Inbound marketing is no longer a new concept. Even marketers and other business leaders not currently practicing inbound or content marketing tend to be at least somewhat familiar with the methodology. At the other end of the adoption spectrum, a healthy number of marketers have gone all in on inbound marketing, and learned valuable lessons along the way.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.[i]
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, when they are most interested. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract online traffic that you can then convert and close.
With content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.
Inbound works for B2B, B2C, and nonprofit
Still think inbound marketing isn’t for you? Guess again. The 2015 State of Inbound report shows of the nearly 4,000 people surveyed, inbound had a 75% likelihood of being the marketing approach of choice, while outbound had only a 25% chance. This 3:1 ratio remained consistent across all company types (B2B, B2C, and nonprofit).
Major themes of inbound marketing
- Content Creation and Distribution Create targeted content that answers prospects' and customers' basic questions and needs, then share that content far and wide.
- Lifecycle Marketing Customers don’t just happen: they start off as strangers, visitors, contacts, and then customers. Specific marketing actions and tools help to transform those strangers into customers.
- Personalization Tailor your content to the wants and needs of the people who are viewing it. As you learn more about your leads over time, you can better personalize your messages to their specific needs.
- Multi-channel Inbound marketing is multi-channel by nature because it approaches people where they are, in the channel where they want to interact with you: Social media, blog or website.
Inbound is king, but outbound still matters to big companies
Inbound continues to be the core marketing strategy of the “lean ‘n’ mean” shop -- those 25-200 employee operations. Over six times as many respondents from companies with fewer than 25 employees cited inbound as their primary marketing approach. In 26-200 person companies, 70% of respondents cited inbound as their dominant marketing strategy.
At companies with over 200 employees, inbound and outbound marketing strategies are used equally. With bigger budgets comes the ability to spend money on paid marketing campaigns, even while running them alongside inbound campaigns.