Digital marketers swear by the business methodology that is inbound marketing. The strategy is centered on content creation, using the principles of a sales funnel and SEO maximization. From a customer’s point of view, it serves as a helping hand guiding them on what your product does and how it can help them solve a problem. Its unobtrusive nature has proven effective over the years, but trends are changing and if you want to keep up, you must adapt with them.
It was Brian Halligan, CEO, and co-founder of HubSpot, who came up with the concept of inbound marketing in 2005. It was not until 2012 that it took off. Since then the strategy has evolved, shifting its axes of understanding from a funnel to a customer flywheel. It still is a great tool to use, but customer behaviors and the changing internet landscape do not forecast a bright future for this marketing tactic. Here is why:
When it comes to businesses, it’s all about money. Organic acquisition costs are rising and it will become more expensive to use this tactic.
According to research, over the past five years, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) has gone up by around 50%. However, they also found that while CAC is still higher than that of content marketing, the gap is fast closing up. Across the board, the wages of marketers are on the rise, so the content is becoming expensive to produce. Combined with Google’s use of the topic cluster model that demands specialized knowledge, inbound marketing is maturing and only those firms that have money to spend will be able to sustain this strategy.
Google’s New Features for SERP
Search engine optimization has, for a long time, played a huge role in the kind of content firms generate. Getting on top of the search engine result page (SERP) meant increased traffic for websites which lead to increased sales. However, their recently introduced featured snippets box ensures that users stay on Google.
The search engine extracts the most relevant information from websites and displays it in a box for users to see. In many cases, the users are satisfied and don’t wish to click on the site from where the content is posted. Content hosted on another website may then lose value and become superfluous. Similarly, the People Also Ask boxes show queries related to the user’s original question on the SERP as well. When a user clicks on another query, Google expands the list of queries by adding two to four more. Again, we find that users are less interested in visiting the original site.
The changing SERP design means a greater risk of your site link disappearing from results shown on mobile devices.
Social Media Sites Are Now Gated
Around a decade ago, when inbound marketing was emerging, social media platforms were open and fluid. You clicked on a link of interest and were transferred seamlessly to an external website hosting the original content. There were no rigid boundaries then. Now, it’s not the same.
Each platform aims to maximize users on its site to monetize its traffic. The algorithms thus have changed. Where once you could create content on your site and share it on social media for promotion, now sites also need to produce content specific to these platforms. For your content to transcend social media platforms, the content must be clear and distinctive, versatile in its forms to get the most views.
Introduction of GDPR
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation operational in the EU since 2018 that deals with the protection and privacy of data not just in the EU but also in the European Economic Area (EEA). It also includes clauses relating to the transfer of personal data from the EU and EEA to the outside. What is important for you to know is how it limits marketers from using data. It may be formulated in the EU but it impacts the way companies interact with consumers around the globe.
The numbers are against us, and we must admit that it’s not like inbound marketing will disappear any time soon. It will evolve and adapt.
What companies will have to do to stay on top is use their cultural heritage to appeal to customers and form a relationship with them. The relationship is changing between brands and consumers, and you must listen to what the customers have to say. The cycle of feedback is getting faster. You must create useful, and respectful content to show that you care. It’s just getting started.
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