Inbound Marketing – How to make Customers watch your Company

As I began to think about outbound marketing, I can’t remember the last time I haven’t screened a call from a 1-800 number or answered the door and engaged with door to door salesman. I personally believe that outbound marketing is starting to decline, and people are less receptive to blanket marketing advertisements or cold calls.

As we delve into inbound marketing, I couldn’t help but think of how logical inbound marketing is. Instead of marketers chasing after potential customers, and bombarding them with ads and ill-timed cold calls that may or may not be relevant to them, they instead work to tailor ads, digital content, and interactions to be more personalized to the needs of potential customers. In the article by Marketo, they defined inbound marketing as, “being promotional in nature, but instead is relevant to your prospective buyers”. As the marketing world is evolving, many companies will need to reassess and reinvent their marketing tactics and channels used to engage with buyers to keep up with the growing presence of digital marketing, as illustrated in the image below.

4-15-15

According to Hubspot, there are three skills that are essential to maximize your inbound marketing.

The three skills are:

1. Write compelling content that will attract customers to your business.

2. Distribute your content in a way that can be easily accessible and discoverable by potential customer, especially via search.

3. After attracting customers, make sure to engage with your followers who frequently interact with your content.

There’s a lot of work that goes on in order to turn strangers into active customers who are frequently engaged in your marketing content. When examining my own behavior with companies a specific example came to my mind. I currently follow a number of companies on twitter, instagram, and Facebook. Many of these companies will post updates daily, but the two companies who create good inbound marketing content are Nordstrom’s and Starbucks. Both Starbucks and Nordstrom’s have instagram account where they post artistic photos each day of different content, this is different from outbound marketing, such as flyers in the mail, because users have to “like” or subscribe to the page or account in order to see these updates. The digital content created by both of these companies doesn’t lead to direct purchases, since followers aren’t on their specific site, however it does create interest and buzz around their brand and essentially their products. Both of these brands have been able to engage users and have them post pictures with certain hashtags, such as #HolidayCups or #Redcups, which is a frequent hashtag to see around the winter time thanks to Starbucks marketing. Starbucks is also able to announce different drink releases to their followers and market to them subtly through drink posts as well. Though this is subtle they are essentially able to market their products to you, with the assumption that this content may cause a purchase to occur.

Here are some examples of their instagram sites below.

nordstroms

starbucks

Another thing Starbucks does well with inbound marketing is the use of their mobile app on the iPhone.

sp2Through using their app, I’m able to receive not only personalized drink coupons but see how many stars I have left until I reach the next level (ps. I’ve been a Gold Member for many years). One thing that I love is how interactive their app is. I was in Seattle a couple weekends ago and I was in desperate need of a cup of coffee. When I clicked the map feature in the app I noticed a new order tab and when I clicked it, a popup loaded and asked me if I wanted to try ordering my drink via the Starbucks app. I quickly ordered my drink and received an ETA of when it would be ready. What I realize now is that if an ad had popped up during my internet browsing and had interrupted my search, I would simply close the ad and pay no attention to it, simply because it’d interrupted my experience. However, since I had downloaded the Starbucks app and am a frequent user, I didn’t mind this interruption and was more receptive to their advertising and trying out their beta version of a new service. My observation, depending on your interaction with a certain company and whether or not your receptive to their inbound marketing techniques determines how you react to their digital content and advertising. The Marketo article listed a number of different types of content used in inbound marketing, I believe these different types are becoming more important than ever before. s

Though shifting towards digital content is essential for some companies, each company needs to asses their key segments and target customers to decide what they’ll be most receptive to. For example, my mom loves receiving yearly Nordstrom’s catalogs and flipping through the pages. I on the other hand prefer weekly email updates on the latest trends, scrolling through their pinterest account, and receiving updates via my instagram feed. All in all, each company needs to assess what’s the right amount of digital marketing content vs. traditional marketing content and how much inbound vs. outbound marketing to produce and what types of customers will be receptive to it.

Until next time,

Sophia

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