing
Promoting your business by sending unsolicited advertising copy to a bought email list is an unreliable form of marketing. Not only can it disappoint in terms of results, it can also damage the reputation of your business by irking recipients with what they might consider to be a barrage of inbox-clogging bumf.
Inbound marketing focuses on sending useful and relevant content to recipients who have opted in to receiving emails from your business. As content is tailored to meet the needs of clearly defined personas (fictional representations of your ideal prospects and customers), it is more likely to resonate with your audience and drive them to further investigate your brand.
With inbound marketing, email recipients are directed to your website where inbound tactics such as effective online forms, landing pages and calls-to-action help to convert them to leads.
Marketing automation software can help you to identify your leads, score how ready they are to make a purchase and nurture them with pertinent material through email and social media marketing.
The rise of usefulness
Creating lasting connections is one of the main objectives of inbound marketing. To build meaningful relationships, it is vital to be genuinely useful.
You can earn trust by performing in depth research into your audience using analytics tools such as Google Analytics and by conducting interviews, task analyses and focus groups in order to understand your audiences’ behaviour, motivations and needs.
Such research will help you to develop a few primary personas to target in future marketing campaigns and to deliver content that will draw audiences to you.
Implementing new and unfamiliar strategies can be daunting, especially when you are unsure of what kind of results to expect. But if you are to keep up with the competition, it is vital that you adopt techniques that will engage advertising-savvy, time-poor, multi-channel and multi-device using individuals. Here at Click, we believe that inbound is the answer.