Wikipedia defines “inbound marketing” as:
“… marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.”
HubSpot, our technology partner, has pioneered the inbound marketing space with technology to simplify the content creation, syndication, and analysis through an all-in-one platform for optimizing your content strategy. There are several other companies, Marketo, InfusionSoft, Paradot, that do similar things. (We picked HubSpot because they’ve been doing it the longest.)
We’re fans of this technology because it takes a serious amount of time, skill, and energy to create, syndicate, and analyze content for each client. Now that we use an inbound platform, we’re able to focus more attention on the content creation and leverage the software for the syndication and analysis.
From the definition, “interesting content” is what inbound uses to draw in customers to your website. With two thirds of the U.S. and Canadian populations using smartphones, more and more people are making purchase decisions with the help of mobile searches on their phones.
Have you ever been in a Best Buy and after asking the sales rep about the different laptops on display, took a moment to check out what they’ve told you on your phone before plunking down 1500 bucks? It happens all the time, with everything from popcorn to airplanes.
So when someone does that search, you want to have content that will help them make that decision, and steer them to your products.
That, in essence, is the core of inbound marketing. Providing content to people right when they are searching to find a solution to their problem. You don’t waste time advertising to everyone (think Super Bowl ads). You focus on your audience, using technology to micro target your exact demographic, right when they need it.
Now the details are a bit more complicated. Do-it-yourself inbound is completely possible and companies do it all the time. You can pull together a social media enabled website with blogging capabilities, produce content in-house, setup calls-to-action, connect Google Analytics and other tracking software, setup social media channels for your brand, and consistently create, share, and analyze your content. It’s a full time effort.
You can train your marketing department to do inbound as well. You can also hire an agency that specializes in inbound marketing. Or you can find a hybrid somewhere in the middle. Whatever works best for your budget, your team, and your company goals.