What's the difference between inbound marketing and online marketing?

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Inbound marketing has fast become one of the most valuable advertising practices globally. Dynamics of consumer purchasing and content consumption behaviour has shifted, people are more aware and informed of their purchasing decisions, for example, 88% of people read and trust written reviews online and base their purchases significantly on these reviews. People still consider peer and family opinion on products important, but with the growth of digital communities, family and peer groups have grown considerably – friends are no longer those people we meet with for coffee, but have expanded to become those on instagram pages, blogs, forums, and a growing number of influencers that promote or review products themselves. What I am trying to say is that the amount of information people receive is astounding. Online marketing as a whole has evolved drastically as a result.


So what is the key difference between inbound marketing and online marketing?


Online marketing is a broad term that encompasses all digital efforts to communicate with people online. This includes all elements of advertising, written and visual communication; from adverts created on Adwords, logo and website design, paid social media and content creation to name a small few. Inbound marketing is a specific methodology of marketing that combines elements available within online marketing to create highly effective strategies and campaigns.


Many forms of online marketing are passive, such as the design of a website, other common online marketing practices are experienced more and more as interruptive marketing. Some online marketing practices aim to buy consumer attention, to put themselves in front of the consumer at all costs, and because of the evolving online consumer it is often seen as invasive. Inbound marketing is an innovative method of communication that seeks to gain audience attention by providing interesting, engaging and problem solving content online that fits audiences personas and needs. As a result, captivated audiences that are being educated and helped gain more interest in the products and services of the brand producing the content and can be led down a specific sales funnel towards conversion.


Inbound marketing as an evolution of online marketing:


All industries are constantly trying to innovate. Innovation is based on improving already existing models or inventing new models to interact with. For example, we are replacing email with internal messaging and teamwork tools like Slack and Basecamp because we’ve realise it increases productivity. Inbound marketing is not a methodology that replaces all online marketing, it is a model that has been introduced as a sophisticated digital hub for improved  brand communication with audiences, for all companies, to be used alongside other online marketing practices. It is comprised of a number of interconnected parts such as; blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content offers and conversion elements that take professional expertise to implement correctly and is extremely powerful when done right.


Generating high-quality leads


At the core of inbound marketing is the creation of value. Rather than communicate a visual brand communication as that of online marketing, inbound marketing exists to create the highest quality content to help consumers and provides the best value.

This is done by creating detailed consumer personas that allow for tailor made content and sales funnels that cater towards customers needs and wants. Instead of gaining leads that are converted by invasive advertising, a company can gain leads that have converted organically, because they want to and are extremely well informed. These kinds of leads are the kinds of leads that all companies should aim to acquire.


The cost of inbound marketing


It is always hard to let go of what is familiar and move towards something new. Traditional marketing and online marketing have stood the test of time, but research has shown that, on average, business in america spend $20,000 less on inbound marketing each year, but 54% more leads come from inbound marketing sources. Furthermore, on average inbound marketing leads cost less than traditional and outbound marketing leads.


The same research has show that inbound marketing is 3 times more likely to see a higher return on investment than other online outbound marketing campaigns.


The evolution and of online marketing into inbound marketing methodologies has changed the digital landscape and the statistics and case studies prove its worth.

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