The majority of marketers are now employing inbound methods, and with good reason. Inbound marketing significantly decreases the cost per lead as well as the cost per customer. It’s driven by quality content and customer satisfaction, so the inbound philosophy is really a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Here are what I believe to be the 3 key advantages of inbound marketing.
58% of marketers are using inbound strategies. (HubSpot)
1. Retaining & Growing Your Audience
The ultimate goal of inbound marketing is to attract strangers and convert them into customers as well as brand advocates using a variety of strategies (e.g. calls to action). It’s an inherently creative philosophy and one that requires a lot of effort, but the payoff can be substantial. Inbound marketers don’t seek to create a quick buck; they aim to establish organic fan bases which will sustain interest in the offered products and services.
In order to accomplish this goal, marketers need to help foster positive sentiment about the brands which they represent (hard to achieve with outbound methods). To do this, they have to be awesome in the formal and informal sense of the word. Ask yourself this: would you prefer to receive intrusive phone calls on a daily basis regarding a promotion from your internet service provider, or, would you prefer to hear about that promotion from a trusted friend or family member?
For example, cab service Uber offered to deliver kittens to its customers during everyone’s favorite holiday, National Cat Day. Major news outlets covered the story and it spread like wildfire across social media platforms, resulting in organic search improvements and the spread of Uber’s brand. The kitten campaign earned a lot of good will and positive sentiment, thus aiding in the creation of new fans which continuously shared the story.
2. Continuing the Conversation & Generating Leads
Quality inbound content should never feel like an outbound ad to its audience. With outbound marketing losing its effectiveness, people’s sensitivity to intrusive tactics is constantly rising.
The internet revolution changed the way content is experienced and will probably continue to do so. Almost anyone can get online and publish some sort of content, so marketers truly need to be able to capture the imaginations of their audiences. Inbound marketing shines in this regard by generating more (and cheaper) leads than traditional outbound methodologies. In fact, inbound methods double website conversion rates.
Offering solutions to problems gives audiences a legitimate use for your brand, thus organically spreading its messaging. You can even act as a catalyst for various conversations through the likes of hashtags. For example, Coca-Cola used the “HinchadaCocaCola” hashtag and encouraged Argentinian soccer fans to Tweet about their team during the famous Copa America tournament. The company associated the world’s most famous drink with one of the most popular South American sporting events in order to build positive sentiments and relationships. Coca-Cola successfully leveraged something which had mass appeal, and without intruding on people’s lives. Additionally, they printed the tweets on confetti and actually launched them over stadium crowds.
3. Moving with Mobile
Mobile devices are taking over the world; they’re getting smarter, faster, and stronger by the minute. For example, the National Post reports that the average smartphone owner spends most of their free time staring at screens. The second and third screens have changed the way content and media is experienced, which means that they’ve effectively changed how and why content should be produced. Mobile internet browsing is even expected to eclipse desktop internet!
It’s likely that the size of your smartphone’s screen is between 4.5 and 6 inches. Displaying a fully featured website on such a tiny space results in a terrible user experience, so many web developers aim to optimize their sites for mobile platforms. Most mobile versions of sites tend to have minimalistic designs and aim to deliver content as directly as possible. There’s no real estate for traditional ads.
Inbound methodologies blend perfectly with the mobile internet. There’s no need to take up valuable screen space with cheesy banners because content reigns supreme. It’s integrated into the site just like any other element and provides no intrusions or disruptions. The average person may not even consider quality content to be of a marketing nature based off of their existing notions and experience.
The future of inbound marketing is very much tied to the future of media consumption. The fusion of marketing and quality content ensures that the inbound philosophy will live a long and prosperous life. That’s not to say that it will (or that it needs to) eliminate outbound methods completely, but the core idea of creating fantastic content which will spread on its own is essentially future proof.
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