by Victor J. McCoy, Digital Marketing Strategist, 3V Design Media
The term inbound marketing is said to be first used by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in their 2009 book. However, the concept has been around for much longer. Seth Godin referred to the same concept under a different name in his blog “Permission Marketing” back in 1999. In his blog he stated that delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them was the direction a marketing campaign especially online should go.
Over the past few years, many businesses have begun to focus their marketing on organic channels like search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing and various other channels hoping to draw new customers to their brand instead of pushing their brand to potential customers – or those who have no interest at all. Many small business owners between 2010 and 2014 came to us (almost feverishly) requesting SEO services because they wanted to improve their website ranking to get more customers to their website. A myriad of articles where written and every person that had a little bit of knowledge concerning SEO promoted a lot of bogus promises to small business owners while collecting a lot of cash. Business owners believed that if they spent money on SEO it would produce ROI very quickly. This was being attempted while many business owners did not have a clear and strategic marketing plan that included other channels nor connected their offline efforts
So, the phase “inbound marketing” is used to describe the combination of the available channels in their roles and responsibilities. The channels being used are specific and persona directed. For example, targeting expecting mothers between a certain age group that populate a specific marketing channel with types of food for babies that are most nutritious. Inbound marketing invites them to the website and provides a means to keep them engaged as repeat visitors and delivers to them the information, products, etc. that they’re looking for.
In summary, inbound marketing uses organic search traffic, opt-in email forms, and content publication to attract customers. Inbound marketing is the best approach for today’s businesses, whether B2B, B2C, e-commerce, SaaS, tech, non-tech, brick-and-mortar or otherwise. No, it’s not an easy process but it’s effective.
Major Inbound Marketing themes:
- Content Creation + Distribution– Create targeted content that answers prospects’ and customers’ basic questions and needs, then share that content far and wide.
- Lifecycle Marketing– Promoters don’t just materialize out of thin air: they start off as strangers, visitors, contacts, and customers. Specific marketing actions and tools help to transform those strangers into promoters.
- Personalization– Tailor your content to the wants and needs of the people who are viewing it. As you learn more about your leads over time, you can better personalize your messages to their specific needs.
- Multi-channel– Inbound marketing is multi-channel by nature because it approaches people where they are, in the channel where they want to interact with you.
- Integration– Content creation, publishing and analytics tools all work together like a well-oiled machine – allowing you to focus on publishing the right content in the right place at the right time.