If you’re looking to change up your marketing routine, you may want to consider inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing differs from the more traditional outbound marketing in that it’s designed to bring customers to you, instead of the other way around. Inbound marketing is marketing designed for the digital age, and it aims to attract customers to you through online content like blogs and social media and through search engines.
Inbound marketers use content that creates value for customers, builds relationships and eventually leads to sales and happy customers who will promote you online.
Inbound marketing may not be right for every business, or it may not be the right time for your business to launch an inbound marketing campaign. Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering using inbound marketing for your business.
Are My Potential Customers Online?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether or not your customers are online. If they are and you’re not, you’re missing out on a huge potential customer base.
Try to find out if people search for information about the types of products or services your businesses offer online and if there are blogs or articles dedicated to your industry. Maybe you can find some examples of people asking about products like yours in comment sections, forums or social media. These are sure signs that there are potential customers for you online.
If you do determine that the web is the right place to connect with your customers, then get out there! Create social media accounts and/or a blog, update your website and initiate other inbound marketing techniques.
However, if you find that your customers don’t usually use the internet to find out about what your business and similar companies do, it might not be the right time to launch an inbound marketing campaign. If this is the case, you should go look elsewhere for your customers, but check back after a little while, because technology and the way people use it is constantly evolving.
Are My Customers Asking Lots of Questions?
People like to be informed before they make a purchase. 70 percent of consumers report that they have a deep understanding of a service or product before they ever ask to speak with a sales representative. Another potential way to predict whether or not inbound marketing is right for your company is to ask yourself whether customers typically ask lots of questions before they make a purchase. If they do, the internet may be a good place to answer some of those questions.
When you utilize blogs and similar types of content, customers can find out the answers to their questions on their own time. They’re also more likely to make a purchase from the company that provided them with the answers to their questions than from someone else.
In addition to answering questions preemptively, inbound marketing allows you to communicate with customers and answer their questions directly and in real-time. You can respond to questions asked on social media or elsewhere online, and you may even get asked a question directly.
However, if shopping for your products is usually a quick, one-step process and what your business offers is pretty self-explanatory, you may be able to do without much inbound marketing. You might do better with quick outbound messages, rather than trying to populate a blog with useful content.
Are My Competitors Outranking Me Online?
In addition to finding out if your customers are online, you should find out if your competitors are online and if their digital marketing strategies are serving them well.
If your competitors are appearing ahead of you in search engines, you’re probably losing out, which means it’s time to ramp up your inbound marketing efforts in order to improve your search engine ranking. This way, when customers search for your products or services, yours is the first name they see.
You may also be able to learn about what works well for your industry by watching what your competitors are doing well. The type of content that performs the best for them, and how they interact on social media, may provide you with some good ideas for your own inbound marketing strategies.
If you’re already ahead of your competitors online, that means you’re probably already doing well enough and don’t need to change much in the way of inbound marketing. Just keep doing what you’re doing! If your competitors aren’t online, or don’t have much of a presence, you may not need one, either. If your customers are, and your competitors are not, though, get online quick!
Am I Getting Enough Leads?
If your outbound marketing strategies aren’t bringing in as many leads as you’d like, they may not be reaching the right people or communicating your message the right way. This probably means it’s time to try out inbound marketing.
Creating quality content for an inbound marketing campaign boosts your search engine rankings, increasing the amount of people who find out about your business. These people could become customers one day if they like your content and stay engaged with your business.
If you’ve already got more leads that you know what to do with, perhaps your outbound marketing is working well and you don’t need inbound.
Are Potential Customers Staying Engaged With My Business?
Maybe getting leads isn’t a problem for you, but keeping these leads engaged long enough for them to become customers is. If this sounds like you, inbound marketing may be able to help.
Outbound marketing tends to focus more on direct-response and closing sales, as opposed to nurturing leads, like inbound marketing does.
80 percent of sales require five follow-ups to complete. It can be difficult to keep up this level of engagement with outbound marketing, especially in today’s world where people are inundated with tons of outbound marketing messages every day.
Inbound marketing can sometimes break though this noise, because it’s designed to appeal to potential customers. They seek it out, as opposed to trying to avoid it. For certain industries, this works very well.
For others, though, outbound marketing may be a better strategy. If direct-response strategies work well for your industry, there may not be a need to use inbound marketing strategies.
Inbound marketing is new compared to outbound marketing and works well in digital environments. If your customers aren’t looking for you online, though, you may not want to go looking for them there either.
For some industries, inbound marketing might work better than outbound. For others, outbound is the more effective method. Oftentimes, it may be a matter of finding the right combination of the two. Whether or not inbound marketing is the right strategy to use varies from business to business and depends on a number of factors, including your customers, your industry, your product and your competitors.