1. Inbound marketing explained
Inbound marketing focuses on providing useful content (articles, surveys, reports, white papers etc.) that people find when they research a purchase or problem online.
Inbound marketing is all about creating value for the reader. It works on the idea that readers who learn from your content grow to trust your brand. You help them to answer their questions and solve their challenges. And when the day comes that they can’t solve those problems themselves, yours is the brand they turn to for new products or expert support.
Did you know…
The term ‘inbound’ was coined by growth platform HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan, in 2005. But it wasn’t until 2012 that the concept began to really take off. Since then, advances in technology and buyer behaviour have meant that inbound marketing is the perfect way to position your products or services to modern audiences.
- HubSpot Director Dan Tyre on the Benefits of the Inbound Marketing Revolution [Part 1]
- Inbound Marketing and Diversity: HubSpot Director Dan Tyre on How to Grow Better [Part 2]
Inbound vs outbound
If inbound marketing is all about the buyer approaching you, then outbound marketing is the opposite. Outbound marketing can be thought of as interruptive — think paid tactics and social promotions designed to push your messaging to the right people. Conversely, inbound marketing pulls your audience to you. Because your marketing is of value to them and they are actively searching for information in various places online, they take the first step.
Is inbound the most effective marketing strategy? It’s not quite that simple. Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies have their time and place, and many of the best inbound marketing campaigns leverage outbound tactics to complement the inbound approach, whether it’s advertising your most successful website pages to capitalise on their impact or putting some budget behind new articles to help them build organic momentum.
We’ve written all about the differences between inbound and outbound marketing here, but generally speaking, inbound leads are of a higher quality than outbound leads as the buyer often has more trust in you and they have already decided to come to you to help them with their problem. Sales has much less of a job trying to ‘sell’ to them because they came to you.
EXAMPLE: inbound marketing in action
You can see a great example of inbound marketing in action in the following case study.
How Vacuum Furnace Engineering generated £4.8m using inbound marketing
Vacuum Furnace Engineering (VFE) provides a range of equipment, sales, servicing and upgrade options to the heat treatment industry. To meet its ambitious growth plans, VFE sought to diversify from the aerospace industry across a range of target sectors, including power generation, motorsport and pharmaceutical, as well as the general engineering and heat treatment sectors.
Up until this point, VFE had taken a traditional approach to its marketing and sales consistent with the manufacturing industry and the markets it was engaging. To adapt its processes and hit its business goals, a new, inbound marketing approach was identified.
Over the course of two years, VFE saw significant results, in parts influenced and in other parts directly driven by the inbound marketing strategy it followed and the inbound marketing systems it adopted.
Highlights included a 700% increase in website sessions from social media, £9.9m new business pipeline generated in six months, and £4.8m sales from inbound in six months.
For more details of the exact strategy they followed, read the full case study.
“Before partnering with BabelQuest, I didn't fully appreciate how silent our business was in what we had to offer. Since then, Tom has worked very closely with the senior leadership team to create a personal and unique voice for us as individuals and collectively for VFE, with which we now effortlessly communicate with our customers. I have personally basked in the reflected ‘excellence’ of his writing.”
David Byrne, CEO, VFE