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Exactly What is Inbound Marketing?

There are simply not enough hours in the day to do it all. If you don’t know what Inbound Marketing is, you’re not alone.  Practice owners are constantly bombarded by “the next best, greatest solution to all your business needs”. More often than not, these solutions are sold more on the basis of fear (do it or you WILL be left behind) than substance.  Let’s start with a brief tutorial on “Outbound Marketing”.
Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is quite simply the traditional way of doing things, including using newspapers and other print ads including newsletters, telemarketing, direct mail, radio ads, etc. You are essentially sending your message out and attempting to interest a potential customer (who may or may not be looking for information about your product) into contacting you.
It’s not an irrelevant marketing strategy for our industry “Outbound Marketing” mediums, in particular newspaper still represent a vehicle that consumers use to get information.  According to the Pew Research Centers recent article , 30% of adults seeking information about local business other than bars and restaurants rely on newspapers.
Enter a new method of marketing.
Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing is a fairly recent methodology which has already proven many times over to be highly successful in generating more leads for businesses. Inbound Marketing has been born in the dawn of a new era of a new customer. The internet, new technology and social activity have changed the way the consumer relates to businesses, wants to interact with businesses, and buys. In the article from Pew Research Centers referenced above, 47% of adults seeking information about local businesses other than bars and restaurants rely on the internet.
Inbound marketing encompasses email marketing, blogging, social media, link building, gratis magazine articles that cater reader interests, podcasts and videos. Its digital content catered to the community. Inbound marketing is a good fit for a smaller company with a smaller budget.
This type of marketing also requires you to really understand your target audience. What you are attempting to do with inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing.  Your efforts are focused on capturing the interest of the consumer who is online and looking for your product.  Understanding people has a lot to do with why inbound marketing has really grained traction, especially in the advent of increased digital media platforms. People want to be courted, they want to be understood.
But, like anything else, inbound marketing has its downside.
Inbound marketing if handled properly will and should start slowly.  A quick rise to the top of a search can create concern on the part of search engines.  Search engines are created using complicated algorithms with the underlying goal of delivering to the consumer, what the consumer wants.  Too many hits of the back button can doom your site to a quick descent down the ranking.  Search engines are designed to penalize black hat (bad) SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in favor of good…content based, white hate SEO.
In the long run, the goal is to build a loyal customer base who ideally will return over and over and who refer their friends and family to your site.  Content is what will keep them returning.  Content is king.  You have to invest the time and the energy into providing your inbound marketing mediums with a constant source of relevant content to ensure your inbound marketing programs realize their full potential.