Inbound vs. Digital: How Should You Maneuver Your Marketing Strategy?
In the past where the marketing playing field was limited to the tangible marketplace that required you to be physically present whenever businesses were dealt, some of the best assets entrepreneurs could have were a creative marketing plan and a silver tongue. Everything in between, regardless of whether they were physical or intangible advantages, was in the deck of cards that had to be drawn in the presence of business partners and customers. But that was a time not a lot of young entrepreneurs can remember, much less relate to.
But when the digital age began to unfold, the battleground for the most effective and laudable marketing schemes grew exponentially. As the marketing scene started dominating the World Wide Web, the science behind the formulation of marketing strategies escalated into a whole new level and a lot of the recently-bred methods surfaced. While the tried-and-tested methods remain relevant and were integrated in the new age of marketing, the entire buzz about it is happening in an infinite and more potent arena—the Internet.
Over time, a couple of disciplines in the online marketing scene emerged as two of the most preferred means of engaging customers and cashing in conversions. These are inbound marketing and digital marketing. While they are not necessarily polar opposites, they have been the subject of several analogies on which one is more viable when approaching the online platform.
In this article, we will shed light on what these two really mean as well as the benefits you can look forward to if you decide to draft either or both them to be a part of your marketing arsenal.
Inbound Marketing Explained
The mere fact that it says inbound already tells you that you’ll be the one on the attention-receiving end. There’s a lot of truth into this one but you need to remember that traffic will not drive itself in your direction unless you manage to generate leads and produce enough hubbub. Inbound marketing involves a great deal of content creation meant to appeal to prospects in all levels of the audience funnel. Whether your goal is to jump-start awareness or to make a sale, the application of inbound marketing requires you to begin with content powerful enough to attract the attention of your prospects and drive them to your website.
If it’s beginning to sound like a lot of work, you’re not imagining things. It really is. Nevertheless, inbound marketing is perceived as one of the most effective means to win over prospects and turn them into loyal customers.
How Does It Work?
In a blog entry published by HubSpot, the agency shared a six-step guide to inbound marketing. If you take a look at it, the process entails concentrated effort on the planning and implementing stages. It is critical that your inbound marketing strategy is approached with a substantial marketing plan and is sustained with original top-quality content posted on a highly responsive website. You can also use different channels to promote and direct the traffic to your site such as blogging and social media, and boost it with the application of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. HubSpot also listed PPC (pay-per-click) as a valuable traffic generator although you can still get away without using it.
The execution of inbound marketing doesn’t stop at publishing indispensable content. The work becomes more real when it’s time to convert the traffic you’re getting to leads. To be able to retain your prospect’s attention, you need to engage them with the contents of your website, which brings you back to why you need to create powerful posts. From jumpstarting awareness, you need to include calls-to-action (CTA) to compel your prospects to accomplish something after digesting your site’s content. When they do, that is when they can be classified as leads, a group that you should strive to retain and expand by building relationships with them.
The last and equally crucial step to inbound marketing is monitoring and measuring how the marketing plan is working. The most important factors you should consider are traffic to leads, cost per lead, leads to customer, and cost per customer. You also need to track the performance of every channel you’re using to verify how much traffic and leads they are generating.
Advantages and Advice
What makes inbound marketing unique from traditional marketing strategies is not just its approach but also the advantages. Since your job is to primarily attract potential customers through compelling content, your target audience will inevitably come to you. The content you should publish also needs to meet the standard of value observed by search engines. This means that not only should they be original and data-driven, you should also ensure that it abides Google’s guidelines and more importantly, tailored to comply with the search engine’s algorithms.
It is critical that the all of the content you’re creating is of top caliber because it is what your prospects would be looking for—something that they will consider valuable enough to make them visit your site. Also, the overall appearance and navigability of your website is another fundamental asset. While reconciling web design and SEO is not a cakewalk, you need to strike a balance between the two to achieve the rankings you’re aiming for and provide optimal user experience.
To further advance your inbound marketing pursuits, here are some takeaways you can use recommended by some of the staunchest advocates of this strategy.
- Start with an appealing website.
The retention of customers’ engagement relies heavily on how your website looks. It’s important that your colors and layout resonate your brand and your message. You should also make it a point that your site loads quickly on all the platforms it was designed for so that your audience doesn’t lose interest. You can visit land-book.com to check what are most up-to-date web design trends.
- Publish on a regular basis.
Assuming that you‘re able to create complex content, you need to keep a consistent performance by posting on a regular basis. This gives your audience something to look forward to whenever they visit your site.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Unless you’re employing black hat practices, the combination of business with SEO is too multidimensional to point out whether a strategy is right. Most of the time, what matters is the techniques that work for you. That being said, you need to constantly experiment with tactics, whether traditional or modern, and see what fits your whole strategy best.
- Don’t sell aggressively.
People will go to your site because they seek more than just sales talk. They want ideas and results. As such, maintain a modest yet sensible voice even when you’re promoting a product on your website.
- Connect with your audience.
When strategizing for the types of content and topics you’ll create, always think with the audience in mind. Ask yourself what they might be looking for and what they want to find when they see your website. By doing this, you’ll be able to come up with pieces that they will deem valuable.
Elucidating Digital Marketing
One of the perks afforded by dealing business through the Internet is that broader disciplines are amenable to narrowing down until you arrive at a more specific approach that meets your demands. This is one way of looking at the inception of digital marketing, one of the fast-becoming trends in marketing in an era where the control of nearly everything is within your fingertips.
Digital marketing is a strategy that capitalizes on the utilization of every Internet-based channel such as emails, social media, instant messaging, blogging, podcasting, and RSS to name some. Although digital marketing has been widely used for promotions on the web, it’s also a practical approach to campaigns that seek to create awareness and share information.
A lot of entrepreneurs and marketers are signing up to digital marketing for their advertising needs not only because its reach is wider, it also makes it easier to monitor the campaign’s progress and most effective buzz creators. As such, it is seen as a practical alternative to traditional marketing, which on the other hand, deals with conventional mediums such as television, radio, and print.
Digital marketing is often confused with Internet marketing, but the latter is actually a branch of the former. Internet marketing is a much narrower discipline and is particularly concerned about search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and email marketing. On the other hand, digital marketing is also concerned with the types of devices that a campaign should be designed for, from the most commonplace computers to the more advanced mobile gadgets like smartphones and tablets.
Rewards and Reminders
Since it completely relies on the Internet to be executed, digital marketing has a higher potential of reaching your target audience and possibly tap into a market that is related to your business. While this method doesn’t necessarily involve face-to-face transactions, it is possible to reach out to customers by personalizing messages and sending these through email. It also replaces the need for print ads, since you can simply post its digital version on your website and other places your prospects frequent. Furthermore, it relieves the need for TV commercials with videos and podcasts which you can upload on your site or have them go viral on social networking platforms.
Just like inbound marketing, digital marketing entails a process that spans from planning to assessment. It is imperative that you come up with a campaign strategy that delineates your target audience, goals, methods, channels, and metrics. For a digital marketing campaign to be successful, you also need original and quality content as well as an active social media presence. Consequently, you need to employ the metrics to see if the elements you’re using are functioning towards the achievement of your goals.
If you’re looking to employing digital marketing in your campaigns, here are some pointers you can use as a benchmark to ensure its feasibility.
- Establish a clear brand message.
The Internet may be one of the best places to promote and sell, but if you fail to communicate to your audience who you are and what you can give them, the efforts you put into campaign planning will be for naught. So before you proceed to a full-scale promotion, make sure that your brand’s message is well-defined and targeted. Tell a story if you must. It is stories that consumers easily identify with and eventually help them associate themselves with the brand.
- Optimize your content.
Prepping your content to attract the attention of your audience and dominate web page rankings isn’t limited to using keywords alone. It’s crucial that every piece of content that you create and publish is unique to your site and is backed by reliable data. In addition, the algorithms rolled out by Google in the last five years are sensitive to site structure, value of content, quality of links, and proper contextualization of search terms. If you want to further your digital marketing campaign, you’ll do best by abiding these standards.
- Exploit social media.
The whole point of digital marketing is accessibility and convenience for both the entrepreneur and customers. People may not be always browsing the Internet but if they remain glued to their social media dashboards regardless of the device they’re using, they need to see you there as well. Sign up to social networking sites and actively participate in the discussions of your circles and interact with customers whether potential or existing.
- Track and measure progress.
The only time you will determine whether your campaign is working is when you’ve gathered enough hard data. Include Google Analytics in your measurement tools to identify which channels your traffic is coming from and what keywords are giving you attention. By identifying your top traffic generators, you’d know what kind of content your audience wants and therefore should strengthen. At the same time, you’ll see which techniques are faring behind and address the issues immediately.
There is an aphorism in the business industry that when it comes to strategies, the yardstick of success isn’t always about which technique is right and which is wrong. More often than not, it’s about what works and what doesn’t. What may be effective for you may not be effective for others and vice versa. In the case of inbound marketing and digital marketing, you may opt to use either or both of them. You need to remember though that when merging different strategies, you have to find a common ground where all the elements and steps in the process gel together and actually work.