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What is inbound marketing and how does it apply to you?
The term Inbound Marketing is as overly used as ‘I’m going to give it 110%’ from one of Lord Sugars Apprentice candidate’s, but inbound marketing is actually a very useful strategy that businesses and SEO agencies should be applying.
Inbound Marketing definition
Inbound Marketing is by definition marketing that brings users to your website, this kind of marketing infers trust as users find you and rate you, therefore, making the conversion process a lot easier. Inbound Marketing techniques often tie in with search engines, social media platforms and blogging as these are ways that a company can exhibit an understanding of the industry and build up trust, letting potential customers find them.
The internet has provided two way communication with businesses and their customers and from this many users like to take it upon them to research and find the best company for a service or product, this may be from price comparisons, reviews or search and social media, whatever the referrer customers feel more comfortable finding you and by developing your online presence this is called inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Outbound Marketing is the traditional form of going to customers to get sales, this is cold calling, emailing databases, press releases and TV adverts, although this can be good for brand recognition and will still convert the rate of conversions is often a lot lower. This is because you often have a lot of objection handling to do whereas the trust associated with inbound marketing counter objects at an earlier stage.
Inbound marketing is now considered to be a more cost-effective way of marketing;
“If you have more Money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more Brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.” – Guy Kawasaki
Combining Inbound and Outbound Marketing
If you have a good marketing budget it is recommended to combine inbound and outbound marketing, outbound marketing can be excellent for brand recognition and already knowing a brand when you find them via inbound marketing will enhance the user’s trust for the website.
For example, you see a TV advert for a clothes company, you then see a friend recommend that clothes company through social media, you remember the brand and also the added recommendation from your friend when you find an interesting style piece on one of their blogs, you then feel comfortable purchasing from the ‘expert’ clothes company that has a recognisable brand and your friend recommends.
If you do have a limited budget it is better to focus on inbound marketing as this can reach a wider audience and outbound marketing can work against you without the support of inbound marketing;
For example, a TV advert or Magazine advert will prompt you to search for a company name, if this company name comes up nowhere in the search engines but has lots of bad reviews appearing then you are not likely to purchase from that company.
Inbound Marketing and SEO
The term, Inbound Marketing, has been banded around for years but recently seems to be taking precedence in internet marketing and SEM campaigns. This is a good thing for business owners and has been highlighted by social media recommendations such as Google plus and recent Google algorithm changes that are focusing more on the user experience.
Recently SEO has started to include more and more aspects of Search Engine Marketing such as Social Media and reputation management, these are all integral to an Inbound Marketing campaign. Link building is no longer just getting links from sites, a combination of relevant and strong links are required as well as referring links that will actually send converting traffic to your website. SEO has always been a key element of inbound marketing and was one way you could ‘tick’ that marketing box in board meetings.
However, Google now takes more account of inbound marketing, therefore, content and link acquisition is no longer enough to ensure the success of a website and we will see how Google plus develops to sculpt the shape of inbound marketing and bring SEO further into the mix.