Traditional marketing campaigns rely on shouting your message into a crowd and hoping that somebody is listening. For the people being shouted at, this can get annoying. In the past, consumers were much more forgiving of this, but their patience is running out.
TV and radio ads
Newspaper and magazine ads
Internet banner ads
Posters and billboards
These ads are forced into a consumer’s daily life. They actually interrupt their target audience and pull them away from what they want to focus on, be it their TV show, their news article, or their social media feed, in order to deliver some endorsement of a product or service.
Because it’s an interruption, ads have become sped up and frantic to cram in their message to fit shorter and shorter windows of attention. We’re now at the point where consumers have no patience or trust for these ads. Instead of demonstrating value, they’re annoyances that get in the way of the real content.
Thanks to analytics, marketers have found new ways to make these ads less annoying, matching them to customer demographics, interests, and life events. However, while traditional advertising has become much more precise, it’s still based on interruptions. Modern audiences are not willing to devote attention to these interruptions, and thanks to ad-blockers and other tools, people are getting exceedingly good at sidestepping them altogether.
Unlike the captive audiences of days past, modern consumers have a lot of control over what content they view, and more often than not, traditional marketing doesn’t offer enough to convince them to pay attention.
So what is inbound marketing?
At its heart, it is based on the idea that your company should focus on developing meaningful, valuable relationships with its customers, rather than simply pursuing sales. Customers should be drawn in, rather than marketers going out to get them (hence the term in-bound).
There are several parts to an inbound strategy:
1. Join the community
With inbound marketing, your company operates as an active member of the community.
Publishing blog posts
Creating educational articles and videos
Joining industry discussions
Offering advice and opinions
These actions and many like them are all focused on contributing information and valuable content for your community of customers. This isn’t content that promotes your products or services, but is simply offering quality information to the community.
2. Enable discussion
If the content is good, then people will take notice of it, and start to engage with it. Arguments, debates, compliments, and stories are what build relationships between people, and your content will spark that exchange between you and your customers. Providing channels for discussion and interaction will allow your relationship with the community to develop.
3. Attract customers
Once their trust has been earned, then people from the community can become customers. The useful content you have provided will drawn people to learn more about your company, and as they consider your product or service, they will evaluate it through the lens of the relationship you have built with them.
This is where inbound marketing is really different from the traditional approach. Customers are created by earning their goodwill rather than by “buying, begging, or bugging” them into a sale.
When implementing inbound marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Be excellent. Your content needs to be truly valuable in order to capture your targets’ attention. Content must be useful, relevant, and interesting in order to really contribute to the community.
Be honest. Modern consumers are exceedingly good at spotting BS. When interacting with the community and customers, be sure that your messages are genuine, and not simply vessels to promote your brand.
Be reliable. A friendship is built from regular interaction, and so is a customer relationship. If you want to maintain your position as a member of the community, remember to post frequently and interact constantly. Love your community and they will love you.
"QuadRipple is a digital media and inbound marketing company in the business of transforming your company into an industry influencer through the generation of valuable content and by utilizing relevant inbound marketing techniques. We have an amazing team working with us, and provide extraordinary services, training, consulting and support to achieve your desired outcomes. By becoming a leading influencer in your market, your company will maintain and grow a loyal lifetime customer following through timeless content generation and value added marketing strategies. Born in Calgary Canada, but operating everywhere because...2016. Keep it real and Do It Live!"