Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value. Blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing are considered inbound marketing. In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales fliers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising that are considered “outbound marketing.”
Marketers should be focused on establishing trust with potential customers in contrast to outbound marketing where they buy, beg, or annoy their audience via paid advertisements, issuing press releases, or paying commissioned sales people.
The term is synonymous with the concept of permission marketing where consumers opt in to newsletters or email lists.
The inbound marketing term was coined by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan, in 2005.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.
Inbound marketing was founded on the basis that traditional marketing and advertising like billboards and TV spots have become less effective. One study showed that 86 percent of viewers skip commercials and 44 percent of recipients never open direct mail. In contrast companies that blog have 50 percent more website visitors than those that don’t and inbound marketing leads cost 60 percent less on average.
Inbound marketing may also reflect changes in the customer buy cycle. Whereas customers used to engage vendors very early in the buy cycle, HubSpot suggests today customers conduct online research and contact the vendor closer to the moment of making a decision. in this way, customers become more informed on their own and sales teams are used more efficiently.
One criticism of inbound marketing is the time and effort required to create content. Busy executives find it hard to manage the time it takes to effectively utlize the new digital platforms.
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