In many ways, the rise of inbound marketing has been revolutionary. It focuses on 'pull' rather than 'push' techniques, looking to draw audiences in with relevance rather than pushing out promotional messages in what had been the status quo in marketing for decades.
That revolutionary approach to marketing, of course, leads businesses of all sizes to believe that the barriers of entry in inbound marketing are massive. A switch requires a complete change in philosophy, sometimes making it seem like an impossibility to implement.
Of course, that conclusion is far from true. Inbound marketing may require a shift in philosophy, but in many ways, it also leverages the promotional tactics you're already using in new and innovative ways. Rather than changing your entire business strategy, it makes sense to view the concept as a connector of existing practices.
The Tactics of Inbound Marketing
Regardless of the resources you consult, the tactics required to succeed in inbound marketing tend to be the same:
- Social media.
- Content marketing, such as blogging.
- Web design that embraces SEO.
- Email marketing.
Now, compare these tactics with the most popular digital marketing tactics today, compiled from companies that use inbound and outbound methods:
1. Email marketing (used by 86% of marketers)
2. Social media marketing (72%)
3. Search engine optimization (70%)
4. Content marketing (64%)
After these four, a sharp drop-off occurs before the next most-common digital marketing tactic, display advertising, which is used by 53% of marketers. The overlap, of course, is obvious: inbound marketing takes advantage of the exact same tactics that most marketers use in promoting their brand today.
Shifting Goals Without Shifting Tactics
The above similarities leads us to our first takeaway: a shift to inbound marketing does not require a shift in tactics. It does, however, necessitate a shift in approach and marketing goals.
In many cases, even the execution of your tactics won't change. Success in social media has long meant staying away from promotional messages and veering toward high-quality, engaging content. Search engine optimization is built on successful keyword research as well as technical optimization whether you connect it to inbound marketing or not. Email marketing depends on great subject lines, personalization, and content to boost your delivery, open, and click-through rates.
The only thing that changes, then, is the goal: conversion optimization. In inbound marketing, you're looking to drive your target audience toward becoming leads. Once they take that step, your goal shifts to nurturing these leads to the point of being sales-ready.
Put differently: the overarching goal changes, which will impact the type of content you post on social media or your businesses blog along with the keywords you target and the emails you design. That shift, however, is far more granular than the drastic change so many businesses fear comes with a switch to inbound marketing.
How to Treat Inbound Marketing as a Connector
A wide range of studies and statistics show the effectiveness of inbound marketing. But for countless businesses, these statistics only matter if success can be achieved without a drastic shift in philosophy, strategy, and execution.
Fortunately, despite its reputation as an entirely new approach to the age-old practice of marketing, does not necessarily require that major shift. If you already engage in social media and email marketing, or have a website focused on SEO, it's easy to get started.
The key is not to start from scratch, but to treat inbound principles as a connector. Executed correctly, it is the thread that can hold your individual tactics together, and maximize their effectiveness. Using that approach, you can switch to the inbound philosophy without having to change everything you're currently doing to promote your business.
To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310!