By now you're probably accustomed to tuning out all those TV commercials.
And radio advertisements? Where's the music? Next station!
Mailers? Billboards? Flyers?
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
As consumers, we've been so bombarded with ads that we've actually become experts at ignoring them.
Besides, it's 2017 and we're all part-time researchers anyway. We like to do our own investigations before making purchases: searching online, checking out reviews and deciding for ourselves who's going to get our business.
Customers have the power
We're not looking for products to sell to us. We're looking to see what best fits our personal needs.
And that's what inbound marketing is.
Rather than those old-school outbound marketing tactics where marketers would try to shove a product or a brand down people's throats in an attempt to buy their attention, "inbound marketing" (coined by HubSpot in 2000) does the complete opposite by earning trust, building a relationship and truly aiming to help customers first and foremost.
So what is inbound marketing exactly?
Inbound marketing is a marketing practice that aims to capture leads and customers via content creation, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. Unlike traditional marketing (commercials, cold calls, magazine ads, billboards, etc.), inbound marketing attracts customers by employing a single principle: Bring your customers to you by creating content specifically designed for them.
"People don't want to feel bought—there's something really icky about pushy salesmen or annoying ads."
Sure, inbound marketing sounds like it makes sense, right? Figure out who your ideal customer is and make content specific for his or her needs at every step of the buyer's journey, nurturing and building trust along the way.
If you think about it psychologically, this approach makes sense. People don't want to feel bought— there's something really icky about pushy salesmen or annoying ads. In fact, those tactics can come off as more desperate than anything else.
But marketing is a highly analytical industry. Sure, this sounds logical, but you need numbers and facts to be sure.
We've got that, too.
The Decline of Outbound Marketing
As people have become increasingly immune to outbound ads, some consumers have taken steps to avoid getting slammed by unwanted sales pitches:
- Over 200 million American's have registered for the national "Do Not Call Registry" to avoid those semi-harassing calls from telemarketers -Federal Trade Commission
- 86% of viewers skip through television commercials -Mashable
- 84% of 25-34 year olds have clicked out of a website due to an "irrelevant or intrusive ad" -Mashable
- 44% of direct mail is never opened -Mashable
- "Outbound marketing is considered the most overrated marketing tactic." -HubSpot State of Inbound, 2016
- 35% of individual contributors in a marketing agency view outbound marketing as the most overrated marketing tactic; 30% of managers, 33% of directors, 39% of vice presidents, and 32% of C-Level executives agree -HubSpot State of Inbound, 2016
So How Does Inbound Marketing Add Up?
- Inbound leads have a 14.6% close rate; outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate -Doyen Digital
- "Inbound organizations with Service Level Agreements are over 5 times as likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective compared to outbound organizations with misaligned marketing and sales teams." -HubSpot State of Inbound, 2016
- "73% of inbound marketers say the best leads originate from inbound practices, compared to just 18% of outbound marketers." -HubSpot State of Inbound, 2016
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less to acquire a customer than outbound marketing -Mashable
- 80% of business decision makers favor getting brand information via an article series more than ads -Impact
- 83% of online tech buyers found their vendor via Google search -Impact
- Mid-sized businesses save 31% on inbound marketing costs compared to paid search -Impact
- Customers spend 50% of their time online engaging with custom content -HubSpot
- The average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing -Impact
And the best part? Inbound Marketing doesn't go away.
Unlike magazine ads that might be buried in an issue and never seen again, the content you produce for your inbound efforts lives online forever—and it can be shared time and time again by customers who find your content useful or entertaining.
So does inbound marketing matter?
We'd say so.
We'd say it matters a lot.
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