There is a definition of everything on Wikipedia – even for Inbound marketing. It is a good place to start.
Inbound marketing according to Wiki is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding.
Simply put, Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Inbound marketing is about delivering solutions and opportunities that have a positive impact on people and your business.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that utilizes many forms of pull marketing – content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.
In terms of digital marketing, this means using a combination of marketing channels – most commonly content marketing, search engine optimization SEO, and social media – in creative ways to attract people’s attention. The aim of a successful campaign is to increase reach and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.
Inbound marketing software provider HubSpot coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ back in 2006. HubSpot defines it as the process of attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. Through using various types of content at different stages of the buying cycle, the ‘inbound methodology’ is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”
Understanding Inbound Marketing
It is in the name really. Inbound marketing focuses on drawing potential customers in.
Owned And Earned Media
Inbound marketing uses owned and earned media to engage potential customers in creative ways.
- Owned media are those channels that a business has control over. For example, your website, blog, brand social media profiles, product landing pages, and YouTube channel. You choose what to publish, how to publish it, and when.
- Earned media is the coverage you earn as a result of your hard work. Offline, this includes traditional coverage in newspapers and magazines. Online, it’s things such as coverage on news sites often gained through digital PR but also mentions on social media, use of a campaign hashtag, conversations in online forums, and online reviews. You have less control over earned media, but it should be a reward for the work you’ve put into your inbound marketing campaign.
Reach the right audience in the right place to generate quality traffic
By focusing your inbound marketing strategy on reaching the right audiences in the right places, you can attract your target customers in order to meet your digital marketing objectives. This is instead of spending money attracting traffic from people who are unlikely to ever convert.
It is all about giving potential customers the information they are looking for – even if they don’t know it – in a creative and engaging way. It’s not about pushing unwanted sales at every opportunity. By using inbound marketing as a way to present your brand as a useful and reliable resource, the hope is they’ll come to you when the time to purchase does arise.
Protect from over-reliance on one channel
By pursuing quality traffic from a variety of sources – organic search, social media referrals, referrals from other websites talking about your amazing work – you reduce the reliance on one channel alone, and therefore the associated risk.
Measuring the impact of inbound marketing in a way that demonstrates understandable ROI has always been a tricky one. The key is to be clear from the beginning.
It may be that you can’t track the number of leads generated as a direct result of your campaign, but you can track how many downloads your resource has had, the average duration people watched your video for, how many new social media followers you gained, etc.
When you’re planning your campaign, be clear about what it is you’re trying to achieve and measure that appropriately and honestly. That way, everyone’s expectations are set – and therefore, are more likely to be met.
Successful campaigns don’t happen overnight. They take time to plan, implement and refine. It can be labor-intensive too – you might need content creators, designers, developers, outreach specialists, social media marketers, and a campaign manager to even get the thing off the ground. That said, if you put your time and effort into the right evergreen campaign, you should have something that continues to provide value for the foreseeable future.
Types of Inbound Marketing: What Makes For a Successful Campaign
For one tactic to work, it is going to overlap int the other. There is no stand-alone. Here’s what Bill Faeth shared with us about healthy inbound marketing ecosystems:
“It can’t be segmented into separate categories, with each section holding independent power. While we rely on SEO to draw in visitors from organic search, that SEO doesn’t work if there’s no content. Without social media, blogs don’t reach new, interested people. And SEO, content, and social media are all completely useless without a lead generation process in place.”
Most successful campaigns incorporate all or parts of the following elements:
Search engine optimization is an integral part of effective inbound marketing. Using effective keyword analysis, well-structured site design and other SEO “best practices” to launch your company to the top of search results will ensure that your content is being seen by the right audience and bring in the right leads.
By far the most common form, blogging can play a powerful role in driving traffic and nurturing leads.
With 67% of online adults using social media to share information, you can’t afford to neglect widely popular online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social Media Marketing and Management are here to stay.
Live Events and Webinars
Take inbound marketing to the next level with online webinars and live events.
And there’s much more: Videos, whitepapers, eBooks, e-newsletters, public speaking… Any opportunity to share valuable content is an opportunity to practice inbound marketing.
The world is changing every other day with the internet and social networking taking center stage in these changes. There is so much information out there for consumers to feed on and the struggle to stand out is not about to go away soon. But, with the adoption of inbound marketing practices and strategies, there are higher chances of targeted and fruitful promotion, brand awareness and leads generation.
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