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ID San Diego: Why Advantageous Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Unfair

Kristina Eastham | Digitaria
By Kristina Eastham , Digital Strategist | @kreastham
Jun 1, 2011

At today’s Interactive Day San Diego, SEOmoz.org’s Rand Fishkin proved an engaging speaker as he made a case against “The Unfair Advantage of Inbound Marketing.”

Inbound marketing is an unfair advantage, comparable to buying a house: both are investments that you can continue to live in (or off of) for years to come. Outbound marketing methods, such as paid search, purchased email lists, or any type of display or social media advertising, can be compared to renting a house. When the rent money runs out, you get run out, too.

But unlike the housing analogy, inbound marketing doesn’t have to be unfair. Inbound marketing has low barriers to entry: No qualifying for loans, and no huge down payments. In fact, getting started can be even less costly than outbound methods and -- according to Hubspot’s 2010 State of Inbound Marketing Report -- “inbound-dominated organizations average 60% lower cost per lead than outbound-dominated organizations.”

Inbound marketing, defined broadly, is anything created of value that can be shared and, eventually, brings clients to you. Inbound marketing is a great way for you to demonstrate your expertise while providing relevant tools to your potential customers, and it goes against all the sales-y, direct-response-style marketing that’s burned consumers out.

Inbound marketing includes organic search, blogs and social sites, opt-in email lists and videos. But it can also be simply the participation in forums or Q&A answers, links shared by partners or friend, user profiles with commenting and more.

Formidable tools exist to make inbound marketing even more efficient, with lower costs. During Rand’s 50-minute presentation, he named tool after tool that may (or may not!) be relevant to you and your business’s inbound marketing strategy.

There are a few ways to figure out what tools are right for you, and Rand offered this four-step process:
1. Discover: Do research and make a list of tools that sound promising.
2. Test: Invest the time necessary (Rand recommends a few hours a day) in building authentic value in that niche.
3. Measure: Use analytics tools to track primary and second-order impact.
4. Repeat: Repeat high-ROI tools and programs and throw out the rest.

See Rand’s presentation on slideshare (another tool your company may or may not need to be using) and for more on what Digitaria did at Interactive Day San Diego, check out our Twitter feed @digithoughts.