Every day millions of consumers are exposed to inbound and content marketing, and half of them don’t even realize it.
Marketers can leverage inbound marketing to control their online presence by creating a strategy that includes a highly targeted, off-site promotions process paired with valuable on-site content. Engaging content can earn your brand three times more exposure than traditional marketing efforts.
Traditional marketing tactics are interruptive and the consumers know exactly when they are being exposed to them. They are those cheesy commercials (like Subway’s Sub of the Day commercial), those coupons that crowd your mailbox, and those emails that automatically go to your junk inbox.
“Consumers don’t want interruptions, and the ability to block ads has fundamentally changed the consumer/brand relationship. Instead of overly promotional content that has little to no value to them, consumers are looking for brands that offer valuable content–something that ignites a conversation. And this is the key difference between inbound and outbound marketing.” – Andrea Lehr, Marketo
Inbound marketing is customer centric. It focuses on building brand awareness instead of persuading the customer to buy your product/service. It uses relevant, attractive and engaging content to build a relationship with the consumer that will eventually end with a conversion.
Let’s break it down…
It seems like consumers turn to the internet for everything these days. They have taken the purchase decision process into their own hands and complete most (if not all) of the buyer’s journey online.
And because of this, consumers look online to learn more about brands. Since your consumers are already searching for and demanding information, you have the opportunity to expose them to content that they are going to love and share.
Make sure to leverage your content. Your content should be available and easy for people to find. That means you have to make sure your content ends up on website pages, your business blog, social media and landing pages.
Most people think that content marketing should automatically result in a conversion, but this is a myth. A successful content strategy takes a lot of time, effort and repetition of two steps.
Step 1: Create amazing content that people with love and share
Step 2: Distribute the content on social media, website pages, blogs, etc.
Steps 1 and 2 have to be repeated many times until something sticks in the mind of a consumer, and then after promoting the business/brand it can lead to a conversion.
Methodology: How does it work?
Inbound marketing follows a four step process:
Attract: Publish educational and relevant content that will engage strangers and turn them into visitors. These are the people who are not aware of your brand but find your content through blogs, keywords or social publishing.
Convert: The visitors are converted into leads by filling out forms, calls-to-action, visiting your website or landing page.
Close: When the lead becomes a consumer. You have collected information about the buyer, they are in your CRM database, and they have brought your product/service.
Delight: The consumer becomes a promoter. They provide information through surveys and boast about your brand online (social media, positive reviews, etc.).
Is there a difference?
Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing go hand in hand. Inbound needs content to work, but content marketing is only one piece of the complete inbound strategy.
Inbound Marketing provides a complete methodology that helps companies adjust their marketing to better fit the way todays buyers are shopping for products and services.
- Uses tactics that help companies get found when people are looking for them.
- Not interruptive.
- Turns strangers into leads, and massages those leads until they are ready to make a desired conversion.
- Provides real-time data and insights that can be used to continuously improve performance and results.
- Earns the prospects attention instead of ‘buying’ it.
Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-define audience – which ultimately leads to a conversion.
- Can earn your brand nearly three time the exposure of more traditional marketing efforts.
- Off-site content will lead the consumer back to your website which should house valuable on-site content.
- Content marketing needs to be tightly integrated with your conversion strategy.
- Unique and original content drives inbound traffic and increases their authority
- Generates a higher ROI than outbound marketing.
Why is it important?
With consumers spending so much of their time online, it is important that companies publish engaging content that is tailored to their wants and needs. Content marketing allows you to engage with your consumers without being overly promotional. This helps generate brand awareness and allows businesses to build a relationship with its consumers.
Who does it well?
GORE-TEX is a manufacturer who works with brands like Columbia, Arc Teryx, The North Face, etc. to integrate its waterproof, breathable fabric membrane into their products. They created their own outdoor magazine called Experience More to build brand awareness by being an expert in outdoor activities.
Farrow and Ball is a paint company that created a website called The Chromologist to publish content about paint colors. They publish content that goes beyond the usual “how to choose a paint color for your bedroom,” and post anything from how to paint your door to what a sunset looks like.
Cabot Creamery uses pictures of their family to engage the visitors on their website. By doing this, visitors can see who is behind the brand and can even lead to an emotional attachment to the brand.
When it comes down to it, business need both content marketing and inbound marketing to be successful.