What Is Inbound Marketing?
Everyone knows they have to market their business. Not every knows how to market their small business. To start with let's just define what marketing really is. Wikipedia defines marketing as such:
Marketing is "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."
The key in this definition is that at the core of all we do to market our offerings, is that we "add value" with what we are communicating, selling, offering, or exchanging. Adding value is giving to the consumers with whom we communicate real, valuable, helpful, and useful information, tools, and insights. Adding value can also mean building relationships with people and showing them that you genuinely care about their success and their business.
Adding value = Increased revenue
Simple enough? There is no soul alive that doesn't want to increase the bottom line of their business. But the way that we should be marketing to our potential clients has changed. Why? Because our potential clients have changed. Today's consumer is smart, savvy, and are tired of businesses trying to "sell" them. Spammy emails, unwanted advertising, and direct sales pitches have become an irritation to the modern consumer and frankly a costly way to market that is no longer producing the results it once did.
Enter Inbound Marketing
This is where the concept of Inbound Marketing comes into play. Wikipedia defines inbound marketing as such:
- Attract Traffic
- Convert visitors to leads
- Convert leads to sales
- Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
- Analyze for continuous improvement
Getting found and attracting traffic are done through blogs, SEO, and social media. This is why social media has become such a large part of large company's marketing mixes and that's why it is here to stay. And this is why it is important for business to have a strong social media and web presence that either they or someone they have hired maintains. This is how you will "get found and attract traffic". Inbound meaning they will come to you. And where are they coming from? Organic search, Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon… the list is endless and your presence on these networks largely determines how you attract, convert, and keep up your client base.
Inbound Marketing And Your Business
Imagine a world where clients are contacting you for your knowledge, expertise, and business. A world where you no longer have to "hound" people for business. In the infographic below I love the little men at the top. You can see that the cartoon man under "sales then" looks beat down and tired. He has gone door to door, cold calling, spending loads of money on fruitless ad campaigns, and he is tired and probably just turning a profit. The cartoon man under the "sales now" is happy. He has his inbound marketing in place and his laptop in hand and is confidently driving targeted traffic to his website and getting qualified leads without making one phone call or knocking on one door. And most importantly he is keeping more money in his pocket and making more money. Which little man is your business?