There Seems to be Some Confusion About What Inbound Marketing Is and Is Not

This article serves to clarify some of what Inbound Marketing is and is not.

I will first provide some statements of what it is.

Inbound Marketing is Something That Works

Not right away, but over time. Your online presence grows through higher search rankings.

Let me clarify that search rankings are not what many people believe. A mature website will rank for hundreds if not thousands of different search phrases and no website ranks high for all of them.

Additionally, search results are somewhat personalized now so two people doing the same search at the same time may get different results and for any given search phrase, you don’t rank the same every time.

What matters is you rank high for enough phrases enough of the time.

Having said all that, when you stay with it, it works.

Inbound Marketing is Journalism (of sorts) Wrapped with a Marketing Intention

When I say “of sorts” what I mean is Inbound Marketing copies processes from journalism.

  • Being always on the lookout for good stories.
  • Writing, editing, publishing.
  • Doing so daily.
  • Being consistent and diligent.

The difference is while marketing is about helping people gain awareness that leads to them being interested in and buying your products or services, journalism is about truth.

While what you publish in your Inbound Marketing articles are stories should unquestionably be true, getting two sources of confirmation before publishing is overkill.

Inbound Marketing is Talking to People

This seems to be something brand marketing people forgot. Too many people publish for the sake of publishing and unfortunately, most stuff published in the name of Inbound Marketing neither adds to the conversation nor provides an interesting perspective.

When writing, the question in your mind should be “What do my prospects and customers want to know?”. The way you know this is by listening to them.

When people ask you questions, write them down. They’re future blog posts.

Inbound Marketing is a Way of Building Credibility and Trust

Provided you publish stuff that is credible and trustworthy.

Inbound Marketing is Something Anyone Can Learn To Do

If your business can not afford $2,500 a month for an agency, or even $800 a month for the Hubspot toolset, you do not need to be left behind.

You can learn to do it in house.

And Now, What Inbound Marketing is Not

Inbound Marketing is Not Selling

I know in the last section I referred you to a sales page, but at its core, Inbound Marketing is not selling.

Inbound Marketing is informing and educating. When you see a site in a Search Engine Result Page (SERP), and you find yourself on a sales page, do you stay on it? I do sometimes, but rarely. It depends what it says.

The odds are your website visitors feel the same. That being the case, while it is appropriate to put a call to action to where they can find more information, blatant sales pitches backfire.

Inbound Marketing is Not About Interruptions

Inbound messages do not interrupt you. Inbound marketing is about you (and your customers) finding stuff through organic search.

When someone lands on your website because they did an online search, you know they have an interest in your products or services. If they did not they would never have wound up on your website in the first place.

For this reason, leads from Inbound Marketing convert twice as often as leads from outbound sources (this data is based on my personal experience, not a study).

Inbound Marketing is Not a Fad or Trend

It is unquestionably here to stay. The reasons are as below:

  1. The cost of publishing to a website has dropped to where it’s dirt cheap. $12 a year for a domain name and $55 a year for WordPress gets you started. From there you start publishing.
  2. We’re so used to searching online we search online for almost everything now. Whether we want a new sofa, a dog washing place, or need to find a doctor, we start by looking online.

And Finally…..

Inbound Marketing is Affordable When You Do It In House

Which for small businesses and cash strapped early stage startups is great news. Most such businesses simply do not have the cash flow to afford the high cost of quality agencies.

And when you do it in house, you’ll need to do some link building, as link building is to SEO as public relations is to marketing.

SEO Needs Link Building

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