Forget everything that you have learned about digital marketing at school. We are now in an era of a constant rapid change. If you believe you are master of digital communication, it means that you have reached a dangerous level of self-confidence. The level which can make you an average marketer, soon.
The warning expressed above points me to the subject of inbound marketing. This concept quickly becomes the most accepted method for marketing activities of all kinds. It became so important in day-to-day communication that many people have already started calling it a strategy.
The foundation of inbound marketing come from the “permission marketing” concept by Seth Godin
In 1999 a marketing tutor Seth Godin introduced the “permission marketing” expression in his profound book. He criticised the traditional marketing methods built around the idea of interruption. We know these methods very well; they are all around us. They interrupt television or radio broadcast, they shout to us from big billboards, and they interfere with websites that we browse through. An effectiveness of such techniques becomes less and less effective. People are overloaded with information, and YES, they try to avoid it.
The permission marketing model described by Godin stays in opposite to unwanted product offers and sales pitches. It described that era marketers should start earning customer's awareness without invading them through paid advertisements.
"Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them (…) it recognizes the new power of the best consumer to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.” Seth Godin.
A natural extension of this philosophy had been coined by Brian Halligan co-founder and CEO of the inbound marketing group HubSpot.
It happened in 2005. Why not earlier? Well, think about years in which the following were established: LinkedIn (2002), Myspace (2003), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006).
It is HotSpot who launched in 2006 a free tool called Website Grader. This software helped marketers improving their websites. Over next years a company website became a part of broader strategic approach – inbound. Today the tool is called Marketing Grader. Apart from the website optimization, it evaluates a range of inbound marketing tools: blog content, keywords, links, page content, and Social Media bonds.
Inbound marketing contains online marketing techniques like search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, social media optimization, web automation, e-mailing, CRM, and many others. The main concept, however, is to create and distribute useful content, attract visitors, and earn their trust, and finally convert them into loyal customers.
Do you believe you can achieve that level of relations with internet users by using a blinking message that you display on a screen? Without a doubt, this is a past story.
Inbound marketing is a relevant content
As the online business started growing up, the old “interruption method” became useless.
Probably one of the best expression that I have ever heard about the effectiveness of this traditional approach has been worded by Forrester analyst who named it an “Ad-Apocalypse”. This phrase is well described by the numbers below:
Source: Forrester report on state of Digital Advertising 2017
Employing well-designed web systems, and spending months on distributing information about your business on the Internet is not enough. It would stay fruitless as long you do not provide a relevant, high-quality content.Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers by relevant content at every stage of the customer's buying journey. High quality and targeted content is an essence of inbound marketing.
It is crucial for inbound marketing to provide content that addresses the needs or problems of your ideal customers. Before you convert your internet guest into buyers, you should consider exchanging free useful content. Blogs, video, data, ebooks – the choice is yours, or... I should probably say: the choice belongs to people who visit your website.
How many minutes you have got to convince someone “to continue the journey” with you. Well, the answer pictures the challenge. Various researchers state that an average internet user spends less than 15 seconds viewing pages on a single website.
Are you feeling puzzled? Better start thinking what will happen if the user would visit your site the second time :)
The Future of inbound marketing
Visionaries say that the modern online communication with customers, demands more interactivity. They underline a need for interactive tools to be integrated with websites. Among them, the user-generated-content (UGC), quizzes, live polls and live chatbots.
Global leaders, Facebook and Twitter, have already introduced live broadcasts, new solutions are just a corner ahead. But the industry itself is booming, and the change that is coming may surprise us.
Today two billion people worldwide possess a smartphone. It points the entire online industry to a particular direction. However, uncovering more research findings makes the future even more fascinating.
Two major research companies Deloitte and Gartner reveal the facts:
- The first one reports that 31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. Five years ago, it was only 4%.
- Gartner predicts that marketers should be prepared for an unknown. According to this company by the year 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.
So we have only two years from a new metamorphosis.
Be prepared for the ride!