What is Inbound Marketing, and How Does Inbound Pay Off for Small Businesses?

Inbound marketing is a phrase you'll hear thrown around a lot when you start researching methods for how to generate more leads, and how to find loyal customers for your small business. For companies who have traditionally focused on outbound marketing, which includes methods like traditional commercials, email lists, cold calling, etc., the idea of inbound marketing or content marketing may take some getting used to. So what is Inbound Marketing, and how does it pay off for small businesses?

According to HubSpot, the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing is pretty simple. With outbound marketing you are broadcasting your message far and wide, trying to bring yourself to your clients. Inbound marketing is different. With inbound marketing you're trying to lure clients to you; the goal is to "be discovered," instead of going to where your clients live and knocking on their doors.

With Inbound Marketing, you do "get discovered" by creating content that potential clients will want to see, and which will make them come to you. 

Here's an example. Say that you were a snow removal contractor, and you want to increase your exposure through inbound marketing. To do that you could create a blog where you share snow removal tips, covering everything from questions to ask a contractor to when to use salt versus sand for ice management. Alternatively, you could start a YouTube channel for your company, showing your customers how you work behind the scenes and creating humorous or interesting videos that people will remember as well as share with their friends.

That's how inbound marketing works; by creating content people want to see, you bring potential customers to you rather than having to chase them down. As Hubspot put it, it's the difference between chasing big game all over the trails in the jungle, and just waiting near the watering hole for them to come to you.

Is Inbound Marketing Worth the Effort?

Studies show that Inbound marketing has a pretty big payoff, but it's often a long-game process. By creating content that people are searching for, you're getting your name out there among potential clients as a professional, reputable source. As you create more content, though, people are going to start forming a relationship with you. You're not the company sending them advertising they don't want; you're the person who showed them how to make keep their costs down and avoid lawsuits in the winter. That kind of relationship means customers are much more likely to turn to you as a professional source, and it means they're more likely to tell their contacts about you.

What does that mean in numbers, though? Well according to an article from Social Media Today companies that blog 1-2 times per month will see a 70% jump in leads. 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive return on investment for their inbound marketing efforts. Lastly, inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing does (and some could argue it gets better results).

In short, inbound marketing creates regular customers who like what you're doing, and who develop a personal relationship with you and your business before they've even made a single purchase. That's the payoff for inbound marketing, and it's why so many businesses are turning toward it.

For more information on inbound marketing, and how it can help your business grow, simply contact us today!