To the majority, advertising is generally one-sided, with brands pushing their messages to consumers through ads that entice them to purchase their products. However, another approach does exist, one that brands have been using for years even if it’s less blatant. It’s a non-interruptive approach that actually pulls consumers in to hear a brand’s message, rather than pushing the message to them. One of the oldest examples I came across recently was General Mills’ use of cookbooks and recipe cards to get people to only use their products, a technique they’ve been deploying since the 1800s. Grocery stores would generally mail these books and cards to people or have them available for customers to pick up while shopping at their stores. The simplicity of it was brilliant, effectively allowing the company to reach potential customers in a non-traditional way.
With the proliferation of digital marketing, this technique has even transcended into the online world as well. By providing useful content that addresses consumers’ problems and offers helpful advice about products and services to solve these problems, brands can position themselves in front of audiences without having to buy a digital ad. Furthermore, this allows brands to shorten the user journey even further by pulling consumers to a website or other digital asset where they can convert them into a lead almost immediately.
This process is known as inbound marketing, relying on a pull marketing strategy to lead customers into the sales funnel in a non-interruptive way. In fact, the approach is proven to be twice as effective as conventional advertising methods that interrupt customers’ journeys to serve them with a branded message. The practice is built on a clever integration of previously siloed online marketing tactics, including SEO, social media, and email marketing among other. It also includes lead generation marketing and relies on CRM solutions and strategies that converts leads and first-time buyers into returning customers and brand advocates.
The success of inbound marketing depends on the strength of the individual building blocks, the above-mentioned tactics, as well as how well all these components are integrated into a seamless online marketing engine. The practice has the potential to change the way we conduct online marketing completely, as it offers brands a higher level of engagement and ROI than traditional marketing approaches.
To learn more about inbound marketing, take a look at our latest white paper on the practice, which provides an overview of its key benefits and how you can apply its core principles to your online marketing plan for 2017. If you’re interested in learning even more, feel free to contact us and we can discuss how to best implement the practice for your business.