Once upon a time, about ten years ago, a new concept was born. It was an innovative concept, groundbreaking some said, and those that brought it to life knew that they were looking at the face of revolution. The concept was called inbound marketing.
As soon as it came to be, inbound marketing started shaking things up. It took long-standing, traditional marketing ideals, and turned them on their heads. See, traditional marketing had relied on one way communication, which meant that consumer input mattered little. Customers were sought out in aggressive ads that didn’t provide any value other than perhaps a cute commercial jingle. The marketer didn’t care about helping the customer–just about getting their product out there.
But inbound marketing did care. It wanted the relationship between customer and company to be interactive. It recognized that consumers could better control what information they received by simply searching for it online, and wanted to put companies in the position to give them that information. It brought to life the idea of educating customers, and providing them real-world value through content that targeted their needs and pain points. It focused not on pushing its way into consumers’ faces, but instead on earning their trust, and bringing the customer to the company.
People throughout the world embraced inbound marketing and its targeted approach to attracting consumers. For a while, companies had been seeing the decline in customer engagement through traditional marketing efforts, and had been seeking a way to keep up with shifting consumer behavior. Further, many had long valued the interpersonal relationships they built with their customer base, and traditional marketing methods seemed to discount those.
Inbound marketing provided a solution. It encouraged companies to tell their stories through the sphere of the industry, and put those stories in a place where people were looking–online. It told them to connect with their customers by sharing their expertise with the people who were directly seeking it. It gave them the power to educate their prospective customers, not only so that their product could be presented as the solution, but also to build trust with their audience, and turn them into long-term, high-value relationships.
In short, inbound marketing rode in on its white horse of innovation, and transformed company marketing efforts from harassing to helpful.
Inbound also brought with it all the best practices to achieve these goals. Premium offers like long-form e-books, white papers, and webinars designed to give customers value they could see. Frequent blog posts on myriad topics related to the company and their industry that not only strengthened SEO, but also the perception of the brand’s expertise. Continuous and targeted social media presence. Automated marketing outreach that feels personalized.
Marketers took these tools and built full cohesive strategies around their execution. They built their clients’ marketing plans around the inbound methodology: attracting visitors, converting them into leads, and nurturing them into customers that keep coming back for more–and tell their friends to do the same.
And so it was that inbound marketing strengthened and grew, and continues to do so today. Ten years after its inception, it is embraced not just by marketers, but by industries who recognize the benefits to this targeted, personal approach to online marketing. Companies have been saved and careers made because of this innovation in marketing and consumer relations.
Inbound marketing has changed the core of these companies, and as a result, their revenue will live and increase happily ever after.