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Of course you've asked the question: Does Inbound Marketing Really Work?

The short answer is, yes. And the long answer is… well, yes.

When we think about marketing, we think about TV advertisements, billboards, print advertisements, email marketing, direct mail marketing etc. What’s the one thing that all these methods have in common? They’re all outbound. They all involve the company reaching out to the consumer to try to convince them to buy the product in question.

People are so used to the idea that marketing is outbound that they can’t always grasp the concept of inbound marketing. So when their digital agency recommends that they try it, their first impulse is to shrug their shoulders and move on. However, as per this article at Entrepreneur, “the days of outbound marketing are over.”

Does Outbound Marketing Really Work?

Think about this from your own point of view. How many of the TV advertisements you’ve viewed lately have made you want to run out and buy the featured product? What about print ads? What about billboards? The thing about billboards is that they’re difficult to ignore. But does that mean that you buy more of whatever they’re trying to sell?

Direct mail marketing and email marketing are even more selectively successful. Most people just take the brochures they receive in the mail and dump them in their trash cans as soon as they enter their houses. Promotional emails are automatically redirected to spam.

Once in a while, an advertisement you come across might help you remember something you need. And, of course, traditional advertising and marketing methods do have a subliminal effect. You may not run out to buy the product they’re selling immediately. But seeing the same advertisement or email over and over will help you to remember the product and might, in the long run, induce you to try it.

So outbound marketing methods do work but they have a somewhat low rate of success. People are so used to being bombarded by them that they tend to tune them out. This article from Forbes puts it very bluntly: “people don’t like ads.”

Does Inbound Marketing Really Work?

Inbound marketing has the advantage of originating in the mind of the customer. Once a customer recognizes that they need something, they’re much more likely to look up the company, do the necessary research and actually buy the product. In order to understand how this works, consider the following customer journey:

  • Recognizing the Need and Receiving the Referral: Let’s say that you need to buy a prom dress. Now, you might decide to go to a store in person so that you can try it out first. But you’ve heard that there are a number of great deals on prom dresses on the internet. You’ve seen some of the great prom dresses that your friends have bought at various websites. Since prom is a couple of months away, you decide to give internet shopping a try. And since a couple of your friends have recommended a particular website, you decide to go to it first.
  • The Google Search, the Website and the Social Media Pages: After searching for the website on Google, you decide to check out the website first, where you see a number of photos of girls wearing prom dresses. Plus, there are a couple of different links, one directing you to their blog, which has more details about what types of prom dresses are “in” this year. The other link directs you to the selection of prom dresses that’s currently available. Plus, they also have links to their Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Getting All the Information Before You Buy: Before you start looking at prom dresses, you think it might be a good idea to check out what’s considered fashionable this year. So you go to the blog and find a number of different posts about prom dresses—what colors are in, what colors are out, whether girls are wearing strappy, strapless or off-the-shoulder dresses, whether flared or fitted skirts are currently popular and, of course, what celebrities are currently wearing. In addition to written information, there are a number of images of girls in different types of prom dresses. Wow, that’s a lot of information! At this point, you think you know what type of prom dress would suit you best.
  • Looking Up Customer Reviews: However, you don’t stop there. You decide to check out their Facebook and Twitter pages as well. There, you see even more photos of girls in prom dresses. Plus, you get to read what real girls are saying about the prom dresses they’ve bought from that website. And, fortunately, most of the things are positive. At this point, you’ve almost made up your mind about buying your prom dress from this website.
  • Taking the Plunge: So what remains to be done? Obviously, you need to go back to the site and actually buy the dress. Before you do that, you want to browse through everything that’s available and see what sizes and colors you can find. Are the prom dresses you saw on the blog and social media pages actually available in your size and the color that you want? Fortunately, you find that the ecommerce section of the website is very well-organized and you’re able to find the dress you want in the color and size that you’re looking for.

Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is. Not every company or website is as well-prepared as the one described here. Some companies might have a website but may not yet be prepared for prom season. Others might have started promoting their prom dresses already but may not have updated their blogs or social media pages quite yet. Yet others might be missing crucial colors and sizes in their inventory.

This is because many companies don’t realize the value of inbound marketing, which involves being ready when the consumer does a search for you on the internet. You have to be able to give the customer all the information they need, which can be done via your blog and social media pages. You have to simplify their customer journey; make it easy for them to find you and buy your product. You have to convince them that you’re a brand worth investing in, which is done by regularly updating your website and your social media pages. These are the crucial components of inbound marketing.

Contact us for more information about using inbound marketing to sell your product and develop your brand.

If you're interested in an Inbound Marketing Campaign that gives results, then let's talk!

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