How does inbound marketing work?

By Sam Butterworth

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Inbound marketing utilises digital technology and user behaviours to increase the traffic of targeted customers to your website.

Traditional ‘outbound marketing’ seeks customers through advertisements (such as TV, radio and print media). Conversely, inbound marketing utilises the dynamics of digital media to reverse this process, with customers instead of seeking a business’ website.

How does the process of inbound marketing work, and what are the benefits of such an approach?

Digital customers as researchers

Thanks to the significant impact of digital media, the internet has changed the way that contemporary tech-savvy consumers interact with businesses. Within this digital age, users are capable researchers, who use the internet to find solutions to specific problems.

Inbound marketing utilises this user behaviour, by providing helpful content and tools that offer a solution to the problem users are searching for. Through this content provision, users are driven to a website, which then seeks to convert them into customers.

This is a significantly more effective method than traditional advertising techniques, as users are more likely to arrive at a website with a clear problem they need solving. Inbound marketing provides the solution through information, which guides users to products which match their needs.

Benefits for businesses

Inbound marketing techniques are cheaper than outbound strategies, as they don’t require any physical marketing materials, making them more cost-effective. Furthermore, the inbound marketing methodology targets qualified leads, which results in higher customer conversion rates.

Inbound marketing is designed to capture ‘ideal customers’ - i.e. those who are looking for a specific product or solution. Such an approach reduces the element of chance within traditional outbound marketing, with businesses able to identify and target specific customers.

In essence, while outbound marketing methods are designed to cast a wide net, inbound tactics fish for specific leads. This approach makes inbound marketing more efficient than outbound, offering improved conversion rates and greater ROI.

Benefits for customers

Inbound marketing is also beneficial to customers, as businesses can offer them added value through an expanded range of information in addition to a range of products. The way in which customers use online resources means that they are now searching for more than products - they want help and guidance too.

Customers are increasingly tech-savvy and will research a product before buying. Websites that offer appropriate and helpful guidance, therefore, are more attractive to consumers, as opposed to an overly pushy sales pitch.

Providing information and tools that are helpful to customers for free has added value for users who visit a website. This can mean greater levels of trust and satisfaction placed in a company, building a strong relationship and increasing the rate of return.

Inbound marketing is a beneficial method for both businesses and customers, using digital technology and consumer behaviours to create an effective methodology for reaching customers.

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