Consumer expectations and behaviour have changed due to the democratisation of information. A couple of years ago, people only had a handful of sources to turn to when they needed information about a brand or product.
Today all that has changed. Consumers need only a few clicks to access a world of information and data about a particular brand from several sources.
The result is that the modern consumer has become savvier, well informed and sales-phobic.
It’s not surprising then to see that 30% of internet users use ad blockers on their computers, and this trend is only expected to continue.
The challenge before marketers is to figure out effective and sustainable means to get their message across to these sales-avoidant, ad blocking consumers.
Here’s where inbound marketing excels. In this piece, we will describe what inbound marketing is and the difference between inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing philosophy that attracts qualified prospects into a brand’s sales funnel through the publishing and distribution of relevant, timely and personalised content. The content could be in the form of blog posts, podcast, video, whitepaper and case studies, images, infographics and other content formats.
The marketing methodology was first described in 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, founders of HubSpot.
Inbound marketing is rooted in the belief that marketing should be more lovable and not interruptive.
Brands implementing inbound marketing usually seek to attract and engage prospects right from the early stages of their buyer journey, even before they are ready to buy, via content that enables them to solve their problems.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology where brands position their content to be discovered by prospects themselves when they search for related products and services online.
By producing content that is relevant to their target audience, brands can attract and engage people who are likely to convert to loyal customers. Inbound marketing is customer-focused, and through publishing useful content, brands can earn customer trust.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, uses old interruptive tactics to get their message out. While outbound marketing held the forte during the pre-internet days, consumers today now find this type of marketing pushy, a little too aggressive or outrightly offensive.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
70% of consumers say they prefer to learn about a brand through content rather than through advertising Thus making inbound marketing a perfect fit as it naturally aligns with how people consume content these days.
Inbound gives prospects a sense of control over how they engage and consume content from brands. When visitors organically discover a brand’s content, they are more likely to trust the brand than when they were bombarded with marketing messages.
With inbound marketing, brands can easily target certain market segments, track and measure the performance of their inbound marketing campaigns.
Marketers doing inbound marketing see lower lead acquisition costs compared to the cost of acquiring new leads using outbound marketing. Data from HubSpot support this position where it costs brands 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.