Inbound marketing used to mean blogging with an offer at the end.
Calls to action on landing pages were followed by thank-you pages. And when the viewer got this far, it was all about nurturing interest until you turned them into a customer. Inbound marketing is just not that simple anymore.
A brief history of inbound marketing.
The concept of inbound marketing was born in 2005 when the term was coined by HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that it gained popularity. Previously, most businesses marketed their products by ‘interrupting’ potential customers with adverts and cold calls.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, refers to easily navigated web pages and blogs containing high-quality content. This should include keywords and targeted phrases to maximise SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By being visible on search engines, it is easier to attract leads through website content. Leads then provide their contact details so the marketer can contact them directly with follow-up content, which will drive sales. Inbound marketing is known as ‘permission-based marketing’ as potential customers are asked for their consent.
As a marketing strategy, inbound has only been widely used in the past decade. However, the origins of the founding principal “customer orientation” date back to the 1850s. Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical harvester and developed basic inbound strategies to generate consumer interest in his machines. It took time, but McCormick increased his sales.
Inbound marketing today.
Adopting an inbound strategy was never a quick fix, and this is still true. The whole process that comes with inbound, including creating free content, social media posts, and SEO rankings, consumes valuable time. And today, there are ever more technologies to master in the pursuit of creating unique and meaningful content.
Inbound marketing still responds to the way people buy; it recognises what matters to them, on their terms, and in their time. Moreover, when done well, it acknowledges both the intent and the context of your prospects’ search.
Inbound marketing is an endurance effort—you need a strategy, resources, and the skills and experience to constantly attract, convert, close, and delight.