Content marketing is an effective means for driving traffic and generating leads. Content marketing as a foundation for an inbound marketing strategy is even better.
[Parts of this article were originally published in a different format in July 2016.]
The marketing world continues to churn out "Tactics of the Week" with a confusing variety of contradictory advice and opinions. Two terms that get tossed around quite a bit these days are "content marketing" and "inbound marketing." There seems to be little agreement on clearly defined methods, strategies, and measureable benefits from using content with inbound marketing.
But there are reliable and tested strategies for effective content marketing. And there are real benefits.
The reality is that using content marketing as a basis for an inbound marketing strategy can out-perform traditional outbound marketing tactics and for far less cost.
How Content Marketing Differs From Inbound Marketing
As with almost anything in marketing there are differing opinions on this. However, for the sake of clarity and simplicity, we will designate "content marketing" as the core component and driver for the larger approach of "inbound marketing".
In other words, we could say that content marketing is the practice of creating and publishing content for the purpose of attracting visitors to your website, store, etc. Inbound marketing shares pretty much the same objective, and uses content marketing practices to achieve that along with a variety of other tactics.
Wikipedia, as it turns out, offers a succinct take on this question, as well:
"Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization."
The bottom line is that without a comprehensive and effective content marketing strategy in place, your inbound efforts are not going to fare very well.
What Content Marketing Can Do for You
A comprehensive list of how inbound marketing can benefit your business would take a much longer post than this. But if we were to narrow them down to, say, the top five they would be these:
Influence Your Target Market Audience
Blogging, for example, will help you nurture existing relationships with prospects and customers. In addition, consistent posts with actionable value will provide thought leadership to your audience, and position you or your company as an expert in your field, or industry.
Decrease Your Marketing Costs
Content marketing can be far cheaper and more effective in comparison to outbound marketing. So what is the actual cost of inbound? Lead to lead, inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing (HubSpot).
Content publishing platforms such as blogs and social media channels are, for the most part, free or at least very inexpensive. When inbound marketing is done strategically and well, the money invested can give the highest return on with greater lead conversions and lower costs.
Provide Real Marketing ROI
Part of the age old problem with traditional marketing methods is the lack of quantifiable ROI metrics. Broadcast media and print ads have impact, but it is notoriously difficult to track. Inbound marketing, however, uses real-time data that provide insights as to what what is working and what needs to be tweaked.
For example, data tracking visitors to your company website and their activities there allows you to see the precise impact of your inbound marketing strategy.
Maintain Traction In Your Market
It's never enough to reach out to your market randomly or sporadically. By consistently and regularly creating and sharing content through inbound marketing, you will attract and keep an audience that cares about what you do and the problems you solve.
You will earn their trust, loyalty, and respect with content and thought leadership, while providing them with value.
Get A Decisive Edge Over Your Competition
Content marketing helps you stay ahead of your competition who are probably trying to reach your same audience. While the others invest in trade shows, paid advertising, and publicity, these efforts are, at best, one-off tactics that do not maintain impact. With inbound marketing, however, your content creation and promotion creates assets that you own and can use over and again to deliver value over time.
Establish Your Company as an Authority
As an online authority you not only are a thought leader in a specific field, but you can share your knowledge in a meaningful way with online content. For business owners, well written content, properly optimized, means that search engines see it, your prospects and customers will read it, and you ultimately create more customers and revenue. And one of the easiest ways to do this is through content marketing.
Inbound Marketing Based on Content Can Boost Your Business
This infographic illustrates five reasons why you should be using a well-designed and well-implemented content-based inbound marketing strategy to market your business:
Content Marketing Can Work for Your Business
As noted earlier, content marketing can be viewed as the foundation and backbone of an effective inbound marketing strategy. High-quality, relevant, and consistent content is one of the main keys to attracting and winning prospects and customers.
This content can take the form of blog posts, ebooks or white papers, video, email, slide decks, webinars, and even the pages on your website.
However, the challenge for most business owners is in having to create and publish this never-ending need for fresh content. Then there is the additional challenge of determining how best to distribute and use that content to carry out real marketing strategy. What is an owner to do?
While it is possible for a business owner or marketing manager to generate all of their own content, develop an inbound marketing plan, and implement it all by themselves, it's not feasible. The reality is that it takes time and it takes a variety of skills and knowledge that most business owners don't have, or don't have the time to acquire.
One of the best solutions for this challenge is to hire a local inbound marketing agency to manage and execute your Internet marketing for you. Because the plan can be custom fit to your business size and your particular needs, the cost to you for outsourcing can be comfortably affordable.
Inbound Marketing Can Be Your "Game Changer"
A number of terms are used to describe essentially the same thing, such as "online marketing", "digital marketing", "social media marketing", and so on.
We prefer the term Inbound Marketing. Here's why...
According to Hubspot:
"Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time."
This content typically takes the form of blog posts aligned with periodic ebooks and even email campaigns. The end result is a cost-effective, multi-faceted marketing strategy that not only attracts ideal leads, but deepens the relationships with customers and clients, while positioning a company as a thought leader in its industry.
Regardless of which term you prefer to use, the approach of inbound marketing holds great promise for your business.
But achieving these objectives with your content marketing strategy takes time. It won't happen with a few blog posts or great ebook. People will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. Yet, without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
Content and inbound marketing work day in and day out. Once you post a blog article or upload a Slideshare piece, it is always there, working to educate and compel people to become leads. And when they do come to you, they are educated, informed, and much more likely to make the decision to buy.
Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238. And take a moment to download this informative resource entitled"10 Powerful Inbound Marketing Charts" to support your own marketing efforts!