— This post was written by Charlotte Kraeft, Head of International Marketing itelligence AG —
Hi folks; the year 2012 is eventually coming to an end and so does my Blog series “Some Marketing Wisdom.” However, according to the principle save the best for last, I am providing you today with a post on a true highlight: Inbound Marketing!
But wait, I have to start my story somewhere else…Are you familiar with the following statistics? In general
- 44% of direct mail is never opened…
- 86% of people skip television ads…
- 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into
O.k. these are tough news for us marketers. So, what should be the consequences for us? Are people fed up by marketing? Or more precisely, has marketing become redundant? Should we all quit our jobs now?
The answer to all these questions is certainly NO! Moreover, these stats guide us to a new way of doing marketing: We have to re-think our Marketing activities, our focus areas and the way we engage with customers. This is covered by the concept of Inbound Marketing.
Inbound Marketing defined
Inbound Marketing is focused on getting found by customers. Traditional “Outbound” Marketing practices were focused on finding customers. Thus, related instruments were meant to interrupt people. Examples are cold calls, junk mails, pop-ups etc. However, nowadays there are many ways for the customer to block from these annoying tools. And hey, who can blame them? Therefore, these instruments becoming less effective and this eventually there will be higher costs per lead on the vendor’s side (see http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4416/inbound-marketing-the-next-phase-of-marketing-on-the-web.aspx). At best you can describe what Inbound Marketing means when you see the following differentiation from Outbound Marketing:
To sum up, when it comes to Inbound Marketing the customer has control whether information to receive while Outbound Marketing gives control to the vendor. Inbound Marketing relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it.
3 elements of Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing in general composes of the following three elements:
Content creation is the biggest factor in the Inbound Marketing equation (see http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6790/Breaking-Down-the-Inbound-Marketing-Mix.aspx and my last Blog Post). Inbound Marketing starts with appealing content and it ends with content. The key in content is to build value that attracts customers to you organically (see http://goanimate.com/video-maker-tips/what-is-inbound-marketing/). Content is not promotional in nature, but educates and inspires. It helps customers see how they can overcome challenges and achieve their aspirations (see http://www.marketo.com/b2b-marketing-resources/b2b-marketing-cheat-sheet/inbound-marketing-cheat-sheet-marketo.php).
Search Engine Optimization strives to increase and optimize visibility of your website(s) and contents. There are various factors that could support you rank higher in organic search engine results. Referring to for example Google you may have to think about the structure of your website. At our company we use the CMS OpenText that structures our sites automatically. Also you may have to think about diversified Content(!), high-quality Backlinks, good Meta Descriptions, the time your website needs to load or also the buzz you produce with activity on your Social Media Profiles.
Also Social Media plays an important role since it helps to spread your content to a mass of people. Whether your content is liked on Facebook, twittered on Twitter or shared on LinkedIn…your awareness will exceed traditionally set boundaries. Social Media helps to drive traffic to your content and even more… You create a relationship to people who probably at this point of time haven’t taken into account a purchase yet. However, if they will finally consider doing a purchase they will for sure remember you.
A happy marriage: In- and Outbound Marketing tactics
But don’t rely only on Inbound Marketing solely! It cannot drive the maximum revenue possible. It must be incorporated into the overall marketing mix if you want to see bottom-line results. You have to create a well-balanced combination of Inbound and Outbound Marketing. Only through a powerful set of In- and Outbound instruments you will attain (potential) customers on a large scale. For instance it makes sense to do telemarketing around the publication of a new innovative White Paper or to send emailing invites for a webinar (see http://www.marketo.com/_includes/wp/resources/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Inbound_Marketing.pdf).
I could talk for ages about this fascinating topic… But at this point I would like to come to an end. So please have a look here for further readings and practical guides to Inbound Marketing:
- Marketo Whitepaper (2012): Amplify Your Impact: How to Multiply the Effects of Your Inbound Marketing Program
- Breaking down the Inbound Marketing Mix
- Fuelling your Inbound Marketing Strategy
- The 7 Deadly Sins of Inbound Marketing
So, after you have read the Blog Post you will probably understand why I won’t continue this series in the next time: Inbound Marketing is calling me back to the field 🙂 I have to work on appealing content, on the optimization of our search engine results. I hope I have made a little impact on our Social Media capabilities with this blog series. Also, I have to prepare a wedding…between Out- and Inbound Marketing tactics here at itelligence. You are all invited 🙂
I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss with me on certain (marketing) topics, please get in touch!