Every couple of months, I have to stop and remember that most people don’t know what inbound marketing is and why it’s so important.
The majority of my time is spent with our team, our clients and other inbound marketing agency execs who clearly know the ins and outs of inbound.
But then I meet someone who has never heard of it, doesn’t understand it or is misinformed about it. So, I thought I'd take a few minutes to try resetting our readers' expectations on what inbound is – and what it’s not.
Inbound marketing is a methodology. It assumes that, instead of trying to interrupt people who are going about their day, it would be more effective to put educational content in front of those people who are already looking for information on what you do. In essence, this means earning a prospect's attention instead of renting it.
When you buy an ad in a magazine, on TV or on the radio, when you go to a trade show or when you purchase a list for a mailing, you’re renting the attention of those people. You’re assuming – and hoping – that because these people are part of this group, they’re going to want what you have. This is actually a flawed assumption, and it’s filled with a lot of waste and inefficiency.
For many, many years, however, it was the only option business people had to help them get the word out about their products and services.
Now, we have inbound. For the first time in the history of marketing, there’s a methodology, a system and a process to help you predict actual results from your marketing effort. Once you get good at it, you're able to get your company’s content to the places where your prospects are already hanging out.
When people search for related keywords, they’re going to find your stuff. When people are talking about their issues, they’re going to find information on your company. When people are sharing information, it’s going to be yours.
Here are a few more benefits from inbound.
Inbound marketing is repeatable.
What we mean by this is that inbound is something you do month over month, week over week, day after day. Once you figure out exactly how to make it work for your company, it becomes easy to repeat it in a very systematic way. The result is a Marketing Machine for your business.
Inbound marketing is scalable.
Again, once you see what works, you’re able to increase your effort in the areas that contribute the best results. For once, you have real-time data and insight to help you make these decisions.
Inbound marketing is measurable.
Every part of inbound is 100% measurable. Blogging, content creation, your website, email marketing, guest blogging, influencer marketing, social media and search engine marketing – these all have key performance metrics associated with them. They tell you, in plain English, what’s working and what’s not.
Inbound marketing is the future.
You have to ask yourself: Do you think people will suddenly get excited about cold calls, start reading their mail, leave their DVRs off and watch TV commercials? Unless you think there’s going to be a resurgence in interruptive marketing, you have to start looking at your options. That’s where inbound comes into play.
Since it’s likely the ONLY way you’ll market your business in the near future – and the only way to get good at it is to practice – you'd better get started. I’ve written about this many times. Inbound takes time to gain traction and generate results. The sooner you get started, the sooner you see results.
Start Today Tip – If you’re new to inbound or still considering whether inbound is for you, it's OK. You should take your time to research and understand everything associated with it. Download whitepapers, watch videos, review slide shows. There are so many resources to help you get comfortable with inbound. Many of those are on our site.
Keep in mind that this process is the same one your prospects are going through, and if you don’t have resources on your website like we have on ours, your prospects won't feel safe enough to move forward with your company. This is exactly how inbound works and how it would work for you. Think about that as you’re considering your marketing for 2015.
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