When you come across the term inbound marketing, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
Is it yet another selling tactic?
Or another marketing gimmick?
It’s natural for you to feel so, if you do.
The reality is: Inbound Marketing is neither of the two.
- It’s in fact what your customers expect;
- It’s actually what your business needs;
- It’s basically a marketing paradigm for a crowded space where brands are pumping money in getting their message across the faces of as many people as possible while boasting about the copious amounts of “reach” they’re getting using their paid campaigns.
You see, inbound Marketing is different.
It’s not boastful, but in fact the opposite. It’s modest & trustworthy.
In a scenario where inbound marketing is correctly implemented, your business generates leads using trust and relevance as the biggest factor.
In other words,
Your customers find you when they need you.
You don’t have to find your customers when you need them to spend.
Without indulging in excessive (yet well-deserved) glorification of inbound marketing, let’s dive deep into the details to fulfill the purpose of this blog, which is to educate you with our expertise as an inbound agency in Dubai.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the following topics:
- What is Inbound Marketing?
- The History of Inbound Marketing
- 5 Reasons why you need to adopt Inbound Marketing ASAP
By the end of this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about inbound marketing and how it’s useful in generating B2B leads for your business.
Exciting times ahead, so buckle up and let’s jump right in.
What is inbound marketing?
I’ll give you 2 definitions - a scientific one and a functional one.
Here’s the “scientific” definition coined by Hubspot, the pioneers of inbound methodology.
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that’s focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer's buying journey.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for your potential customers' attention.
By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.
The functional and less-wordy definition would be:
Inbound Marketing is a solution that can save your business or organization from being an annoying, disruptive & spammy cold caller that haunts its customers with repeated sales messages and conversion-less emails.
Just to let you know, inbound marketing isn’t a new form of marketing that’s just happened recently and has become the new buzz word.
You might find this hard to believe, but the core principles of inbound marketing mindset have existed for over a century.
Its practical application started in the mid-1850s by Cyrus Hall McCormick, inventor of the mechanical harvester.
He created primary market research techniques and basic inbound strategies to attract the attention of his target customers to buy his radical new farming machines.
As the marketing guru, Peter F. Drucker stated in 1974,
”The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product and service fits him and sells itself.
He further added,
”Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product or service available; i.e., logistics rather than salesmanship, and statistical distribution rather than promotion."
The few sentences you’ve just read above are the core essence of inbound marketing.
5 reasons why your business should adopt inbound marketing
Reason 1: The Cost
Investment is arguably one of the most important determinants of the choice of marketing channels, so why not allocate your budget towards something that builds trust and is long-term?
Inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (Source).
Your potential leads are straying further away from costly celebrity endorsements and aggressive sales tactics and instead expect trustworthy & transparent content from your side.
With consumer modernism, your only hope is to indulge in marketing activities that are friendly and relevant.
Reason 2: The Approach
Aren’t you tired of seeing the same old pushy ads that hardly generate quality leads?
Truth be told, the internet is increasingly getting cluttered with all sorts of competitors & ads.
That itself is a worthy reason to adopt inbound marketing and escape the advertorial rat-race.
Why spend all those bucks on ineffective and pushy sales messages in a cluttered marketplace, when you could instead define your target audience and create exclusive content for them?
After all, traditional (outbound) marketing is disruptive & pushy.
It’s defined by an aggressive selling stance that has the potential to turn off a lot of quality leads.
Tactics like cold calls, direct mail, unsegmented email blasts and spammy social media ads are simply diluting your brand image and making you look like “one of the many others”.
Then there’s Inbound marketing - focused towards the right set of people, by addressing their problems, providing solutions and nurturing them into your ultimate brand ambassadors.
If outbound creates a push effect, inbound creates a pull, helping you generate leads by only publishing relevant content and utilizing the power of content marketing, website optimization and analytics.
Although flyers & unsolicited emails might have been popular in the past, their effectiveness is fast going down the drain.
Now, every time consumers get an uncalled-for sales call, they’ll lose interest and start looking for ways to end the conversation.
Here’s an example of how outbound tactics have been replaced by their inbound counterparts:
Reason 3: The Trust Factor
I’d like to explain this with an example:
Let’s assume you’re going to a mall to purchase a Tag Heuer watch.
While you’re walking, you’re confronted by a man on the street, who slyly walks up to you and opens up his jacket.
The insides of his coat, as you observe, is strapped with luxury watches belonging to different brands.
He approaches you and whispers,
“Psst.. You wanna buy a Tag Heuer?”
What are the chances that you’ll browse through his collection and actually buy one of his watches.
Unless you’re unbelievably gullible, you’ll walk away.
Ofcourse, he’s not to be trusted.
There’s no way in hell those Tag Heuers are real!
Although this might be a little too dramatic of an example, that’s how we differentiate between trustworthy individuals and scam artists.
Many brands are struggling with generating leads because they lack the trust factor.
Their content is all over the place, their efforts are misguided and their sales attempts are desperate.
Businesses who rely on outbound marketing might hunt down a potential prospect using social media or email and immediately begin pushing their products, without sparing some thought to build a relationship and earn their prospect’s trust.
Where’s the authority? The confidence? The ingenuity?
More importantly, where’s the trust?
In today’s scenario, an average person encounters more than 5,000 instances of advertisements & brand exposures per day.
This statistic alone makes it sacrosanct for businesses to cultivate trust among clients in order to sell their products or services.
And one of the best ways to establish trust between you and potential customers is to create amazing content that cannot be found elsewhere.
Here’s a demonstration of the process your lead goes through, from discovering you to trusting you.
If your leads notice a constant stream of helpful content, they’ll perceive you as an expert in your field.
That creates respect for your expertise and induces a feeling of safety and familiarity.
A recent survey by Hubspot stated that only 3 percent of people surveyed said they considered marketers and salespeople trustworthy.
The implication was that marketers are actually at a disadvantage when it comes to selling and must invest extra effort in creating trust with potential customers.
Reason 4: The Demand for Content
With the advent of the Information Age, consumers have easy access to virtually any information with the click of a mouse button.
Decades ago, sales people and detailed company brochures were the most reliable forms of information as compared to today.
Back then, even the sales cycles were fairly short because of the reduced information touchpoints in the customer’s buying journey.
Consumers are getting smarter and are increasingly becoming numb to conventional outbound marketing messages.
To influence their purchase decision, customers are looking for content that revolves around their needs and lifestyles.
Inbound marketing has become so powerful, it can even help schools increase their enrolments using the power of content. Gone are the days of boring newspapers ads and unmeasurable roadside billboards.
Here’s an interesting statistic on content consumption by consumers:
For example, a B2B customer looking out for a new CRM software won’t directly purchase anything off the shelf (unless he/she is hell bent upon getting that particular one only).
You need to attract them, convert them, complete the sale and provide after-sales service to completely satisfy a customer.
This is also referred to as the Buyer’s Journey, and is the backbone of all inbound marketing efforts.
According to this ideology, content should be created & curated for each stage of the buyers’ journey to help them pass through checkpoints before eventually making a purchase.
Here’s an example of the type of content that’s suitable for each phase:
Reason 5: The Longevity of your Marketing Message
When you create content such as blogs, videos, podcasts or infographics, it doesn’t just disappear into the realm of endless marketing messages.
If produced with care and treated well, your content will age like fine wine, ranking higher on search engines and getting the attention it deserves.
Take the example of Hubspot, who tripled its monthly leads by optimizing old blogs and updating the information within them.
This exercise also increased their organic traffic by 106%. Read more about it here.
In other words, you’re starting with a post that already has some degree of page authority, rather than starting completely from scratch.
By re-promoting your updated blog posts, you’ll benefit from new visitors and leads who weren’t familiar with your content earlier.
This naturally leads to an increase in social shares and inbound links — both of which are significant search ranking factors.
This is also what makes it so important for you to have a substantial number of social media followers and blog subscribers — the greater your reach, the more impactful your results will be.
You see, inbound is here to stay.
It’s not going anywhere because it IS the ideal marketing destination.
There is a cumulative effect of inbound marketing because your content will compound and add value to previous and future content pieces.
In contrast to traditional and outbound marketing practices, inbound uses demand, interest and trust as a lead generating mechanism.
To increase the longevity of your content, make sure your leave no stone unturned when you promote it.
Take advantage of channels such as the following to fully amplify the reach of your hard-written content:
- Social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc;
- Google Adwords & Display advertising (this is particularly useful for generating conversions and downloads for your content offers);
- Forums such as Reddit & Quora, where your article serves as the answer to the questions posed by the community;
- Content aggregators such as Alltop & BlogEngage;
In short, don't miss out on any opportunity to get your content out there because every bit of presence on the digital spectrum counts.
To conclude, I'd like to leave you with this quote by Guy Kawasaki - American marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
He was also one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing their Macintosh computer line in 1984.