8 Solid, Concrete Facts You Need to Know About Inbound Marketing
The marketing world is changing all around us. For decades and even a couple of centuries now, outbound marketing has been the money-making strategy of the time. Ads in magazines, on billboards, in TV commercials, and in newspapers used to dominate the sales landscape and consistently bring customers in.
Now, customers and audiences are constantly in search of new ways to avoid being advertised to. You might say that advertisement has overstayed its welcome. People pay big bucks to be able to record TV shows so that they can fast forward through commercials instead of having to watch them. Audiences even use ad blockers like https://adblockplus.org/ are now being used online to keep from having to see ads on their side bars or having pop-up windows take over their browsing experience.
It’s hard to blame them, too. Ads are annoying and distracting, right?
If you don’t want to see someone else’s ad in front of your face all the time, it is safe to assume that your audience won’t want to see your ad all the time either. There is definitely still a time and place for traditional outbound marketing (advertising), but in the new world of eCommerce and browsing our beloved “web” the name of the game is inbound marketing.
What is inbound marketing?
Customers don’t want ads shouting at them all the time, but they still want information and products. Inbound marketing is the way that you funnel customers to your website when they are looking for what you offer. It’s a content-based way to make your website useful, interesting, and highly popular so that when your potential customers search for any key terms related to your product or service, they will find your website and quickly become convinced that you are just what they are looking for. Here are our 8 key things and concrete facts you need to know when you’re setting up your inbound marketing strategy, that will quickly get you maximal engagement and conversion.
#1 – You can’t count on email lists or traditional marketing anymore
Even as recently as a couple of years ago, you could set up an email list and get a good number of customers to subscribe, who would engage with your emails, take advantage of your special offers, and help you reach your sales goals. You can’t count on this anymore. Keep in mind, we are not saying “Don’t send Emails”. We are simply saying, you shouldn’t count on just your email marketing or traditional forms of print marketing.
More and more people are un-subscribing from email lists, and even using services such as unroll.me to keep their inboxes from being cluttered. Guess what happens when your email gets put on a subscription roll along with every other service or product that they’re somewhat interested in? You got it – your customers never read your emails again.
Traditional marketing, including email lists and even direct mail marketing consists of interrupting your customers’ lives; however, there are still great times and places to utilize these strategies. That takes away value. But customers are looking for things that are going to add value to their lives. You have something remarkable to offer your customers, and your job is to get it to them. Instead of spending a lot of money getting fancy ads to flash in your customers’ faces, focus on building something that will engage them and help them. This is the essence of inbound marketing.
#2 – Make your content spectacular so that it will stand out
There are more websites online than anyone could ever visit in a lifetime. There are more things that have been written than can be read, no matter how fast a reader someone might be. There are more videos than can ever be watched. So how do you break through the clutter and make sure that your audience is looking at you, and not someone else?
The answer is simple but demanding: make your content truly remarkable. Make your content marketing something that really enriches people’s lives and gives them help or resources that they need. Don’t worry about advertising your services at every turn; first, focus on making your website a place where people come for information and valuable resources. We recently wrote a post on the 6 steps to content marketing which covers the basics on how to write a great blog post in great detail.
#3 – Your website isn’t a marketing platform; it’s a hub.
Tailor your website to the individual customer experience. Don’t try to shout at the mass of potential customers who are lurking on the web. That online milling throng is made up of individual people, and each of them will only open their wallets if you give them, individually, something truly valuable.
#4 – Offer code-based tools.
They say that content is king, and information is certainly incredibly valuable. But there’s another thing you should be offering, which will bring you tons of readers who will quickly become loyal customers, and that is some sort of code-based tool for them to use. If you have a free app, data analysis tool, or some other program that your customers can use to make their lives easier, you will get engagement, shares, and conversions like no other!
#5 – Get a great call to action.
You need to get customers to your page, but that doesn’t do a lot of good unless they know what they are supposed to do once they’re there. Make sure your call to action is clear, easy to follow, and on every page. Remember: your call to action is the way that customers can engage with you in the way that will benefit them the best. Make it easy for them to find your key product or service!
#6 – It’s all about the visuals
The old saying is that a picture is worth 1,000 words. A picture might be worth even more than that now, as customers are increasingly impatient with reading and want to be able to skim quickly to get the information they are after. Pictures and graphic design elements break up your content and give signposts for what your customers are reading. They help your audience see (literally) what you are talking about quickly and easily, without having to spend time reading every word on your page.
For all its magnificent contributions to humanity, the Internet has reduced our attention span to a blip of time approximately equivalent to that of a goldfish. You have about half a second to convince your audience that they want to look at your site, and about eight seconds after that to really capture their attention. Pictures and graphic design elements are really the best way to do this. It doesn’t even really matter whether you are hiring a professional designer or taking snaps of your products with your iPhone, as long as you have photos to capture your readers’ interest and show them what you are talking about.
- Apply to the Massive Population with both Left Brain and Right Brain thinking: Left Brain Vs. Right Brain Thinkers
#7 – Inbound marketing is cheaper and makes you more money than outbound marketing
The amount of money you can make from an outbound marketing campaign is extremely limited; even more so when your audience is going out of their way to avoid outbound marketing. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, builds upon itself. The more you post on your blog, the more content you have to show your customers, and the more your search engine rankings will rise. Inbound marketing is a much more solid investment than outbound marketing because it actually grows your brand and it will end up making you far more money.
#8 – Hire a good team.
Marketing might not be your favorite thing in the world. You might be the visionary behind the amazing innovation that is going to change life as we know it. You might be the artist who is committed to saving the world by teaching people how to see beauty in everything around them. You might be the coder who can build incredible programs but hates the very idea of trying to engage people online to try your stuff. Or you might be a brilliant marketer who just can’t get it all done.
Hiring a team doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur; it makes you a smart entrepreneur! Make sure that your team is skilled, talented, and totally expert at inbound marketing. You’ll be able to focus on what you do best while resting easy in the knowledge that your inbound marketing is on board and successful!