Before we dive into answering the question, let’s clarify both the notions as there has been confusion concerning these.
Marketing has changed to a very significant extent in recent years. Digital Marketing has taken a major role in overall marketing activities. Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing — both the notions are branches of Digital Marketing.
There are confusions regarding the two terms even among the ones who practice Digital Marketing in their profession. So, in this article, I am going to discuss “Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing: which one should global companies focus on.”
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing has been performed for long in the marketing history. But it has evolved as an distinguished marketing branch in the recent years. It has been discussed mostly after internet marketing became popular all over the world.
Content Marketing Institute says, “Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing useful, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and ultimately, to attract profitable customer action.”
Simply put, Content Marketing is a marketing technique which uses content to stimulate interest in certain brand or product. Content Marketing does not directly ask people to buy products, rather it indirectly make them interested in products, services or brands.
In other word, Content Marketing encompasses the creation and sharing of content to indirectly promote products or services. It provides content that the consumers are interested in.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a strategic marketing method where a marketer seeks to attract potential customers to buy a certain product or service, who are already looking for that product or at least are interested in that.
Inbound Marketing professionals approach a potential customer who needs a product. An Inbound Marketing professional knows the requirement and even the wish of the potential customer to fulfill that requirement.
With Inbound Marketing, you can attract potential customers to your website. You can do this in many ways like social media content, blog post with required SEO in it, Search Engine Marketing or Paid Search Advertising, e-newsletter, opt-in email marketing etc.
When customers reach out to your website through any of these ways, you give them an awesome experience by interacting with them. Hubspot, the global company that coined the term Inbound Marketing in 2005, suggests to chat with them, send them email etc. and thereby meet their need and expectation as an expert advisor.
While Outbound Marketing put much effort in taking attention of the crowd, Inbound Marketing seeks to engage with customers with content that they need.
Inbound Marketing does not interrupt people with its marketing effort, who are doing something else like Outbound Marketing does.
Why the Confusion Concerning the Two Notions is Prevailing:
There has been a deep confusion prevailing in the Digital Marketing community, concerning Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing. The most notable reason behind this confusion is that Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing – both use content to reach out to potential customers.
Another significant reason is that both the marketing approaches use many similar channels to disseminate content. For example, both Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing may use Facebook or any other social media channels to publish content. How will you define this marketing effort? Is it Content Marketing or Inbound Marketing?
It’s both Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing.
Now, let’s make the confusion disappear.
Distinctions Between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing:
Let’s put first thing first, Content Marketing is a part of Inbound Marketing.
Inbound Marketing uses many channels, tactics, and ways to reach out to the potential customers, drive them to a certain website, give them awesome experience, and ultimately help them buy a product. Content Marketing is one of the techniques described above.
What global companies should focus on:
We already have got to realize the differences between Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing. As you know Content Marketing is an element of overall Inbound Marketing approach, it should not be the only way of marketing for global companies.
A global company should focus on Inbound Marketing strategy for many reasons. Global companies cannot be confined to Content Marketing regarding their marketing activities. They must consider many other things like the following:
A. Drive potential customers to the website through different channels:
The first step in the process is to find visitors (potential customers) for your website. You can take many routes to drive visitors to your website. Content Marketing is one of the ways. The following routes can help a global company get visitors to their website.
1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the global context:
SEO is inevitable for global companies. It can help a global brand spread across the border in an easy way. Global companies have to ensure that when a person searches for a certain thing on the internet, he or she finds their business website on the search result.
2) Social media:
Social media has been a great tool for companies to get customers from. In today’s world, it is very difficult to find someone who does not use any social media. Rather, it has been the place for many to roam around for a significant time of the day.
So, your customers are roaming around on social networks and you must reach out to them as a global company. Social media ads and organic posts – both are required to drive visitors to your website.
3) Strategic SEM for different countries:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Paid Search Advertising is a significant tool for Inbound Marketing. Your global brand will appear on the search engine result page (SERP) when the customers are searching for certain products. It is an immense opportunity for global companies as potential customers are already looking for the products you offer.
But you have to be strategic in targeting keywords or search queries.
4) Blogging as a global brand:
Blogging makes a brand trustworthy as it educates certain audience with a topic that they are interested in. For example, you are interested in WordPress website development. You searched on Google with the query “Multivendor WordPress plugin” and clicked on the first result on SERP.
This article is highly educative. Since you got the information that you want, the company Wedevs has been able to build a positive image of the brand in your mind.
Moreover, the visitors who come to your website through this content can also buy your products.
Videos are now trending on various online platforms. Even, you will notice the popularity of videos on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks though they are not basically video sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo. So, videos can be a great way to get visitors to a company’s website.
B. Interacting with potential customers:
You have to give personalized and interactive experience to the visitors of your website. In doing so, you can use many different techniques from interactive landing page to using chatbots and conversation inboxes.
The following can help you engage with your visitors:
You can provide quick answers to your visitors’ query by integrating chatbot on the website. Simply speaking, chatbots are talking or chatting software that uses AI to interact with people.
2) Conversation inbox:
People love to interact with a human, not with technology. It’s true. Conversation inboxes make a website humanly.
When a visitor sees the conversation inbox on your website, he gets motivated to send a message there. Thus your visitors get the opportunity to interact with a real human and you get a loyal potential customer.
3) Email Marketing:
Email Marketing also provides you with a personalized way of communication between you and your potential customers. So, as a global company, you should integrate Email Marketing with your website.
You can collect email addresses of the visitors of your website in many ways and leverage them with personalized Email Marketing.
4) Social media interactions:
Among online platforms, social media is the best place for engaging with your customers. The opportunity is enormous here.
5) Smart lead management:
Global companies should employ smart lead management so they can get the most out of their leads. If you can manage leads properly, you will even be able to offer relevant products to your customers and many more.
C. Give them an awesome experience:
Content Marketing, being one of the ways of Inbound Marketing, helps provide your audiences with an awesome experience.
Besides, you can use the following for giving your customers better experience:
- Marketing automation
- Email Marketing
- Conversations inbox inside the website
I am not explaining these again here to keep the article short and focused.
D. Sell your products:
The following should be considered regarding sales:
- Showcase your products where relevant:
- Make it easy for visitors to find products anywhere on the site:
- Motivate the visitors to buy your products in a way that doesn’t seem too much advertising.
We discussed an ideal marketing approach of global companies above. Now let’s evaluate which marketing approach does the above discussion suggests. Surely it is Inbound Marketing.
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The Final Talk:
A global company has to incorporate many marketing tactics for its success across the border. Therefore, it cannot rely on a single marketing approach.
Global companies need to focus on Inbound Marketing as this marketing approach encompasses most of the techniques needed.
However, I am not saying that Inbound Marketing or any other certain marketing strategy should be the sole focus of a global company.
Rather such a company should smartly employ a flexible marketing strategy that integrates all necessary marketing techniques.