Understanding and using inbound marketing is one of the best things you can do to increase your revenue and profits while also increasing the brand loyalty and trust your business receives. The problem is that too many people don’t think about leads and instead focus just on sales. They believe the goal of their website or social media page is to convert as many visitors as possible and to maximize their sales. The irony is that this actually ends up driving away a lot of potential customers and actually reducing their profits significantly.

Why is that? Because people don’t like to be sold. Think about your own experience. How do you react to a business person whose only message is Buy! Buy! Buy! It probably turns you off very quickly.

Why Sales Leaves People Cold

When someone visits your website or social media page, whether through SEO, a promoted post or any other means, they are essentially going to be cold leads. Yes, even if your ‘friends’ on social media! If you haven’t interacted with them in any way they are cold leads. They hopefully fall into your demographic and they should be interested in your product or services but they have at no point demonstrated any particular loyalty to your brand nor have they given you permission to contact them and/or try to sell to them.

When you try and sell to them it is going to feel pretty much like cold calling. They don’t know who you are and have no need to trust you but here you are trying to get them to buy something from you. This is essentially the same thing as approaching a stranger in a bar and asking them to come home with you – there’s no preamble and it ends up coming across as rather rude – especially on social media. Ultimately, your chances of getting a positive response are almost zero!

inbound marketing

The Answer? Inbound Marketing and its best buddy, Content Marketing!

Inbound marketing is promoting your business through such things as blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, newsletters, SEO, physical products, social media posts, etc. which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel.

So inbound marketing is about attracting your target audience and getting them to come to you. If you are an introvert like me or just hate “sales,” this is cause for celebration and you can breathe a little easier.

In contrast, outbound marketing means putting your message in front of people whether they want to hear it or not. As a result, its techniques are often intrusive and annoying and people tune it out. Just think of all the junk mail you throw away on a daily basis. We have caller ID, spam filters, no-call lists and other ways to ignore marketing that comes to us.

Inbound marketing is more natural. You put your message in front of your target market and they’re compelled by their own curiosity and interest to see what you have to offer.

Getting your marketing message to your target audience and directing them into your marketing funnel incorporates quite a bit of content creation and that’s where Content Marketing comes in.

Inbound Marketing’s BFF is Content Marketing

content marketing

“Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” (Source: Content Marketing Institute”)

By studying the keywords in this definition: Creating – distributing – relevant – valuable – you see that both Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing have the same goal. It is converting and engaging your target audience.

Of course, your ultimate objective is to drive customer action both before and after the sale. So Inbound Marketing attracts them and Content Marketing grabs them and ‘woos’ them to stay. You do this by building a relationship with your audience and sharing useful information that establishes you as a thought leader. Beyond the sale, content marketing nourishes the customer relationship to keep your audience engaged and move them through your sales funnel.

Instead of trying to sell to cold leads, impress your audience with your value proposition, the quality of information you’re giving away free and the way your brand aligns with their values.