There’s been a lot of buzz about inbound marketing, but what is it really and how does it work? Let’s start with the basics: Inbound marketing isn’t a ‘thing you get’, it’s a ‘thing you do’. It focuses on drawing prospects in with high-level content that introduces them to your brand or business, but doesn’t promote a product or service. For most marketers, this is something you already do – when you create thought leadership, or promote your brand on social media, you’re engaging in inbound marketing. If don’t do it yet (but want to), inbound marketing should be part of your lead-generation strategy, as it’s a great way to drive new leads and expand the presence of your business or brand in the market, so here are the Do’s and Don’ts of doing Inbound Marketing – the right way.
Do: Make it a part of your strategy
The buzz is correct: inbound marketing is a great thing, and it should be part of your strategy if it isn’t already. Blog posts, social media, infographics and industry guides are all great ways to fill the top of the sales funnel with interested prospects, and make yourself known to a wider audience. In fact these days, these are the standard requirements for visibility in a competitive market.
Don’t: Make it your only strategy
Inbound is good – when it comes to lead generation, you should most definitely have inbound techniques in your arsenal. But when it comes to closing the deal, it falls short. Inbound doesn’t move prospects down the sales funnel, so once a prospect has been drawn in, your marketing methods will need to become more direct in order to turn prospects into workable leads.
Do: Expect a Traffic Increase
Inbound marketing brings a high volume of traffic, and if you’re linking your inbound content to your website, you can see some significant results. This is most noticeable if you’re launching a new channel for inbound, such as a social media platform, or a new blog.
Don’t: Expect Qualified Leads
Because of it’s high-level, generalized nature, inbound marketing won’t necessarily bring in prospects who are qualified to turn into leads. It’s important to have a way to carefully screen and separate leads into the cool, warm, and hot categories before passing them to sales. Traditional marketing methods can help with this by making it easier to identify which prospects are or will become hand raisers. Product-focused webinars and demos, and downloading white papers or case studies are all activities that can help you identify whether your leads are ready to be passed to sales.
Do Expect to create a lot more content
Inbound content takes many forms including videos and SEO, but one thing all of it has in common is that it’s considerably more time consuming to produce. Inbound relies more on quantity for driving brand awareness, and quality for attracting and retaining prospects, so expect to spend some time planning and building up your content library and distribution methods.
Inbound marketing is a great tool, but it needs the support of traditional marketing techniques to close deals. Inbound works best as a part of a well-rounded marketing strategy that also might include outbound techniques like banner ads and Pay-Per-Click advertising. Marketing is ever-evolving, and the only true key is creating the strategy that best fits your business.