“What is Inbound Marketing” is a great question. There is a great answer to this question by HubSpot, but the simple answer is “marketing techniques that enable customers to find your product or service on the web”. Consider that your product appeals to some small percentage of the population in the United States but in aggregate it is a large market. If you had the ability to light a dot in the map of the USA for every person who needed your product right now, it may look like the picture here provided by NASA.
You know they are there but you do not know how to get in touch with them. Now consider that the majority of your customers learn about new products by searching the web with a search engine like Google. If you could optimize how these points of light (your prospects) find you then you would have solved your problem, that is the benefit of inbound marketing.
What is wrong with traditional Marketing?
When you think of traditional marketing approach, it is all about generating awareness about your product or service by push techniques. Find an editor to publish an article about your product to drive awareness or spend millions of dollars on a super bowl advertisement. Traditional marketing is very expensive and has become largely ineffective.
The publishing industry has undergone tremendous change. You could see it coming as trade magazines became paper thin. A friend in the business described the change in size of trade pubs like this. As advertising revenue increases, it gives a magazine more space to publish and therefore more content for technical articles or points of interest in any particular issue. As the converse happens the magazine gets thinner until it no longer is economical to publish. This has happened to many trade and popular magazines.
So where did all of the advertising investment go? Well, a significant amount of it went to Google. (estimates are in the US print advertisement came in at $34B and Google brought in $38B) As Google search became the def-acto standard search tool, the advertising revenue through Google Adwords followed. Depending on which industry you are in, Adwords can be the fastest way to get visibility for your product. The problem with Adwords is, just like any other advertising medium, there is no inherent trust built with the user. On the contrary, organic search carries a lot of weight with customers because it aggregates influence and brings to the top of the search the most important and relevant results. Users inherently trust Search more than Adwords or other advertisements. As an example, a company that I recently spoke with decided to hire a marketing company to execute an adwords campaign for a new product venture. The contracted with the company and paid $10,000 for the program. Based on the amount of money they spent, they got impressions but did not generate many leads at all. The last time I checked they received approximately 10 leads through the campaign. It was clearly a waste of money.
The key point is that it is far more effective to find the right customers for your product or service if you rank on the first page of Google or other search engines. The most difficult part of this process is 1) finding the right keywords that your customer would type in order to find the solution your product provides and 2) executing campaigns to effectively improve your company rank on these keyword phrases.
There are many free tools to help you with the analytics that provide you with visibility into this process. Google provides many of them for free but the tools you will need are in different products from Google and they take expertise to organize the results.
Over the past five years I have used the HubSpot platform to help me with this. I found them when they ware a small start-up and I was inspired by the writing of Darmesh Shah, one of their founders and Mike Volpe their VP of Marketing. The tool enabled me to self manage the web presence for my company, see all of the analytics I needed while providing advice for getting onto page 1 of Google search. It was a tremendous success.
If you would like assistance with your Inbound Marketing programs, I would be happy to help you get started. Just complete for contact form on the about page of this site.