Inbound vs. outbound marketing is an important concept in the context of digital marketing strategy. Sometimes it is also referred to a pull vs. push marketing. It’s important to understand what inbound marketing is as it is one of the most effective tools to grow a business and with the expectation for consumers to have an “instant answer” for everything as soon as they Google it, there has never been a better time to tap into inbound marketing. This post will explain what inbound marketing is, help to understand which channels are relevant to your business and how the theory of inbound marketing can be applied.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they weren’t actively looking for, inbound marketing forms connections consumers are actively seeking and aims to solve problems they already have.

A key example of inbound marketing is search marketing. When a consumer is actively looking for a specific product, it obviously helps if the relevant options can be found in SERPs. For example, the relevant product is visible in a Google Shopping ad or there is an organic search result about content that helps to answer a question due to strategic content marketing and SEO. By being there for the consumer at the exact point that they are looking, you immediately build trust, reputation and authority.

So, inbound marketing is about getting people to your website?

Yes… but it doesn’t stop there. In reality, inbound marketing strategy can include a number of different channels and types of content to attract prospects and customers to your website – not just search engine marketing. It can refer to social media marketing or content marketing but because we predominantly start our enquiry through a search engine, this naturally becomes one of the first place to start in digital strategy. However, inbound marketing doesn’t stop just because they finally found your goods or services online, you also need to ensure that the consumer is coaxed along a journey to do whatever qualifies as a conversion in you business. Maybe this is a sale or email sign up for example. After all, how many of us have found what we’re looking for but left the website because it’s too slow/difficult/unclear? This is when User Experience (UX) is important and of course, customer service.

Ok, I ensure the website experience is good – then what?

Even if you have a smooth inbound marketing experience up until the point of purchase or sign up – it doesn’t stop there either. You need to continue to provide information, strengthening the connection between your business and the requirements of the customer. It is the businesses role to continue to help, support, and empower the user well after they become a customer and that is how you can grow your business and develop loyalty. CRM or email marketing is therefore a key element in extended inbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing Summary

In short, inbound marketing is about nurturing a prospective customer that has shown initial interest. We have seen a huge shift in business from “finding your customers” to ensuring that you’re “being found” – whether that is through search engines or social media. You need to be visible when a customer is actively looking for a good/service, attract them to stay and take action and then ensure they are looked after at every stage after that.

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