Building a coherent inbound marketing strategy calls for establishing a presence in a variety of channels. On the online side of things, your company should be working to build a blog, set up social media accounts, perform search engine optimization and produce videos and podcasts. In the offline world, you should be active in hosting events, present seminars and participating in conferences. The goal of all these efforts is to put your expertise within your field on display or connect emotionally with customers, offering value to anyone who'll read or listen.
Inbound vs Outbound
Everything in an inbound marketing efforts points toward your organization. Someone may be searching on Google and find a result that leads to your blog. They read the blog article and are impressed by your level of expertise, and then they bookmark your site. The visitor may eventually contact you directly or recommend you to someone else who needs your services.
Outbound marketing is about taking your message to the potential customers. For example, buying a mailing list and then sending out fliers is outbound marketing. It's basically the way your local grocery store chain sells chipped ham for $1.99 each week.
Word of Mouth
Successful inbound marketing tends to generate significant word of mouth. The approach often uses humor and approachability to connect emotionally with audiences. The Wendy's restaurant chain's Twitter account, for example, isn't afraid to troll competitors and crack terrible dad jokes. At the other end of the scale, IBM's machine learning division maintains a blog that's super-serious while offering tons of hands-on education for anyone interested in using their products. The objective, whether you're shooting for laughs or looking to present as an authority, is to become a place people tell others they have to go to.
Identifying which channels will work best for your campaign can be a complicated task. Even if you have an abundant budget, finding a place to focus your energies and connect with an audience is a major investment. An inbound marketing agency can help you get a better sense of the landscape, especially in terms of what the emerging trends in the coming year will be.
The ultimate objective is to funnel visitors toward converting into customers. They see a photographer's pictures on Instagram and go to the blog. The blog points to a services page, and that finally leads to a contact form.