Matt Bullas, leading search expert and founder and CEO of Click Consult, an award-winning digital agency with a focus on search marketing, has predicted that inbound marketing will revolutionise digital marketing in 2014 and beyond.
Inbound marketing involves helping potential clients find a brand by using various forms of pull marketing, such as blogs, guides, white papers, ebooks, webinars, podcasts, events, SEO and social media.
It focuses on the creation of valuable, relevant and original content, optimising it and distributing it across a variety of online media channels. The aim of this process is to attract audiences, increase brand awareness, convert leads and increase ROI.
Here at Click, we have been using inbound marketing techniques for a while now. We implement intricate email marketing campaigns on behalf of the agency using the marketing automation software platform, Act-On. We also run successful social media campaigns and create and distribute quality content to promote our services. We have seen such excellent results that we are rolling these tactics out as a dedicated client service.
So, why should you join the inbound marketing revolution?
1. Black Hat is so 2010
Inbound marketing has been taking shape since around 2006 but, thanks to major updates to Google’s search results ranking algorithm, the method has really come into its own.
Google Panda, first released in 2011, was designed to promote high quality content by demoting poor quality content in its search rankings. Similarly, Google Hummingbird, first released in 2013, was designed to pay more attention to every word in a search query and better understand ‘conversational’ speech. ‘Black hat’ SEO techniques which were once common practice, such as link farming, paid links, keyword stuffing, cloaking and duplicating content, are now simply ineffective.
Inbound marketing is the great ‘white hat’ hope of digital marketing and trends show that it is returning results. According to Hubspot, 41% of marketers increased their inbound budgets in 2013 as a result of successful inbound strategy. Hubspot findings also reveal that 54% more leads are generated through inbound marketing than traditional outbound marketing.
2. Traditional B2B email marketing is dead
The days of buying email lists and crossing your fingers in the hope that the leads will come flying in have passed. Buy a wreath, take a moment to grieve, and move on.
Today’s email marketing game is much more sophisticated and much more user-centred. A high traffic website is useless to you if you’re not generating the right kind of traffic. To maximise your chances of attracting relevant visitors, it is important to develop three or four personas (fictional representations of your ideal prospects and customers) and tailor your email marketing campaigns to answer their questions and meet their needs.
Once you have generated the kind of traffic you want, inbound marketing techniques, such as the creation of effective online forms, landing pages and calls-to-action, will help you to convert visitors to leads. Once leads have been identified, you can get to work on scoring their sales-readiness using marketing automation software and nurturing them with a series of relevant content through email and social media marketing. The ultimate aim is to build trust and help leads to become more sales-ready.
3. Being useful pays off
In his New York Times bestselling book, Youtility, marketing consultant Jay Baer advises companies to ‘stop trying to be amazing and start being useful’. Building enduring connections is the name of the inbound game. To do this, you simply must offer your audience something of true value.
No one wants their Facebook feed to be constantly interrupted with pieces of advertising posing as ‘matey’ statuses. Relationships are built on trust and the satisfaction of mutual needs. Earn trust and create positive associations around your brand in the minds of your audience by providing original, vibrant and genuinely valuable information and advice through the creation and distribution of quality guides, blogs and ebooks.
According to Baer, companies that adopt such strategies are ‘followed, subscribed to, bookmarked, and kept on the home screen of mobile devices.’
‘2014 and beyond’
According to the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, almost 60% of marketers have adopted inbound marketing strategies and over 80% of those practising inbound marketing have integrated it into broader company goals.
And 2014 looks set to be the year that inbound marketing really takes off.
Matt Bullas, CEO of Click Consult says: ‘B2B email marketing is dead. Inbound marketing has been gaining momentum and is set to revolutionise the digital industry in 2014 and beyond.’
‘Here at Click, we have seen exceptional results using inbound marketing techniques and the latest technologies. We are delighted to be able to share our knowledge and expertise with clients by way of a dedicated inbound marketing service for businesses looking for a real return on digital marketing investment.’
Viva la revolucion!
Karen Campbell (@KarenC_ampbell) is an award-winning writer and proud Wexfordian who lives, breathes and sleeps digital marketing as a Marketing Copywriter for Click Consult in the North West of England.