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What Is Inbound Marketing And Why Should You Care?

By August 26, 2015May 19th, 2017Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Lead Gen

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation” blog series.

Inbound marketing is all about attracting people to your website—pulling leads in rather than pushing out (outbound) messages through advertising and PR.

It is based on the premise that if you have a viable product or service, there are people looking for it online.

That’s what inbound marketing is. Now, why should you care? Because this is how people shop and buy. They go online first to research products and find out what their options are. The question is, when they search for a solution to a personal or business problem, what do they find? Do they find you?

Hubspot is one of the pioneers of the inbound marketing concept and a cloud-based platform to implement it. Their value proposition, at least when I started working with their products, was “Get Found.” Pretty basic, but that is a big issue for many companies. If you’re not a household name, and you have a great product or service, how do people find you?

Inbound marketing works by creating content on you website around the terms people are likely to use when looking for a solution you can offer.

For example, if you are a medical device manufacturer (field we specialize in), you might create web pages optimized around the term “medical device manufacturer.” This involves both publishing content that features that term, as well as putting the right tags in the website management system that search engines also read.

In the example above, “medical device manufacturer” is a huge category dominated by big brands, so if you are a smaller company it is more beneficial to create content around terms more specific to your business. For example, if you specialize in manufacturing coronary devices, you would be better off optimizing your content around terms like “coronary medical device manufacturer.” Ideally, you can get even more specific. If you specialize in implantable coronary medical devices then, well, now you know what to do.

Search terms are often called keywords. I don’t like to use that term because it has been abused. In the past marketers would “stuff” pages with keywords in order to get ranked higher by search engines based on the sheer volume of instances of the search term. Guess what? Search engines figured out how to ignore that and even how to penalize us for it. Search engines measure context as well as content, and you content has to be authentic and consistently about your business.

It also has to be good. Inbound marketing rewards quality, especially in a business-to-business field like medical device manufacturing. You’re trying to reach a smart, highly educated audience that knows their business well. If you try to publish content that is highly promotional, self-congratulatory or exaggerated, even if you somehow manage to get found you will be ignored. These people know B.S. when they see it. When people are looking for solution to a problem, they’re not looking to be sold. They’re browsing. They’re looking at their options. If you publish educational, informational content about solutions to problems, your content is much more likely to be found, read and shared. Your ranking will rise for all the right reasons.

The beauty of inbound marketing is that it allows you to tailor content to attract the ideal customer. If you specialize in implantable coronary medical devices, you don’t really want bunch of people calling you about orthopedic devices, and you don’t want to have your sales team waste time following up on leads that aren’t relevant to your business. So, narrow the focus to what your ideal customer is likely to be searching for, and publish content around those search terms.

Now, once people find your website on line, what do you want them to do?

Once you connect with the right people, it is important to make it as easy as possible for them to ask for more information. You can do this with calls to action—content that people are willing to give you their contact information to access. It could be a case study, or an e-book, or a white paper. If it’s well written and focused on a problem and new solutions, it is likely to help you get qualified leads.

The goal of inbound marketing is not to trick people into downloading or even into buying something. You want to engage in a way that builds trust. It’s not so much a matter of gaming Google as it is about helping people find you, faster—people who are already looking for you in the first place. The best way to engage people at the searching stage of the buying process is to offer assistance without selling.

When successful, inbound marketing can transform a company’s website into a 24/7 salesperson, constantly fielding inquiries and qualifying leads. After all, if someone comes to your website and downloads, “What to consider when selecting a manufacturer for implantable coronary medical devices?” they are pretty likely to be in or close to your target audience.

There you have. Inbound marketing is a way to get found online. You should care about inbound marketing because can really help you get found by people who genuinely want and need your product.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation” blog series.