I often hear theses two phrases used inter-changeably: Internet marketing and inbound marketing. So, what’s the difference?
When a company is doing effective inbound marketing they are attracting people to their business through any form of marketing that causes an inbound visit, resulting in a contact. We call those inbound leads. Inbound leads may come from email marketing, online and offline advertising, trade shows and events as well as from Internet marketing activities.
When a company is doing effective Internet marketing they are attracting people to their business through any form of marketing that causes an inbound visit resulting from the Internet. Internet marketing can include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, banner or affiliate advertising, social media marketing and other forms of content marketing on the Internet.
The most common form of outbound marketing is telemarketing or cold calling. What about direct mail? Is that outbound marketing? Generally speaking it is outbound marketing. If I received a direct mail piece from a company I’ve never heard of previously, that contact occurred because the company reached out to me.
The Value of an Inbound Lead
Let’s not get too hung up on terminology. We know that leads from inbound or Internet marketing are worth more than outbound marketing leads. But, why? Think about it. When someone connects with your business because you attracted them, that’s more valuable than an interruption through outbound marketing. Again I ask, why? In a word, the reason is trust. A prospective buyer places more inherent trust in a brand that attracts them to the brand than one that persuades the action to contact.
The Trust Factor
In the inbound marketing equation the trust factor is huge. So much of effective inbound marketing is driven by quality content. When a prospective buyer consumes a brand’s content that educates, enlightens or entertains, the effect can be one of trust. The trust factor is amplified when the buyer’s content consumption experience is repeated multiple times. Building trust with buyers through content engagement achieves two outcomes:
1) Builds trust and credibility
2) Earns you the right to make an offer
It Comes Down to Content Marketing
The new marketing paradigm says that buyers don’t want to be sold. Buyers want to be connected to and cultivated in a relationship. The most viable way to cultivate buyers into a relationship is through quality content marketing that engages and builds trust.
Whether your content is through a blog, white papers, video, eBooks, newsletters, webinars, live events, presentations, education, etc., quality content is the way to cultivate relationships with buyers, earning you the right to ask them to have a sales conversation with you. Once you’ve earned that right, let the sales process begin. When it’s based on a quality content relationship, the sales conversation can occur expeditiously for mutual benefit between seller and buyer.
What’s your favorite inbound marketing business development example?