When the downturn began in 2001, businesses started allocating some of their marketing dollars to search engine advertising as it was more targeted and quantifiable than display advertising. Now they’re moving money out of paid search advertising, into content, social media and optimization, to increase their visibility in organic search results.
This change in behaviour is beginning to lay the foundation for a new era of marketing on the web – Inbound Marketing.
So what is inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing is focused on getting found by customers.
In outbound marketing, companies focus on finding customers. They use techniques that interrupt people and are poorly targeted. Cold-calling, print advertising, T.V. advertising, junk mail, spam, and trade shows are common practices.
However, instead of interrupting people with television ads, inbound marketing focuses on creating videos that potential customers want to see. Instead of buying display ads in print publications, they create their own blog that people subscribe to. In place of cold calling, useful content and tools are created so that prospects contact them looking for more information.
Instead of driving their message into a crowd over and over again, they attract highly qualified customers to their business.
Inbound Marketing campaigns have three key components:
(1) Content – Content creation is the major focus of any Inbound Marketing campaign. It is the information or tool that attracts potential customers to your site or business.
(2) Search Engine Optimization – SEO makes it possible for potential customers to find your content. It is a way of building inbound links to your site where most of your customers begin their buying process, to maximize your ranking in search engines.
(3) Social Media – Social media expands the effect of your content. When your content is send across and distributed and discussed on various networks of personal contacts, it becomes more authentic and relevant, and is more prone to draw qualified customers to your site.
Three reasons why Inbound Marketing is preferred over traditional marketing:
(1) It Costs Less
(2) Better Targeting
(3) It is an Investment, Not an Ongoing Expense
Lastly, sharing is caring and inbound is all about creating and sharing content with the world. Inbound marketing draws qualified prospects to your business and forces them to come back for more by creating content specifically designed to appeal to your targeted customers. Like it is commonly said, in Inbound Marketing, the thickness of your brain matters a lot more than the thickness of your wallet.
So if you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing but if you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.