What is Inbound Marketing?
By now, most people who have anything to do with marketing their businesses have heard of Inbound Marketing (or at least social media). For those who are unfamiliar with the term, I will answer the following question, ‘What is Inbound Marketing and how does it differ from traditional or Outbound Marketing?’
When I first heard the term, Inbound Marketing, and began to read and research everything I could about it, I heard many amusing and educational stories. The first story was the graphic means used by Hubspot, the company that became synonymous with the term, to illustrate the difference between the newer ‘Inbound’ versus the traditional ‘Outbound’ marketing.
HUBSPOT: The Home of Inbound Marketing
The folks at Hubspot are very creative. The company, formed by two students who met at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, coined the term, Inbound Marketing. They, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, then formed the company Hubspot. They hired some very talented and energetic people. They must have given them free-range to express their ideas because some of them are quite amazing. At time, they come out with very creative and amusing promotional materials.
Anyway, in the early days, as they like to say, the graphic explanation for the difference between, the traditional, intrusion or Outbound and the newer, attraction or Inbound Marketing was like the difference between getting customers/clients by hammering them over the head to convince them they needed what you were selling or attracting them like metal to a magnet to find exactly what they were seeking to purchase which was exactly what you were promoting to sell, a marriage made in Inbound Marketing heaven.
The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step One
The whole idea was and still is to create a marketing machine or wheel. Why reinvent it, right? A website is its HUB and the various types of social media, a blog, videos and other technology are the spokes. When spinning properly, the machine attracts leads and then, like a funnel or a vacuum cleaner, attracts or sucks them down to the next level.
This is how it works. First, visitors are lured in by something of value for ALMOST nothing. The only ‘something’ required is their name and e-mail address. Aha, once a company has this information, the prospective client is theirs, unless this lead unsubscribe from future e-mail contact. But if a company provides products and services of continued value by speaking to the needs or ‘pain’ of a consumer, the prospective client is likely to stick around and at some point make a purchase.
The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step Two
The second step, after value has been proven without a charge, is to attract and syphon the prospect down through the leads funnel to the products or services that are fee based. If the value is irresistible, then there is the likelihood that the prospect will become a loyal customer, and possibly an affiliate or even a partner. But we will leave that topic for another blog post.
It’s as simple as that. It’s how to get customer without really trying. Do you believe it? Then as the saying goes, ‘I have a bridge to sell you’. Don’t misunderstand me, I think the mechanism is brilliant and I believe in Inbound Marketing totally, at least in theory. But in the two to three years that I have known of the term, I personally am still working on getting all the pieces together, to first build my wheel so that my Inbound Marketing machine will turn ‘effortlessly’.
The Inbound Marketing Machine: Step Three
Do I discourage others from believing in this system and building their wheel? Absolutely not! I am a true believer. It is just that it takes time and resources to build this wheel. It included, the hub, or website (which is never quite right), the spokes or a solid, reputable social media presence on facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, one must have a frequently posted blog, continually uploaded videos, a regular eNewsletter, and whatever else I may have forgotten to mention from the ‘must have’ list.
But once it is all in place, the Inbound Marketing machine can work like a fine timepiece. At least that is what I have been told repeatedly and have been aiming towards. But I am still in the process. I have all the parts and will let you know when my machine is all together and functioning seamlessly. Perhaps, I won’t have to let you know. You will just be attracted to it.
Does The Inbound Marketing Machine Work?
In the meantime, those of you who have gotten your Inbound Marketing machine working like a charm will have to let my readers and me know if I am headed in the right direction. Your encouragement and comments are requested.
Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Storyteller and photojournalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. She has been a marketing pro and entrepreneur for over three decades. Her company specializes in local/small and start up businesses with a boutique (very personal style) approach to client service.
The MARKETING BYTES ProTeam consists of experienced marketing, design, technology and writing professionals offering the latest online Inbound Marketing technology, social media, graphic and web design, illustration, photo and video, content management as well as the best of traditional advertising. Her client base has covered just about every commercial industry.
Although located on Long Island, NY, MARKETING BYTES serves clients everywhere there is Internet access. To learn more, visit our site, Marketing Bytes, our local biz facebook page, Marketing Main Street USA, and join our local biz facebook group, Local Biz Is The Solution.
- Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
- Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
- Lead Funnel
- MIT Sloan School of Management