When most people think about digital marketing, they’ve got one thing in mind: outbound marketing. In other words, reaching out to customers and begging them to buy products. 

The problem is with outbound marketing is that you end up wasting a lot of time just trying to overcome customer objections. When a person doesn’t know how they’re going to benefit from your product, they’re far more resistant to opening their wallet. 

The flipside is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a different concept entirely. Instead of going to your customers, inbound marketing brings them to you. In the case of inbound marketing, your prospects actually want to talk to you and find out more about how you can benefit them. 

The precise definition of inbound marketing is a little tricky. It’s not just a case of customers reaching out to you and then you providing them with products, although that’s a part of it. It’s more to do with the nature of the conversation that you have with them. 

In a traditional setup, you send out marketing messages, in the hope that customers will respond by buying your products and services online or in-person. You rarely engage in sales “foreplay” with them where you chat back and forth for a while before they make the purchase decision. 

But in inbound marketing, that’s precisely what you’re trying to do. It’s all about building a relationship and trust so that when the customer is ready to buy, they’ll come to you. 

The advantages of inbound marketing for small businesses are considerable and help to level the playing field. Here’s what you need to know. 

It’s Cost-Effective

Would you like to lower the cost of your marketing and cut your cost per lead? Well, with inbound marketing, you can. 

Research outfit and digital marketing agency recently attempted to measure the cost of inbound versus outbound marketing methods for collecting individual leads. The results were extraordinary and the savings for small businesses much higher than for large. 

It costs the average medium-size enterprise more than $220 to win a lead through outbound marketing methods but just $70 using inbound. For small businesses, the percentage difference is even more extreme. Outbound leads cost $102, and inbound only $37. Not bad. 

Reach New Markets

Most companies like to think that they know their audiences, but as courses like UAB Online make clear, many do not. Effective outbound marketing requires knowing who you need to target and when. Inbound marketing, however, allows you to cast your net a little wider, while still getting similar ROI. 

The good thing about inbound marketing efforts is that they are scalable and you don’t waste money even if you target people outside of your demographic. 

Let’s say you create a piece of native advertising for a third party website with an audience similar to your customer base. Your blog, article, or whatever it is, can act as a funnel for all kinds of people who visit that site at no additional cost. You may discover that you have a type of customer you never knew you had. 

Build Your Brand Authority

If you want to be seen as the best in your field, then you need to develop brand authority. Brand authority is where you create the perception among your customers that if they want to know something about something, they should come to you. You are the expert and the best person in a position to help them. 

How, though, do you create brand awareness? And what does it have to do with inbound marketing? 

Remember all those blogs and articles you created for third-party websites? Well, you can use those and distributed them around the internet to convince customers of your expertise. 

One company that is doing this well at the moment is investment firm, ARK Invest. The company specialises in managing investment funds, but that’s not what makes it unique. What makes it special is all its easy-to-understand, publicly available research. The broker shows its clients why it’s making the decisions that it is with their money through a series of well thought out articles. Anyone can hop onto the company’s site and get an education why the firm is investing in things like biotech and autonomous cars. 

You Can Get Results Fast

Finally, inbound marketing helps you get results fast. All a customer has to do is consume your content, trust you, click the link to your products, and buy. It’s often a lot less convoluted than the outbound equivalent where a customer must remember your marketing messages. 

Troy Lambert
Troy is a freelance writer, author, and blogger who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho with the love of his life, his son, and three very talented dogs.

Passionate about writing dark psychological thrillers, he is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, all around outdoorsman, and a terrible beginning golfer.