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March 31, 2016
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard of inbound marketing or you're at least familiar with the term. But what many marketers don't know is why it works. Here we aren't focusing on what inbound marketing is (because you can find that information all over the web) but instead on how it has allowed so many companies to become successful marketers.
To understand why inbound works, we need to first take a look at what caused the shift from outbound marketing to this new era of inbound. Outbound marketing tactics primarily take place offline and include purchasing newspaper ads or radio space, exhibiting at a trade show booth, or sending out a flyer in the mail. While these strategies have been effective in the past, this style of interruption marketing has become less convenient with the growth of the internet. Comparing products, reading reviews, and connecting with key stakeholders became easier by leveraging the internet which sparked the transition from offline marketing. Prospects began doing their own research and sales and marketing needed to migrate online in order to keep up.
Inbound marketing works because the notion behind it is simple-- provide people with what they need. In turn, this will help prospects come to you and become leads. Your prospects have an unfulfilled need or are experiencing a challenge and inbound marketing closes that gap by providing educational content for that person's or business' challenge.
Inbound marketing allows marketers to build better relationships with their prospects. By providing useful information without self-promoting, prospects are more willing to trust you and engage with your company by following you. If they see you as a trusted source of content, they are more likely to recommend you, purchase from you and in some cases, pay more for a product or service.
Gone are the days of cold calling while using an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound relies on 'pull marketing' where prospects are drawn to the business by content they're looking for, rather than push marketing, where potentially irrelevant content is in your face, regardless of whether you're not in you're in the market for that product or service.
Inbound principles recommend offering premium content to your prospects free of charge. These are digital resources with useful information packaged into eBooks, comparison guides, or white papers for example. People love free stuff whether it's offline or online which is what makes inbound so successful: give people the information they want, for free.
Building a community of followers and evangelists has become infinitely easier with the help of the internet and more importantly, social media. As more and more people follow, subscribe and comment on your content, more people see your content. This makes your marketing strategy extremely scalable as publishing a blog for 100 readers will not cost any more or take extra time to publish a blog for 100,000 readers. Building a base of fans also encourages repeat business as you can use specific types of content for customers.
A great example of why inbound marketing is so successful is Hubspot. This company startedfrom a simple idea and grew to over $100 million in revenue, using inbound marketing. Sparked from the frustration with receiving cold calls, Hubspot was created to align with this new way consumers are digesting information and has helped over 15,000 businesses launch successful inbound marketing strategies.
If that hasn't convinced you of inbound's success, check out this video.
About the author
Andrea Moxham formerly was an Associate Consultant at SmartBug Media. She takes an eager and proactive approach to digital and inbound marketing methods, to help clients grow their businesses. Read more articles by Andrea Moxham.