Management Insights

Inbound Marketing 101

Inbound MarketingFor all organizations that have a web presence and rely on their websites and social media assets to help with the growth of their business, it is common knowledge that the web is very crowded and there is a huge amount of competition out there.  It is becoming extremely important to find new ways to increase the number of online visitors and enquiries. One new way of thinking that is rapidly becoming the new standard for marketing on the web is called Inbound Marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is marketing whose primary emphasis is “getting found” by customers and potential prospects.

In the conventional form of web marketing, also known as “outbound marketing”, the companies focus on finding customers. They use “sledgehammer” shoot-at-everything-that-moves techniques such as cold calling, expensive print ads, calling people on the telephone (telesales), junk mail, e-mail blasts and exhibitions and tradeshows. All of this is in the hope that out of all the people contacted, at least a small percentage (say 5%) might be interested. This is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  This is also called “interruption” as all these tactics do is to interrupt people with unwanted email, telephone calls that offend rather than attract and offerings that do not fit the needs of the vast majority of people contacted.

One other issue with outbound marketing is that with new spam handling tools, most marketing emails get diverted to spam folders or blocked completely. You might have sent out 10,000 emails but the reality is perhaps only 20% gets delivered and a small fraction of that 20% gets opened or read.

With Inbound Marketing, marketers do not use a scattergun approach. They flip outbound marketing on its head in a way that allows their company to be noticed by interested, qualified prospects and customers.

Instead of interrupting people with television ads, they show engaging videos on their website that potential customers may want to see. Instead of bragging about their products in print ads, they show testimonials of existing or past customers who have benefited from their products and services. Instead of sending out sales brochures, they allow site visitors to download valuable industry reports or e-books at no cost.  Instead of sending out thousands of emails, they create their own blog offering fresh, relevant content that people can subscribe to. Instead of driving their message into a crowd over and over again like a sledgehammer, they attract highly qualified customers to their business like a magnet.

The most successful Inbound Marketing campaigns have three key components:

(1) Content that attracts potential customers to your site or your business.

(2) Search Engine Optimization or SEO is about using keywords in your content that maximize your ranking in search engines like Google. Most people looking for something of interest to them start with a search phrase on Google or another search engine.

(3) Social Media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc act as additional channels and networks across which your content


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