As the ecommerce market continues to see explosive growth, with no signs of stopping, it’s estimated that worldwide retail ecommerce sales will hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. The convenience and ease of shopping online for everything from athletic socks to luxurious vacations make it a market that brands don’t want to miss out on. Fortunately, that’s where inbound campaigns enter the picture to help brands get the most out of their marketing as they tap into ecommerce.
An inbound marketing campaign is one that’s comprehensive, integrated and, most importantly, digital. It includes elements like content marketing, influencer marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. It’s different from outbound marketing, which is more traditional, because inbound marketing is consumer driven rather than brand driven.
Outbound marketing approaches the consumer first. However inbound marketing lets the consumer find it and strives to make that search as easy and rewarding as possible.
What Are Inbound Campaigns?
Inbound campaigns are about appealing to consumers’ needs and providing them with the information that’s relevant and valuable to them. They’re more responsive and targeted rather than being aggressive and broad. They usually have one goal and message, which brands promote through their marketing channels.
Inbound campaigns don’t promote a hard sell about a product or service. They often feature an offer of some kind of free content, like an e-book, e-newsletter, white paper, or webinar. Or the content can be something as simple as an infographic or a social media or blog post. Video content can make inbound campaigns more effective because it’s more likely to drive search than text content is.
How Inbound Campaigns Are Effective
Inbound marketing brings in leads in specific ways, like by attracting consumers to a brand’s website through the free content. Brands often create target personas as they identify the markets they want to reach with an inbound campaign. That means researching their target markets to find out their content needs and wants. They can do so using research methods like in-depth interviews and surveys.
The idea is that target customers are searching for a certain type of content, and when they find it, it brings them to the brand. It’s very different from an outbound campaign where a brand might place ads on billboards and hope that interested consumers will see them. And it’s also different from a banner ad that’s displayed to consumers whether they want to see it or not.
Once on the brand’s website, consumers often find valuable information in the site’s blog posts. The blog might answer questions about a topic that’s relevant to the product and the industry. It could provide tutorials or information about innovative uses of the product. Again, though, it’s information that benefits the consumer, and it won’t be a hard sell, like a TV commercial or a banner ad would be.
They’re More Interactive
Inbound campaigns are typically more interactive than outbound campaigns are. With inbound campaigns, brands encourage interactions with consumers to learn more about their needs and wants. As consumers comment on and like social media posts and answer online surveys, the brand builds a relationship with them.
They Use Story-telling in Content
Integrating a human component that tells a story into an inbound campaign’s content can boost its effectiveness. It personalizes the product or service for the consumer so they feel a connection to it.
They Put SEO Front and Center
Because inbound marketing revolves around consumers searching the Internet, SEO is an especially critical component. That’s why keyword research is an important part of effective inbound campaigns, as is optimizing content for SEO.
They Cross-Promote Content
To achieve an effective inbound marketing campaign, brands and marketers need to promote and cross-promote the content across different channels.
The Benefits of Inbound Campaigns
When it comes to inbound campaign effectiveness, the benefits they deliver are impressive and boost their rates of success. They include:
They’re More Cost-effective
Inbound marketing is less wasteful because it’s more specifically targeted, while outbound marketing reaches a mass audience. Outbound campaigns use traditional media like billboards, subway posters, and TV commercials. Inbound marketing uses media that’s more effective at reaching niche markets, like social media and blog posts. Inbound campaigns not only generate more leads, they cost less to do so.
They Generate Consumer Trust
Inbound campaigns are more effective because they create a sense of trust with their target market. When brands provide consumers with useful and/or entertaining information in an inbound campaign, in addition to trust, it generates brand awareness, and brand loyalty. When brands partner with influencers on inbound content campaigns, they gain the trust of the influencers’ followers.
They Generate Consumer Empowerment
With an inbound campaign, the consumer is in control because it features content they look for and choose. When consumers feel empowered and valued, it creates positive feelings about the brand behind the content. Those positive feelings lead to boosts in brand awareness, engagement, website traffic, leads and conversions.
They Reach Mobile Consumers
The mobile market continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and inbound campaigns are there to make the most of it. Because inbound campaigns are digital, they can easily be optimized to reach consumers on their mobile devices.
By comparison, outbound marketing tools, like a physical printed billboard are static and can’t reach consumers wherever they are. In addition to reaching consumers when they’re ordering products online, brands can also reach them in bricks-and-mortar stores, at the point of purchase.
The Content Can Easily Be Shared
When brands and marketers create social media content for inbound campaigns, from video on YouTube to posts on Facebook, it’s content that can easily be shared. When audiences share the content it amplifies the brand’s reach, a reach that continues to grow as consumers continue to share it.
They Generate Better ROI
Inbound campaigns generate better ROI because they address the target market’s needs first, attracting consumers to the brand with helpful information. And inbound campaigns work for all kinds of businesses whether they’re B2B or B2C. Inbound campaigns are less wasteful of resources and budgets because they’re so targeted.
Because inbound marketing is scalable, it can be effective for businesses of all sizes and for a range of different budgets. There are a lot of options, and it all boils down to choosing those that are best for your brand to reach its target market.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Inbound Campaigns
There are a number of tools like Google Analytics and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that make it fairly easy for brands and marketers to measure the effectiveness of an inbound campaign. Google Analytics allows them to gauge results like clicks, conversions, and ROI and also to get demographic info about their results. The digital nature of inbound campaigns makes the results measurable and track-able through analytics and metrics.
An SLA defines the key metrics among a campaign’s results so different teams within a company can determine what a qualified lead is. It also establishes goals for leads and spells out how the qualified leads will be handled and what the next steps will be.