Historically, inbound marketing has been seen as a nice add-on to PPC digital marketing. But in 2017, it’s no longer something that’s “nice to have” but an essential.
Inbound marketing is essentially the art of getting your customers to voluntarily come to you, rather than you going out to get your customers. It’s the difference between paying Google for search ads and making content that people love, causing them to flock to your business.
If you’re new to the concept of inbound marketing, it can seem a little counterintuitive. We’re so used to the idea that we have to go out and grab our customers by the scruff of the neck that doing something passive, like inbound marketing, seems a little daunting. The truth, though, is that it works and that it’s needed more than ever.
Ad blockers have been causing digital marketers problems for some time now. Consumers would rather get to the content they want rather than sitting through the advertising that pays for it. And so they’re installing all manner of ad blockers in ever-increasing numbers. What’s more, the ad-blockers themselves are getting more sophisticated, thanks to anti-market university researchers who are sympathetic to the needs of online consumers. Now AI algorithms are being developed to detect and eliminate even subtle forms of advertising using a combination of language and image processing.
Inbound marketing gets around this problem by creating content that people find useful that looks “native” to the site it’s on. In other words, it doesn’t just appear in a banner. Rather, it shows up in the form of a blog post or an infographic – things which ad-blockers don’t block (at least not yet).
Inbound Is Cheaper
Ask any inbound marketing agency, and they’ll tell you that a major reason companies choose inbound marketing is that it’s cheaper. To make any real inroads through regular marketing channels, many businesses have to spend a significant amount of money on a daily basis. Adwords isn’t cheap. Worse still, PPC marketing is one-shot, meaning that once you’ve spent the money to get the click, there are no additional benefits. Rather than investing in the future, PPC advertising is all about the here and now.
Inbound marketing is different. Yes, it can take some time before users respond in the kind of numbers you would like, but once the content is out there, it continues to market your product forever. Inbound marketing, therefore, is more of an investment than regular marketing – a kind of branding that sticks around over the long term and continues to add value.
Inbound Marketing Adds Value
Speaking of adding value, this is precisely what inbound marketing does. The whole point of “inbound” is to make your company’s content blend into the rest of the content on the website. The purpose is to instill in the user’s mind the idea that they should use your product, but without being too direct. Things like how-to articles and helpful tips work really well in steering people towards your business.