What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the idea that instead of making cold calls, sending out emails, or paying for advertising space, you should create some form of valuable content offer and give it away for free. The goal is to attract an interested audience based on the quality of what you’re willing to give up front. From these interactions you will be able to establish a trusting relationship that will create business.
Sounds like it might be worth trying, but how exactly does it work?
What is “valuable content?”
The value here is all from the end consumer’s perspective: what can you offer your clients that they will actually want?
A blog is a good place to begin. Not only are they easy to start, but they provide the perfect platform to deliver both information and inspiration. It almost doesn’t matter what industry you’re a part of, you’re sure to have things to say that can connect your audience to your brand.
Next try social media: use it to broadcast your blog posts and to give your audience another means of interacting with your brand in a way they’re comfortable with. It also gives them a means of communicating with you, which increases confidence in your brand.
If you have enough material on your blog, you can collect it and repackage it as an ebook. This provides a convenient, shareable, and authoritative overview of your brand and how your audience relates to it.
Really, though, you can be very creative here. Why not try a podcast? A video series on YouTube? If you have something to share with your audience that you think will inspire them, solve a problem, or teach them something new, then that is what you should create for your inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is not about you
Many people fall into the trap of using their inbound marketing channels to constantly talk about themselves and their products. They are always selling. But a good marketing focuses on the client or the consumer: how can you tell their story back to them? How can you show them that their story belongs as part of yours? It’s hard to do this when you’re also pushing your product.
This doesn’t mean you aren’t using inbound to sell: at the end of the day you have to, or the strategy doesn’t work. What it means is that you are helping your consumer be better informed by creating a trusting relationship with you first.
Do I need to do any other kind of marketing?
Absolutely. Inbound will never 100% replace all your marketing efforts. For one thing, it’s hard to organically grow your entire audience from scratch. You’ll probably want to run some advertisements on social media or through Adwords that will attract people to your content offer in the first place. Or you could also consider an email campaign.
However, the great benefit of inbound marketing is that it helps you develop a strong relationship with your audience. As a result, those who come to you are more likely to stay loyal over time.