What is it and why does it work so well?
Inbound marketing is SMART. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. and Timely.
Before sales comes marketing. If you have a business online, the first thing you need is visitors. You get visitors to your site by marketing your site, content and business. Once you have visitors then you can have leads and eventually sales.
I used to think this was done simply by using SEO, but the more I researched it, I found that SEO was just a part of the whole inbound marketing strategy.
You need SEO, Content, Social Media, Email, and Local SEO. All of these work together in your marketing plan.
None of the web designers I worked with dealt with marketing. Most of them didn’t even deal with proper best SEO practices. Even the advertising agencies I worked for were unaware of these concepts. It seems the majority of the companies that are supposed to know marketing never even heard of inbound marketing. But that is not going to stop us!
We know inbound works, so now, let’s explore why inbound marketing works:
John Cacioppo, a social psychologist at the University of Chicago, pointed out that loneliness is tied to the hardening of the arteries. It is also tied to inflammation in the body and memory problems.
Even fruit flies that are isolated have worse health and die sooner than those that interact with others, showing that social engagement may be hard-wired, Cacioppo said.
As a Christian I read evidence that we are to be in relationships throughout the bible. Besides seeing proof of this axiom in everyday life we can also say that God supports this idea.
When it comes to marketing we know that word of mouth is very important. We see the value in testimonials. A shared story on social media is going to outperform similar stories that are not shared.
Traditional marketing is pushy. It’s in your face and obtrusive. Sometimes the strategy is to be extremely annoying. The more annoying and irritating the better.
Some examples of traditional marketing include car salesmen, telemarketers, commercials, pop-ups, spam emails, billboards, posted signs, and door to door salesmen.
Do you like to see banner ads on websites? Ugh! Me neither.
We all pretty much like a clean house, right? But don’t you hate it when someone shows up at your door trying to sell you on their yearly cleaning package, or new vacuum? Traditional marketing knows nothing of timing.
Traditional marketing doesn’t need a conversation only a voice. They don’t talk with us, but rather at us. When was the last time you had a conversation with a pop-up ad? (Yelling at the computer doesn’t count.)
This is not a brave idea or concept is it? Then why do so many companies push their half baked ideas on us? I think it is because they really don’t know any better. But that is a thought for another post.
Inbound marketing requires us to not only work better with content but to work with better content. The better our content the better inbound marketing works. Likewise, if we try to pass off stuff that isn’t very good it won’t be shared.
A nice car, house, or computer is much more desirable than a hoopty, shack and pocket calculator.
When we produce quality content people will be much more apt to share it.
Word of mouth and testimonials are effective because of two things. One, we trust people’s opinions over sales, and two, it requires us to improve our content.
Over 70% trust testimonials.
Our being better in relationship and quality content come together in testimonials.
Inbound marketing, in a nutshell, is when you draw people in instead of seeking them out.
You do this by identifying who your target audience is and then creating quality content meeting them where they are in their buyer’s journey.
The buyer goes through three stages: Awareness. Consideration. Decision.
It would be bad to sell a product to someone in the awareness stage. It would be like showing you a random product and asking if this is what you were looking for. Talk about confusing. This is how spam looks. It’s way off topic and you just look at it saying what the heck is this?
Not meeting a customer where they are in the buyer’s journey means you are simply not connecting to your potential client or sale. It’s like trying to sell your photography to a photographer. You might as well go shout in the desert.
If you try to inform someone of your product or service before they are ready, you will come off as being pushy, even spammy.
A blog post written to solve the issues a potential client is having when they are having these issues is very valuable.
When a person is searching for things, not really sure of what they are looking for, it would a bad thing to push them on your company or product. They are not ready for that yet.
Content that answers their questions is what they are after. They want help, and at this stage, you are building a relationship with the searcher, not trying to sell them something.
For example, let’s say you own a cleaning company.
Your buyer persona is having really important company over and they want to impress them but they aren’t sure how. Are they ready to hear how many employees you have at your company? Are they ready to hear all about your cleaning products? Why would they? That would be really strange.
Posts that include the top 5 ways to make a good impression would be better suited for that search. In the 5 ways, you could write a section on how impressive a clean home is to some people.
Now that the searcher is thinking clean home they might search for ways to clean a home. Here a video might be useful. Maybe a post on ways to clean a home naturally. A mention in the post or video about hiring a maid service would be logical at this stage.
Next, a list of the top natural cleaning companies could take the buyer along the journey even further. See how this works? You don’t mention anything about your service or product until the buyer is ready.
You are building relationships.
Not only because this works, but because people are important. I am a people and I know I want to be treated with respect and kindness. We all do.