This is a world of data abundance. In a recent survey carried out by IBM, it has been stated that the world generates around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. Not only that there is a growing paucity of attention spans of the buyers. So much so that you only have a few seconds to make the deal and grab the attention of your visitor. So whatever you have to say or sell, the pitch has to correctly put across in a matter of seconds.
Simply put, it has made the buyers much more empowered than before. This information overload has given a range of options to the buyers.
That is where this new buzzword made inroads to the marketing handbooks worldwide. It started as a fad but established itself as the new challenge to the outbound approaches to marketing. It came to turnaround the whole set of rules for marketers.
So, let us begin by addressing, why is there so much hype around it?
Inbound marketing is one of the most commonly used inbound marketing strategies that help in lead generation for your business organically. That means that the buyers are able organically led to your online business without you having to walk that extra mile to grab their attention.
Does that make sense?
You will be more convinced if you recall what marketing has stood for so far? Or in other words, what is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is what seasoned marketers did when there was no internet or when for that matter there was no mobile-internet. An age when the information was not at fingertips. At that time outbound form of marketing was religion. All it did was to rent the attention span of a buyer by barging in the buying journey. Marketers used to try everything possible to send their message across like catalogs, adverts, billboards, etc.
The impact it had made at that time could not be replicated anymore. No more does the buyer likes that disruption and many infact find such strategies to be highly aggressive. For businesses even, the model seemed more expensive and even the metrics were not clear. In other words, you end up spending a heavy amount without knowing what is the actual return on that investment.
However, it is a little premature to say that outbound has completely lost relevance and is dead. Infact the marketing now has to be a combination of best of both worlds tailored to the specific needs of your business.
There are many examples of inbound marketing that clarify how exactly it is different from the traditional marketing framework.
The Basic Idea
The underlying emotion is to give the audience what they are looking for. So instead of you reaching out to your buyers and demanding their attention, they come looking for you and also initiate that basic interaction as they feel interested in your products and services. Here people make a conscious choice to receive your marketing messages. It allows a natural alignment to how people naturally want to look at content.
This is what places inbound way above the outbound.
Not only that the modern buyer as even proved by statistics spends nearly 8-10 hours a day in front of a digital screen. That could have also worked in favor of the traditional marketing mix, isn’t it?
But, it did not.
People are not becoming comfortable tuning out the traditional adverts. The statistics are alarming for outbound marketers as the average click-through rate for online ads has fallen to as low as 0.07 percent. This is the primary reason behind the fact that more than 85 percent of internet users show banner blindness.
That means all your outbound efforts are met with filters and not live audience. The growing use of ad-blockers says it all. So, the need for having a compelling marketing strategy to keep pace with the changing requirements of user behavior.
So, inbound marketing proved as the most comfortable and possible shift to meet the needs of the new age buyer.
How does it work?
Almost all examples of inbound marketing will trickle down to some basic behaviours outlined below.
- Creating a Pull: Buyers are no longer seeking ads to follow their interests. The ads are majorly being turned down by filters. The reason being they do not want interruptions to their search. In many cases, the ideology of buying a product because they thought it was worth the money and time are gaining ground. People no longer want to be sold to. They want to buy, what they want and how they want.
- Use of Search Engines: The use of search engines has grown. Google is being used more often than ever even in the buying process. People often resort to the reading of reviews, carrying out extensive product research and even comparing the closest alternatives. Buying has become much more informed and streamlined. Studies show that a buyer who refers to search engines, on average consults nearly 12 different online sources to back their buying decision. Hence, the role of SEO in inbound marketing stands underlined.
- Social Media: Needless to say, social media is an opinion-maker. An average adult nowadays spends nearly 2 hours daily on social media. Hence, these platforms are a great medium for reaching your audience. The ground rule of marketing states that you need to be where your audience is. There are no second thoughts about this. Hence the need to spread the marketing pipeline across four terms makes sense. These are attracted, convert, close and even delight.
- Strong Content: Many businesses treat content marketing the same as inbound marketing. This is not the case. But, strong content forms the backbone of your inbound marketing framework. Infact, there are no inbound marketing examples in the online space where content did not play a role. Not only it has to be of good quality but strategically placed and well-directed. Usually, it is divided into three categories:
- Top of the Funnel: Here the content is churned out to attract new customers and is usually in the blog format. These are directed at the widest possible audience range for getting maximum conversions.
- Middle of the Funnel: The content here is directed at those visitors who have converted but have not made the purchase decision. So, content forms like webinars, e-books, etc. prove to be highly beneficial. Content has to go one step up in terms of technicality and has to explore the larger benefits of your product or service.
- Bottom of the Funnel: A critical stage as the purchase decision is just about to be made. So businesses often resort to different options and give away different content forms like free-trials, demos, etc. to get the buyer to make the final decision.
Apart from the above, you also have to give careful thought on your product design, CTAs and even designing relevant and appealing landing pages. The Internet has changed the way buyers buy things. So, it's time for businesses to buckle-up and reinvent their marketing strategies. Outbound marketing is not completely phased out but needs to be tailored alongside the inbound tricks to maximize benefits. Do share your views on this and let us know how useful this was!
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