Lately I’ve been seeing more and more articles and infographics about inbound marketing. I first heard of this concept back in 2007 when I attended week long conference in Toronto about it. It was there that my lifelong passion for working online was cemented. In case you don’t know what inbound marketing is, I’ll give you the short version of an explanation. Even the definition of inbound marketing has changed over recent years.
Traditional online marketers typically get their leads and make sales after reaching out to potential clients who they think would be a fit for whatever it is they are selling. Inbound marketing takes that process and inverts it.
It basically means that you strategically change your marketing so that you are putting your time and effort into different things, which in turn, means that people interested in what you are selling come to you, instead of you going to them. Just two examples of outbound marketing would be cold calling and email campaigns. Two examples of inbound marketing would be blogging and SEO. In other words, you make yourself very visible and irresistible to anyone who is searching for your product or service.
It sounds like a salesperson’s dream, right? There is a lot of psychology behind inbound marketing, and it can be a little tricky. At the end of the day though, a lot of it involves creating systems that help you reach your end goal. I read last week that something like 92% of people who may purchase from a particular company have seen a banner ad or some other kind of online ad but never clicked on it. This just goes to show once again that the ROI for online advertising cannot all be encapsulated in clicks. There is a lot to be said for gaining trust through brand recognition, exposure, and aligning your brand with other brands that potential customers already know and like.
Create systems to optimize your time and reach your goals.
If you notice, brands and individuals who are masters at inbound marketing aren’t afraid to get personal and engage online. They will many times post YouTube videos where you can see them in a casual environment, they will respond to people in social media, and they will admit when they make mistakes. In my opinion, this is where marketing is headed overall, and those brands who are still afraid to engage and be open with people online are going to have to get with the program soon or get left behind. Someone very wise once told me, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.” In other words, you’ll attract seagulls at the beach much easier by just standing in one place and holding a piece of bread up in the air and letting them come to you than by trying to chase them down the beach by running after them.
“People love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.” ~Unknown
When I saw this infographic called The Inbound Marketing Process, created by Impact Branding & Design, I knew I wanted to show it to you because it’s the best one I’ve seen on the topic. It lays out this complex process beautifully. I would like to point out though that this might be just a tad oversimplified. This is only one piece of the puzzle, but of course it’s a very important one. But then again, to go into it thoroughly would really require doing a whole series of articles. Lastly, some people say that inbound marketing is free, which makes it even more valuable. I would have to disagree with that. It takes a lot of time to blog consistently, to learn SEO, to engage in social media, to build an online reputation, and to do all the other things necessary. Your time is your most valuable asset, and from that perspective, inbound marketing is far from free. Regardless, it’s still a beautiful thing when this works. I hope you find this infographic useful!