Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

modern marketingInbound marketing should be an essential part of any online marketing campaign. It involves steering away from more traditional avenues of marketing in which you “buy” an audience, and more towards “earning” one. Inbound marketing takes more time and effort, but your reward is that you continue to see results over a longer period of time.

Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing and outbound marketing may seem like new terms to many business owners, however it’s extremely likely that you’re already doing one or the other already without knowing about these categories. They refer to two types of marketing, and two approaches to gathering an audience. You may find that both are practical and have their place, but inbound marketing has the potential for exponential gains whereas outbound marketing is a one-time push.

Inbound Marketing is the creation of content that draws an audience in. It involves making something that is useful and immediate, and gives the audience an incentive to visit the site naturally, rather than just trying to persuade them without a basis.

Outbound Marketing refers to going out and seeking an audience. This includes traditional forms of advertising such as direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, telemarketing and sales flyers. In all these cases, you are essentially “buying” the audience. This can certainly have its own uses, but in general it means you have to make an ongoing investment in order to see ongoing returns.

For a quick boost or to promote a sale or event, outbound marketing may be a useful tool. However your long-term game plan should rely more on inbound marketing. Creating content is a one-off investment that will keep adding value the longer you promote it.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

Some types of inbound marketing material include:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • eBooks
  • Newsletters
  • Search Engine Optimisation

All of these provide a valuable resource for your audience, one that earns their attention and establishes you as an authority in their minds. Furthermore if you’re already giving something away for free, they’re more likely to trust you. It builds a rapport rather than having to beg your way in.

In particular, inbound marketing is effective for small businesses, as it benefits from a personal touch and a direct connection with your customers. Particularly small businesses that require long research cycles and knowledge-based products. You’re almost offering a free sample of the kinds of service you offer, and it’s a chance to show that you know what you’re talking about. Demonstrate your expertise, and people will trust that you’re an expert.

Specific And Practical

Inbound marketing needs to be two things – specific and practical. The more specific you make it, the more a particular group of people will find it relevant. It may not have as much broad appeal this way, but it ensures that it’s going to find a home. It reduces the competition and builds a niche for yourself, which may in the end result in more coverage. You also need to make sure it’s practical and that it can actually be easily put into use.

Once you’ve created inbound marketing material, you need to get it out there. Social media is a common way of doing this, though you need to have something of an audience already in order to be able to build one. Getting it covered by industry websites is also a good way of putting it in front of the right eyes. Spend time developing a strategy on how to get the material in front of your target audience.

Inbound marketing is the theory of earning your audience, as opposed to buying it. It may require more effort and strategy, but can create superb ongoing results.

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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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