Given that marketing has traditionally been outbound, one might wonder at the term inbound marketing and its current popularity. John Hall writes in this article from Forbes that "75 percent of marketers are allocating the same or an increased budget for inbound this year." Although inbound marketing hasn't surpassed traditional marketing initiatives in terms of popularity, it is definitely catching up. One reason for this, as described by Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, in an article for the Huffington Post, is that "people are sick of being marketed to and are quite clever at blocking it out."
How We Block Out Outbound Marketing
If you think about your own daily life, you'll likely agree that the above statement is true - we are clever at blocking out outbound marketing. Most of us put the TV on mute during commercials or fast forward through them with our DVR. We're a lot more focused on traffic than on the billboards that we pass, we throw the direct mail and catalogs we receive into the trash. And we use ad blockers on our favorite browsers so we're not distracted from the content that we look up on the internet.
How We Gravitate Towards Inbound Marketing
Although we block out outbound marketing, we can also be quite assiduous about following up on leads we receive from friends or random things that we get interested in on the internet. For example, if a friend tells you about a dating website that s/he used and met some interesting people on, you might be tempted to become a member of that website too. Or maybe you got that tip from a magazine you read. Either way, your interest is piqued and you end up looking up that website.
Content Is King
Let's say you look up this dating website you've heard about and find it immediately. Your first step will probably be to scroll through the tabs and get a general idea of how it works. If the site isn't self-explanatory, you might get a bit frustrated and leave it. On the other hand, if it gives you clear descriptions of how you should go about meeting people via that interface, you'll be tempted to continue.
Plus, it might even give you descriptions of past or present members so that you can see what type of people you're likely to find on it. And it might provide testimonials of people who have been happy with the services provided on it. All this information goes under the heading of "content" and, as they say, content is king.
Focused vs. Diverse Content
It's important to consider your audience when you're churning out content. After all, a website like the above-mentioned dating site could have a lot of dating-related content. But it doesn't make much sense writing about dating for seniors if your website is geared toward twenty-somethings (or vice versa). On the other hand, it's also a good idea to have a certain amount of variety in your content so you can appeal to various demographics. Since you're most likely to know what type of content is most appropriate for your business, it's important for you to keep track of the type of content being added to your website, blog and social media pages.
Content and Thought Leadership
In general, people recommend you should constantly keep updating your online presence with more and more information. However, if you're interested in becoming a thought leader in your field, it's also important to keep track of the quality of your content. Simple but well-written pieces of content are likely to appeal to most audiences. You can write about popular topics but it's always good to have a "voice" i.e., a unique perspective that will differentiate you from others and help to build your company image.
Do you have something you can add to this post? Please leave a comment below.