Are your marketing campaigns failing after you pump a fortune into them? You’re not alone! As people grow resistant to promotion, the traditional approach of paid promotion to capture attention doesn’t work.
So, prospective customers will ignore you if you focus only on this over-used outbound approach. But there’s a fix called inbound marketing, which generates 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing at 62% lesser cost per lead!
Inbound marketing is a set of techniques that use content to grab the prospects’ attention when they are looking for solutions to their problems on the internet. By using engaging content strategically to target people who are actively looking for the right offering, inbound marketing uses content marketing as a tool to increase conversions.
Inbound marketing and content marketing are often confused as they both use content to achieve conversions. However, they are two different concepts that you must apply in the right combination to achieve high sales. And this can be tricky!
This blog provides a comprehensive guide to help you master inbound marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing vs. content marketing differences, and learn more about combining the two.
Table of Contents
- What is inbound marketing?
- Types of Inbound Marketing Techniques
- What is the best definition of content marketing?
- The process of content marketing
- Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing – What are the Similarities?
- Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing – What’s the Difference Between The Two?
- Which method is the best for your business?
- Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing – What happens when you combine the strategies?
- How to use inbound marketing and content marketing to grow your business?
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of helping prospective customers find your company by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. It is a methodology that involves making and maintaining contact with potential customers to develop a preference for your brand. And this ultimately boosts your leads, sales, and revenue.
Inbound marketing involves all the activities that convert leads into sales by attracting interested prospects. These include SEO, PPC advertising, web design, lead management, and marketing. Moreover, inbound marketing involves creating planned, targeted, and engaging content for use in these activities through content marketing.
This approach helps customers seek you and discover your product or service instead of using promotion to get their attention, which comes under outbound marketing. As a result, inbound marketing creates an organic path to bring in the most qualified leads without spending large amounts on advertising campaigns.
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Types Of Inbound Marketing Techniques
Inbound marketing has various aspects that work together to bring high-quality traffic to your site and ensure higher conversion rates. Some key types of inbound marketing techniques are-
Search engine optimization is a strategy that involves improving a website to make it appear higher in search results, generating more traffic. You must choose keywords that are relevant to what your prospects are searching for online. Place them on your web pages along with high-quality content to get better rankings and traffic.
Pay-per-click advertising involves creating ads on search engines with relevant keywords to the target user’s search. So, when someone searches for your particular information on a search engine, your PPC ad will appear first. Moreover, you only pay for placement when people actually click your ads.
- Content marketing
This involves creating useful and relevant content for your target audience to attract them to your website while establishing your credibility and authority in the area. Decide the content type and theme based on market research, and you must form a strategic creation and publishing plan.
Some common content types used in inbound marketing are videos, infographics, blog articles, or podcasts. These formats are often used strategically to ensure the highest visibility of valuable and compelling content to your prospective customers. There are a lot of benefits of content marketing which you must know about.
Various other marketing and customer relationship management techniques are also applied as per specific requirements during inbound marketing to ensure that customers stay loyal to your brand.
What Is The Best Definition Of Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online to build your brand image and customer engagement. It involves creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract, engage and retain an audience. And this enhances your brand popularity and drives customer engagement, ultimately resulting in higher conversions, sales, and profits.
This strategic marketing approach takes advantage of a combination of various content types to establish your expertise and boost brand awareness. In this manner, content marketing keeps your business at the top of your customer’s minds when they are out to make a purchase.
Now you know why content marketing is important!
The content used includes blogs, social media posts, search engine ads, and optimized websites that are tailored for consumers who are searching for relevant information. This content is a hook to draw them into your brand, so it must be helpful, informative, entertaining, or relevant. Moreover, it must align with the desires and needs of your target audiences with the aim of inspiring long-term customer relationships.
Do read about the Content Marketing Funnel here.
The Process Of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a stepwise process with the following stages-
1. Content Planning and Strategy
This is the first stage of content marketing, where you conduct market research and create your content plan and content marketing strategy. You must figure out these key factors to create a basic plan of what you will create and when you will publish it-
- Target audience
- Journey mapping
- Channel and format selection
- Topic selection
- Evaluation and maintenance
- Project management and budgeting
Remember to keep your content strategy up-to-date and specific to your company’s aims and available resources.
2. Content Ideation and Creation
Once you have defined the aim and developed a content plan, you can start brainstorming and researching to find the right content ideas. This involves searching for keywords and search terms relevant to your niche and opportunities for new content. Using the results of this step, you must now decide on the best topics for your content.
Next, you must create content based on what you plan and ideate through this process-
- Find relevant keywords and understand the content’s aim and intent of the readers before you start creating the content.
- Research your topic, outline the structure, and prepare for writing. Follow this by creating unique, relevant, and valuable content.
- Add a clear call to action and lead generation form where required to ensure that impressed viewers can quickly move towards the purchase.
Make sure you know about the different types of content marketing.
3. Content Optimization
Content optimization involves ensuring that your content is such that it reaches and impresses the target audience. It involves optimizing content for searches and lead generation.
You must create high-quality content regularly while ensuring that associated keywords and lead generation methods are present. Also, add meta and title tags, optimize the videos and images, and also include relevant links, among other improvement tricks.
4. Content Publishing
Once you have planned, created, and optimized your content, you need to publish it! And you can do this using both paid and organic channels, including social media, blogs, video sharing platforms, websites, emails, etc.
5. Content Repurposing
Content repurposing is an effective way to attract more attention to existing popular content. You can improve the content or bring it to people on other platforms. Also, you can use this technique to promote and reuse older content instead of spending resources on creating new content. You can find content that is fit for repurposing using Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics, or post-by-post analysis.
6. Content Evaluation
Evaluating the performance of published content is an essential part of your content marketing process. This step can help you identify successful techniques you can apply to future content and also see what’s not working so that you can alter your content strategy to eliminate any errors you find. Here are the key performance indicators you should use for evaluating your content –
- Web Traffic by Source/Medium
- User Behavior
- Keyword Rankings
- Impressions & CTR
- Content Shares & Backlinks Lead Generation
7. Content maintenance
This includes ensuring your content is relevant, accurate, and up-to-date. Its purpose is to help you grow engagement with your audiences over the long run by keeping your content fresh, optimized, and aligned with the current business goals.
Here are some essential steps involved in content maintenance-
- Ensure content quality
- Update and improve your CTAs (Call To Action)
- Audit and improve your content (using Content Marketing KPIs)
- Ensure compatibility and mobile optimization
- Implement user feedback during your maintenance tasks
Here’s a complete content marketing guide for you.
Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing – What Are The Similarities?
Inbound marketing and content marketing are similar concepts. They both involve a holistic view of digital marketing that focuses on attracting and engaging a target audience using valuable content.
Both are non-interruptive methods, and both rely on gradually creating a relationship between the brand and prospects to drive sales and gain loyal customers.
Moreover, inbound marketing is incomplete without content marketing. This is because content marketing acts as a tool used in the stages of inbound marketing: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing – What’s the Difference Between The Two?
Content marketing and Inbound marketing are similar concepts, but their scope and purpose vary. Content marketing is just one part of inbound marketing because the scope of work involved in inbound marketing is much larger.
So, inbound marketing focuses on the “bigger picture” by covering all the activities that convert leads into sales, such as SEO, PPC advertising, web design, and marketing using content. And content marketing is a more focused tool that facilitates every activity involved in the inbound marketing process.
Let’s check out some other points for inbound marketing vs. content marketing in more detail-
- Target audience and inter-relation
Inbound marketing targets specific buyer personas using content as a tool, while content marketing involves content creation for a broad target audience.
Inbound marketing focuses on website building, content marketing, and customer engagement to encourage visitors to perform an action such as inquire, buy a product, or fill out a form.
However, content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable content across various channels to impress the target audience. It is most useful once you integrate it into the implementation of inbound marketing.
- Scope and key activities
Inbound marketing covers all the digital marketing techniques to draw in and retain customers in the long run. These include the following:
- Organic SEO
- Website building and optimization
- Running ads
- Customer engagement
- Lead management
- Online reputation monitoring
These activities are not included in content marketing as it is limited to creating useful content such as blogs, videos, ebooks, guides, or newsletters for use in inbound marketing.
Which Method Is The Best For Your Business?
Both inbound marketing and content marketing are non-interruptive, affordable, and engaging methods of building lasting relationships with your target customers. Moreover, content marketing is a tool in the – Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight phases of inbound marketing.
So, both methods go best together, and neither is complete without the other! As a result, you must combine both methods. Apply the inbound marketing strategy for overall marketing operations and use content marketing to enable and empower it.
Here are some content marketing statistics if you want to know the effectiveness of the approach.
Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing – What happens when you combine the strategies?
The key to effective marketing is synchronizing your content planning, creation, and publishing with the overall inbound marketing strategy. So, you must aim to take your customers seamlessly through the Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight phases of the inbound marketing process using content marketing as a facilitator at each step.
Effectively applying content marketing in inbound marketing activities such as SEO, CRM, lead management, website creation, customer engagement, and image building will create a synergy that will help you attract and convert prospects faster and at a lower cost.
Here are the major inbound marketing activities where you must apply suitable content marketing strategies and techniques to boost results-
- Social media engagement and marketing
- Organic search engine marketing or Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Non-intrusive PPC advertising
- Corporate blogging
- Customer relations and lead management
- Permission-based email marketing to maintain engagement
- Landing page creation and maintenance
- Brand impression management
- Marketing performance analytics
How To Use Inbound Marketing And Content Marketing To Grow Your Business?
Inbound marketing is a four-stage process of converting prospective customers into buyers with the strategic use of content. So, you must chalk out an inbound marketing strategy and then plan the respective content marketing strategy. To help you begin, here are the critical stages of inbound marketing in chronological order and the types of content you should apply to them-
The attraction stage involves using blogs, social media posts, SEO, and website content to get the attention of individuals interested in the topic and turn them into visitors to your website or platform.
This stage involves using compelling CTAs, landing page content, and content used for forms and contacting visitors. It aims to turn visitors into qualified leads.
The closing stage includes emailing, workflow management, lead scoring, and CRM to turn leads into customers. Each activity involves the use of copies to convince customers to purchase the product or service.
Delighting the customers involves using social media, smart CTAs, emails, and workflows to turn them into promoters of your business. As a result, your customers act as long-term assets that build and maintain your brand impression.
Make Use Of Inbound Marketing & Content Marketing
Inbound marketing includes all the measures you take to convert a prospect into your customer. It uses content marketing as a focused tool for almost all the involved activities. So, the right combination of these two methods will give you a powerful marketing strategy that will bring high marketing ROI in no time!
This blog on inbound marketing vs. content marketing has covered the basics of both these concepts and how to apply them. It will help you get started with effective inbound marketing through the efficient use of content. So, go ahead and use the right combination of both marketing strategies to see your business grow.
All the best!
Content marketing is not considered outbound marketing. It is a part of inbound marketing as it involves the planning, creation, & publication of content within the framework of the overall inbound content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is a part of the inbound marketing process. Inbound marketing covers all the activities that convert leads into sales using content, and content marketing acts as a tool to facilitate these activities.
Inbound marketing involves all the activities that convert leads into sales by attracting prospects, and these activities require planning, creating, optimizing, and publishing targeted content through content marketing.