Inbound Marketing: Out with the interruptions, in with the new

Quick! First thoughts that come to mind when you hear the word “Telemarketer.” Ready, go!

Most likely, it is something along the lines of “annoying”, “interruption”, or even “don’t you ever @%#! call this number again!” I honestly can’t remember a time where I have let a telemarketer even finish his/her first sentence let alone hear out their pitch before I have hung up or told them I’m not interested. And who knows – maybe the product or service they were offering me was something I was in the market for at the time and could have benefitted from just giving them five minutes of my time. But lets face it – things are different in the marketing world now. With the Internet, consumers have the ability to educate themselves, which in turn allows them to tune out traditional forms of marketing until they want to hear it.

So how can we as marketers adjust to this new world?

It’s a change of focus called Inbound Marketing. Instead of putting our efforts into trying to find new leads, we need to instead turn our focus on providing easier ways for those new leads to find us. Marketo put out a great article explaining the basics of Inbound Marketing. In it, they define Inbound Marketing as:

“The process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.” (http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/inbound_marketing.pdf)

So what does this look like?

Before we go any further, lets define Outbound Marketing so that we know what we are comparing Inbound Marketing to. Outbound Marketing is any form of media (both online or offline) that a company or organization pays for with the intent of catching new leads. This can be performed in a variety of ways, including emails, newsletters, trade shows, print advertising, telemarketing, and so on. You get the idea.

Since Inbound Marketing is trying to create ways to make it easier for consumers to find us, as marketers we have to create interesting and quality content that engages customers and gets them excited. It has to be appealing and something that once found, gets spread by the consumer because it was so helpful, appealing, and inspiring, that they want to share it with others. Once they start sharing our content though social media, our job gets easier because they are passing it along for us.

So how do we create content that is sharable? You need to make sure the content you are creating is relevant to what consumers need. So as a marketer, you need to understand how consumers are doing their research and make the decision process they go through leading up to purchasing your product, and then integrating that into your marketing strategy in a way that interacts with the customer along every step they make.  In a report put out by HubSpot, they describe it as “following them (customers) through the sales experience with ongoing engagement.

On top of this, your content also needs to be easy to access. This is where SEO comes in to play. SEO (I’m going to be mentioning SEO a lot throughout my blogs because it’s just so dang important! If you don’t know what SEO is, check out this blog all about it!)

Inbound Marketing isn’t an easy fix. It is something you have to put a lot of effort in order for it to succeed. But you don’t need to hire additional staff specifically to perform inbound marketing or spend more time on top of what you are already doing. Instead, you need to incorporate it into your whole system. In doing so, you shift your time from performing mainly Outbound Marketing to only some Outbound and some Inbound Marketing. The Inbound Marketing makes up for the decrease in Outbound Marketing because it supports the Outbound Marketing that your organization does keep.

Interested in learning more about Inbound Marketing?

Curious about which companies are doing a good job at Inbound Marketing? Here’s an article highlighting seven well-known companies who have got it down. And this article gives you a nice list of examples of both Inbound and Outbound Marketing tactics.

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