* by Mark Wright
Consumers have become desensitised to invasive marketing messages and are using increasingly creative ways to block them out.
While many marketers continue to “force feed” their customers, many have seen the signs and are looking for less intrusive way of reaching potential customers. Many are striking gold with inbound or permission marketing.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company or product. What makes the method so effective is that it gives users a choice as to whether or not they want to engage in the sales process. User permission or choice is central to the concept .
Inbound marketing is essentially advertising a company or product through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, eNewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing. Marketers “earn their way” by adding value to the user instead of forcing their way in.
Message quality is crucial
Sounds simple right? Just set up a Facebook account, get a free website, write a blog post, write an eBook, make a podcast about your favourite things and you’re set to be a fortune500 company. Well not really. The point to highlight here is not the medium but rather the quality of your message. The concept of “Content is King” is paramount. The objective is to create quality content that gets shared over and over again. Viral? Yes, viral. But with a pre-determined goal.
A video of your cat attacking your dog doesn’t count. Here’s the tricky part, you need to provide value to the user within your field of expertise, break new ground, promote your brand as market leaders or experts and educate your user. This action of adding value attracts potential consumers to engage with you and provides you with an opportunity to convert them into paying customers via your website or store.
Inbound marketing in action
Hubspot, a leading marketing automation software company put together an impressive slideshare presentation on inbound marketing. Notice how the presentation promotes them as experts on the subject? It’s an inbound marketing tactic. Regardless of their own sales objectives, the presentation explains the concept and acts as an example of inbound marketing at the same time.
While many rigid aorganisations are unlikely to dump their “tried and tested” methods of generating leads, inbound marketing can provide a cost-effective way of reaching your customers. Use video, blogs, eBooks and other interesting forms of content to promote your brand’s unique story and selling points. An interesting and creative piece of content has legs and can continue to generate leads and links months after it was initially published.
* Mark Wright is the co-founder of Cavalry Media, a company that helps brands develop their digital platforms, engage and grow their communities and optimise their online communication. Cavalry Media provides turnkey digital solutions for every stage of a project’s lifespan. Their offering includes: Web development, Social media community management, Content marketing, Search engine optimisation, E-Commerce, Google AdWords campaign development and management, Training. Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 071 336 8708.