Digital Marketing in 2016 – The Inbound Way

Digital Marketing

Things have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. The world is shifting and adapting to new challenges so quickly, that it often feels like the last trend was yesterday and the next is just around the corner.

This also applies to marketing, which has evolved significantly with the arrival of the digital age. Gone are the days of print and television advertising being the undisputed aces in a marketing deck of cards. Now, much of this has been diversified into the world of online – websites, videos, and apps. The power is in your hands – your mobile phone, your iPad, or your laptop. And it’s in your customer’s hands too.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing that’s changed in marketing. The industry has taken quite a beating in the reputation department. Thanks to Don Draper types such as those portrayed on Mad Men, marketing has a developed a trust problem.

Traditional markerting techniques have garnered a negative reputation - Clue Design explains

Marketers are sandwiched somewhere in between Car Sales and Real Estate. That’s grim.

But why wouldn’t they be? By many accounts, advertising and marketing can be very frustrating to the average user. Case in point:

  • 86% of viewers skip TV ads.
  • 91% of users unsubscribe from ad emails.
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • 4 MILLION people are on the Australian Do Not Call list. (As of 2015, that’s approx. 1/6 of the nation)

And that’s before we get into the digital marketing bread and butter of this article...

Let’s think about when you’re browsing online – those ads that take up valuable screen real estate, automatically run videos that burn through bandwidth, or play unsolicited audio in the background. Annoying, right?

No one likes being “yelled” at by intrusive, annoying ads.

Yet there are plenty of marketers who are still guilty of doing this!

The marketing playbook has changed. Much of the world has shifted to digital, with the customer being in control of what they read, watch, and search for. I repeat – the customer is in control.

But once again – some of us are still advertising, marketing, “yelling” – as if this were not true.

There is always a place for advertising, no question about it. But is it the key? Is it what people like? No one wakes up in the morning and says: “I want to see an ad!”

So why are so many of us putting so much of our energy into making ads?

“1% of cold calls work.
The other 99% hate your guts”
- @kippbodnar

Inbound Marketing – Marketing that people actually like

Let’s compare Traditional and Inbound marketing.

Traditional marketing is Seller-centric. We act in our own best interests. Sure, they might actually need our product or service, but we are actively interrupting the customer during their day to spruik our offerings.

Inbound marketing is Buyer-centric. We create something, whether that’s a piece of content, free tools or freemium models that are beneficial to the customer. We aren’t interrupting the customer, there’s no real intervention from us – they are attracted to our content on their own accord.

Traditional Inbound
Cold Calling Content
Cold Emails (Spam!) Tools
Advertising Freemium models
Interruption Attraction
Seller-centric Buyer-centric
Paid (rented) Earned (owned)

Another key difference is cost.

Traditional advertising is like renting a house: you can keep using it, as long as you can keep paying for it. Can’t keep paying your rent? Guess what – no more ads!

Inbound marketing, specifically in the digital sense, is powerful because it exists indefinitely. Technically it may cost money and time to create the content, and technically it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere – but once it’s uploaded, the nature of the internet means it stays there forever (or until it gets taken down). You have created and now own the content – and it will be earning traffic. That’s potentially years of time you don’t have to pay for, and therefore years of potential leads that the content could be generating for you!

For the purpose of this article, we’ll define content as anything you create to help amplify your digital presence. That includes:

  • Blog articles
  • Photos and Infographics
  • Videos and Podcasts
  • Presentations and Ebooks
  • Free online Tools

Users recognise great content, and subsequently credit the creator. If you write a powerful post that engages and addresses the audience, you are seen as legitimate and trustworthy, a leader in your field. It might even be worthy of sharing to other users. Why wouldn’t your potential customers then want to contact you?

This is the digital age – creating content is good for your business. And that’s not just from a pure user perspective – search engines like Google favour websites with lots of original, relevant content, and tend to rank these sites higher in the search results. So your content creation is actually an excellent form of SEO as well!

Creating Content

So how do I go about creating such content?

It’s simple, but there’s one catch – quality. We need to make sure we create quality content.

You won’t get a slap on the hand by anyone if you post a poor quality piece – but you probably won’t see an uptick in your leads either. Quality content needs to appeal to the reader. It needs to be engaging, useful, insightful – or in other words, tailored to your audience.

You don’t determine what quality content actually is. Your audience does. So write for them!

It’s easier than you think to get started.

  • If you’ve ever sent a lengthy email, you could probably repurpose some of that information.
  • Customers often ask questions – if you find yourself answering the same thing over and over again, it may be time to write a blog post about it.
  • Also have a look through your internal documents for processes or how-to’s – some of it may be useful to your clients.
  • Perhaps you’ve even received a memo rant from an executive that can be selectively re-worded for the greater good!

At the end of the day, as long as you’re writing for the audience, your content will work for you. So do marketing that people like. Attract customers, don’t yell at them.

Now go forth and create!

Your inbound leads are waiting for you.

Clue Design is a web agency based in Perth and would love getting to know you. If you’d like help implementing a blog solution or digital marketing strategy, contact our team or call us on 08 9368 0777 today!

Category: Digital Marketing