Today, consumers have the power.
Digital connectivity has put a world of information at their fingertips, and they no longer rely on salespeople, stores, and advertising to educate them.
Practically all research and observations point to the same thing: the digital revolution has wrought powerful changes on the way people shop. This is especially true for larger or more complex purchases—a computer, an industrial chainsaw, or a college education, for instance.
These days, shoppers fall down a rabbit hole of web searches, blog posts, automated emails, social media, and online product reviews when researching potential purchases. In fact, over 80% of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase. With the ease of search and social media, buyers can find what they need to know at the click of a button.
Because of this, chances are potential customers have an idea of what decision they’ll make even before they arrive at your store, campus, warehouse, or wherever you do business.
Instead of fighting this new reality, forward-thinking businesses embrace it…forging a path to success with new tools and tactics. They’re winning over consumers with digital marketing, but not just any kind of digital marketing...inbound marketing.
So, What Is Inbound Marketing?
Today, many of the most successful organizations engage in inbound marketing. It’s a marketing philosophy that utilizes high-quality, valuable content to pull—never push—the right traffic and leads into the organization.
Inbound marketing goes beyond “Click Heres,” “Swipe Ups,” and “Shop Nows.” Rather, it is knowledgeable and/or entertaining content sought out by consumers.
Inbound marketing assumes the form of topical blog posts, webinars, ebooks, infographics, white papers, case studies, podcasts, video series, podcast episodes…the executions are endless.
A Magnet is Mightier than a Megaphone
Traditional, “outbound” promotions might be likened to a megaphone spewing out monotonous calls-to-action that consumers gradually become immune to.
We’re overloaded with outbound media today. On average, we each see over 5,000 ads in a day. It could be videos we have to sit through as a show loads on Hulu, Instagram stories featuring promo discounts, or billboards lining the highway.
Conversely, inbound marketing, like a magnet, attracts potential customers to websites, blogs, social profiles, and other digital properties through content—infographics, videos, and more—that the customer is looking for anyway.
Businesses that employ inbound marketing tactics get the clicks and the web traffic, and ultimately build trust with their audience. Why? Because it’s not a forced introduction—buyers want to hear what the business has to say.
Take Ellie, a recent graduate, for example. She wants to take a celebratory, post-grad trip abroad and needs to find a place to stay. Unfamiliar with her foreign destination, Ellie goes to Google. She types “Affordable Hotels in Paris” into the search bar. Wanting to make an informed decision, she begins to sift through the endless amount of Top-10 lists, social media pages, website links, and blog reviews that materialize.
Inbound marketing helps businesses climb Google Search rankings and, ultimately, gets customers like Ellie to their page.
So, should your company be implementing inbound marketing strategies? Although not a scientific measure, we use an 8-question inventory to guide clients through the question, “Should you be practicing inbound marketing?”
We’d now like to share it with you.
If you scored high on the inventory (perhaps 16 or higher), it’s definitely time to create content that intrigues rather than interrupts. It’s time to go inbound.
However, as mentioned, practically all companies will benefit from incorporating inbound content and tactics into their marketing practices.
Obstacles to Inbound
Did you know? Every day, over 5.7 million blog posts and over 540,000 websites are published. That’s a lot of content! Herein lies a challenge. Inbound content has proven so successful that many—I mean, many—companies have jumped on the bandwagon.
In order to get the attention of consumers, like Ellie, the right content needs to be shared at the right time on the right channel. This takes time and focus.
At Modthink, we do the heavy lifting of content planning, creation, and distribution, and our clients rely on us to produce best-in-class inbound content that rises above the glut of content out there.
Reach out if you’d like to talk inbound. It’s one of our favorite subjects. (That and pizza.)