If you’re a business owner, you may have heard about Inbound Marketing but not know much about it.
The first thing to say is you’re not alone! Most business leaders around the world know very little (if anything) about inbound marketing largely because so few companies do it (and even fewer do it well or exclusively) and because outbound marketing is much more prevalent and talked about.
As a reminder, in essence outbound marketing is all the activities your company does to promote itself externally to its intended audience. This includes activities such as advertising, email campaigns, social media promotion, networking, leaflets and flyers, and much more.
At Absolutely Write, we’re often asked to explain the benefits of Inbound Marketing to business owners who are not seeing the results they want from their outbound activities. Sadly they’ve commonly invested significant time and money into online adverts, sponsorships, events, social media promotion, search engine optimisation (SEO), and much more only to find that none of it led to more clients and new sales.
So we’re going to explain clearly what the benefits of Inbound Marketing are and then you can decide for yourself whether this is something you want to implement in your business.
About Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing as the name implies is all about attracting – or ‘pulling’ – people to your website or business, as opposed to ‘pushing’ out a message via outbound marketing activities.
At its heart, an Inbound Marketing strategy focuses on regularly uploading great content – ideally as separate blog posts – onto your website that acts like a magnet drawing your intended audience to you (this is why Inbound Marketing is sometimes called ‘Magnetic Marketing’).
But there are three important rules about the content you use to pull buyers to your site!
For an Inbound Marketing strategy to really work, the content you upload onto your site must be written impartially and not be just about promoting your business! This above all else is where most businesses go wrong – they think their blog posts should be all about them, much more than about the potential customer.
The content uploaded must offer real value to the reader. Just telling readers how great you are or crowing about your achievements is NOT offering value to readers, and is usually very dull and completely ignored by most website users.
The content must be well written and clear – no jargon, technical terms (that only other people in the industry really understand), or fancy language. Remember that you and others in your business are specialists and experts at what you do, which whilst great means you don’t see what you offer, do, or produce in the same way as a layman or someone else who has less knowledge about it than you.
Now that’s clear, let’s talk about the top 10 benefits of Inbound Marketing.
The Top 10 Benefits of Inbound Marketing
1. Creating regular content for your website – as mentioned above, ideally posted on your site as separate blog posts – means you are increasing the volume of content that search engines like Google index and surface about your business. It’s obvious really – the more content and pages your site has, the more there is for search engines to find.
2. As you are posting content regularly, search engines rank your site higher than sites that are static and rarely update their content.
3. As the content you are uploading is useful to the reader, it gains further credibility with Google and other search engines, further boosting the ranking of your site and meaning your content is promoted highly to internet users.
4. Useful content, written impartially and well, drives significant traffic to your site, particularly when you adopt the stance of being an educator rather than a promoter of your particular product or service. If you do it regularly, the traffic to your site will increase month on month without any outbound marketing needed.
5. Creating more and more useful content on your website also addresses the issue of businesses typically underestimating the amount of information prospects need before making a buying decision. Businesses typically hugely UNDERESTIMATE the amount of information potential customers want before making a purchasing decision and OVERESTIMATE the level of knowledge these same potential buyers have.
6. The new content that you upload to your site is also ‘evergreen’ (sometimes called ‘long tail’ content), meaning it will continue to generate traffic to your site long into the future. As long as it remains on your site, it will be surfaced by search engines and clicked on by internet users who are looking for answers to their questions. This is in comparison to outbound marketing which generally only works (when it does) when you are actively undertaking an activity e.g. online advertising, social media promotion, etc. In most cases, as soon as you stop doing these outbound activities, their benefits end.
7. Internet users who visit your site after seeing a snippet of your useful content on a search engine results page are more engaged than ‘casual’ site visitors and have already indicated some intention to buy, as demonstrated by them searching for information in the first place. This helps remove ‘bad fits’ from the equation – visitors who have no intention to buy or who are not serious about proceeding, thus reducing the amount of wasted time a business spends on prospects who won’t convert to customers.
8. By providing useful information impartially, you demonstrate that you are more focused on being of service to your potential customers than pushing marketing messages at them. Unlike your competitors, you are not claiming to be the best in the business, the industry leader, or any other superlative that customers just see as noise, but rather (disarmingly) letting potential customers form their own opinions about you.
9. You build up a sense of authority and trust in the reader’s mind; key components in any buying process. They can see that you’re not selling to them but rather giving them information impartially for them to make their own informed decisions.
10. When done right and consistently, your sales conversion ratio increases significantly. By reading more articles, prospects are not only becoming more informed to make a buying decision, but they are also increasing their trust in your business, which leads to significantly more sales, all without any outbound marketing.
At Absolutely Write we focus on inbound marketing and ensuring business owners know how to powerfully resonate with their prospects and stand out against their competition without having to spend any money on outbound marketing or search engine optimisation (SEO).
We do this because we believe – based on evidence and experience – that this is far more effective than any other approach to marketing.
This makes us unpopular with many marketing agencies who typically focus exclusively on outbound activities. But we don’t mind this and see ourselves as resisting what’s popular and common in favour of an approach that is far less used and known about but delivers genuinely sustainable and meaningful results.
And to paraphrase a line from a famous film, if you’re reading this, maybe you’re part of the resistance too.