Remember when the Internet was new and referred to as “The World Wide Web?” You saw the “AOL Keyword” hovering in the corner of most TV ads, and brochure sites were popping up left and right.
As marketers quickly recognized the limitless marketing power of this amazing new channel, specialty marketing disciplines grew and buzz words emerged en mass.
As the magnitude of the Internet grew, the number of online marketing specialties grew as well. Functions began to pair up into logical sub categories of related or coordinated specialties. It became more difficult to be a “general online marketer,” and many marketers gravitated toward more specific online marketing specialities.
So now we have Inbound Marketing. While not a new concept, its growing appeal among businesses is impressive.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Wiki defines inbound marketing as getting found by customers, as opposed to interruptive advertising.
Whereas an outbound marketer pushes messages out (via advertising, purchased email lists, trade shows, cold calling, etc.) hoping it will attract the attention of the desired customer.
Why is Inbound marketing important?
It creates quality leads – prospective customers who want to to find you. A deliciously self-targeted, highly qualified prospect!
It’s also cost effective – the smart use of tools and time is much less than the price tag of most traditional outbound advertising. While not intended to replace outbound marketing, it’s strategic role in the mix is growing.
Who is it best for?
While it can have a role for companies of all sizes, it is particularly attractive to small to medium-sized businesses who cannot compete head-on with larger authority sites with the scale to well-target their outbound marketing efforts.
But if you’re not an Amazon or eBay, it’s time to get creative and use more inbound marketing as part of your mix.
How does it work?
This is the best part. It’s simple! There are three key components:
- Build an optimized website with a blog
- Create quality content that your prospective customers want
- Take that content to where they are through social channels
With any strategy, there is a mix of art and perseverance to success. But if you build a smart site, create quality stuff your customers wants to read, and take it to where they are hanging out, you will find you have built both relationships AND referrals.