Inbound Marketing – The Subtle “Soft Sell”

For todays post I will be discussing a very affordable facet of marketing known as inbound marketing.  What is it?  Basically, inbound marketing is what some would call a “soft sell”.  What I mean is, it focuses on creating awareness by reaching out to potential customers through informative and interesting content production.  No longer are annoying cold calls and spam emails the only necessary means to acquire new customers.  Instead, think of inbound marketing as an inviting approach to your site.  Basically it’s like handing your readers a cozy blanket accompanied with a cup of piping hot chocolate to help ease your potential clients through the door.  Sounds pretty inviting, right?

That’s because it is!  You see, once memorable and engaging content in the form of articles, videos, blog posts, photos, stories, and etc. are created, they can easily be shared by third-party sites.  Helping prospective clients find you, potentially leading to the ultimate goal of monetary gains.

It’s also worthy to note a special part of inbound marketing known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  In short, SEO helps optimize and increase your content visibility by implementing keywords throughout your content to help increase your rank in organic search.  When SEO, social media, and blogs work congruently with inbound marketing, attention can effectively be captured by prospective buyers.

Now from what I have learned, soft selling aka inbound marketing alone is hardly effective.  In the e-book we were instructed to read, they mention how inbound marketing is basically “carpet bombing”.  Content is not necessarily directed towards anyone specific.  Meaning even if it’s great content, it may not be reaching the right people.  This is where social media and SEO come in to play to help content fall in to the right laps.  There will also be times when it is difficult to get noticed.  When there is a lot of noise out there, the point is not to be louder, it’s to sound different.  Do not do what everyone else is doing.  You need to stand out.

The next piece of work instructed to read, is a Harvard case study on a company known as HubSpot. Basically, HubSpot builds software programs to help companies with their inbound marketing.  This case highlights how relevant inbound marketing has become and how desensitized audiences are when exposed to outdated forms of outbound marketing, such as advertisements.  HubSpot’s vice president of marketing Mike Volpe stated, “Instead of interrupting people that don’t care, why not help those that want what you’re offering to find you?”.  This quote really resonated with me, because Mike makes a very good point.  He sends a very clear message that companies need to quit wasting their time and resources on those that don’t matter.

Inbound marketing is also very complimentary to the way customers seek out information.  People search online, watch videos on youtube, and even read blogs like this one to learn more about the products and services of interest to them.  What better way to have a say in what they’re reading, than writing that content yourself?  Even better, having others vouch for your brand like vloggers (video bloggers) and opinion leaders.  These virtual leaders become very important in the way your content gets carried out across the web.  While it may sound silly, it can be extremely effective in spreading awareness of your brand to the right crowds.  All content has to be attractive to readers.  Below are some tips for future content creators:

PRO TIP#1: Content needs to be useful first, and promotional second.

PRO TIP #2: SEO – Content needs to be found by prospective customers

PRO TIP #3: A lead generated using inbound marketing costs 5 to 7 times less than a lead generated by outbound marketing.

All this talk about inbound marketing, but who actually uses it?  Well, a variety of companies.  A firm I would like to touch on goes by the name of Add3.  Add3 is a digital marketing agency in Seattle, WA, who believes in the power and effectiveness of inbound marketing.  With the help of data, research, and analytics (sound familiar?), they help connect brands to people.  As an agency, and a friend of a current employee, all employees are encouraged to write blogs in order to boost awareness of their own agency.  Not to mention, they collect commission for each blog post they write for Add3.  Not too shabby.  Also, pretty relevant since content creation is kind of their forte.  Anyways, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, don’t be scared to check them out, they’re pretty rad and a great company to work for from what I have been told.

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