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What is Inbound Marketing?

2010 May 27

Why does Inbound Marketing matter to you and your Local Business?

Welcome to the Brilliant Ideas About Internet and Money Frequently Asked Questions Series, Part 3: What is Inbound Marketing?

Marketing Local Business Online Is Inbound Marketing

Previously, we discussed What Is Internet Marketing? itself:

“… a Marketing Relationship is a specific conversation between Business and a market.  Therefore, Internet and Online Marketing are relationships between Business and customers and prospects that take place in the New Media of today, and New Media of the future.”

How have new customers found you in recent months?

Today, people find out about your Local Business in two main ways:

  • Passing Word-of-Mouth recommendations, or
  • Finding you on a search engine results page

Word-of-Mouth depends on the good will of existing customers.  How would you like people publishing Word-of-Mouth recommendations online?  Why not spend zero dollars marketing your Local Business?

What is Outbound Marketing?

In traditional outbound marketing companies focus on finding customers through:

  • Building brand awareness,
  • Advertising, and
  • Promotion

Outbound Marketing includes:

  • Focus on your product / service (advertising & promotions),
  • Focus on your transaction (sales),
  • Focus on your business (public & media relations),
  • Focus on your post-sales support (customer service), and
  • Focus on your customer after-the-fact (customer satisfaction)

Everyday, a typical consumer is overwhelmed with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions!

They have become quite creative in blocking these interruptions, including:

  • Caller id,
  • Spam filtering,
  • Tivo, and
  • Satellite radio

Customers need to find a very good reason to visit your Local Business.

Marketing Local Business online is quite a challenge!

What is Permission Marketing?

Alternatives to intrusive and increasingly ineffective outbound marketing are based on what Seth Godin calls Permission Marketing:

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them …”

“It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”

For the business to engage the prospect, the prospective customer must grant either:

  • Explicit Permission (e.g., request email or catalog), or
  • Implicit Permission (e.g., follow a search engine result link)

Furthermore, Godin says:

“In order to get permission, you make a promise. You say, ‘I will do x, y and z, I hope you will give me permission by listening.’ And then, this is the hard part, that’s all you do. You don’t assume you can do more.”

What is Inbound Marketing?

Google reports more than 1 Billion searches each month for local products and local services.

Fully qualified prospects are already looking for products and services in your industry.  Inbound Marketing is when customers call you to:

  • Make appointments,
  • Purchase products, or
  • Gain information

When customers find you and like you, you can get business from them, from their friends and from their family.

“Home delivery is the milkman’s revenge… it’s the essence of permission,”

Godin says.

Online Marketing is starting to make more sense …

What comprises Inbound Marketing?

Rick Burnes
suggested an intertwined relationship between three main components of Inbound Marketing:

Hubspot: Inbound Marketing

  1. Inbound Marketing Content

    • Content is the substance of Inbound Marketing.
    • Content is the information that attracts prospects to your Local Business.
    • Content includes the Call To Action that converts prospects into customers.
  2. Inbound Marketing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    • If people don’t know you exist, how are you going to do business?
    • SEO makes it possible for potential customers to find your content.
  3. Marketing Local Business online must include both Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and SEO if you want your Local Business found.

  4. Inbound Marketing Social Media

    • Social Media amplifies the impact of your content.
    • Widely distributed content will be discussed.
    • Socialized content taken seriously becomes authentic.
    • There is more trust when a person has a choice.

Social Media have two sides:

  • What you say about your business
  • What others say about your business

Why Inbound Marketing?

  1. Inbound Marketing has high Value

    • Cost less than buying ads, PPC, mailing lists, print, etc.
    • Blogs and Twitter accounts are free to start
    • Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
  2. Inbound Marketing is Effective

    • Targeting specific markets is easier
    • Prospects qualify themselves
    • Pre-sold customers search, find you and ask to buy
  3. Inbound Marketing has great Timing

    • Prospects search for you
    • Searching prospects are considering a purchase now
    • Prospects considering a purchase are more receptive to your message

Godin remarks,

“One of the key drivers of permission marketing, in addition to the scarcity of attention, is the extraordinarily low cost of dripping to people who want to hear from you.”

What are Prerequisites to Inbound Marketing?

You need to do your homework and fully understand those looking to buy what your Local Business offers.

Your Market analysis includes:

  • What groups of customers exist? (markets)
  • Which customer groups do you prefer to serve? (target markets)
  • What do they need?
  • How do their needs change? (market trends)
  • How do they use these products and services?
  • What price are they willing to pay?
  • How do they want to receive what they buy? (distribution)
  • What do you offer that meets those needs?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your competitors doing about your target market?

Exactly how are your customers searching for what you offer?  It’s not enough to know how you describe your offering.  What matters most are the exact words prospects use to search for it.

Simply make it easy for potential customers to find your Local Business.

“The Internet means you can treat different people differently, and it demands that you figure out how to let your permission base choose what they hear and in what format,”

instructs Godin.

How is Inbound Marketing Done?

Setup your web site to attract visitors naturally through:

  • Search Engines,
  • the Blogosphere, and
  • Social Media sites

Don’t forget your Call To Action to convert visitors once they arrive on your web page!

The Inbound Marketing process is straightforward:

  • You provide content of interest to people wanting to learn or know something.
  • You share similar content from other people who do the same.
  • Interested readers come to see you as an authority in your field.
  • When somebody considers a purchase related to your expertise, they will come to you.

Inbound Marketing is like Word-of-Mouth with people passing recommendations online.

Seth Godin sums it up like this:

“Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.”

Marketing Local Business Online Is Inbound Marketing

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