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Reports show more companies turn to inbound marketing – but content may soon be paid for

Richard Bell

The latest annual State of Inbound Marketing Report from HubSpot has predicted a huge shift, over the course of 2013, in the way companies market themselves.

According to the report, around 60% of companies will turn to inbound marketing, which encompasses a range of strategies – from video content, blogs and e-newsletters to the implementation of a social media strategy. Inbound marketing differs greatly from outbound marketing because it is largely a passive, unobtrusive process; customers are encouraged to visit a website for its unique, industry relevant and interesting content.

Marketers are, on average, setting aside around a third of their marketing budgets for inbound strategies, while almost half expect their overall marketing spends to increase in 2013.

Inbound marketing works towards improving conversion rates – drawing people to a site and encouraging them to make purchases without being sales heavy.

While research has shown that users appreciate relevant content, another study published earlier this month suggested that a large number of online sources may start charging readers to access their content – placing it behind what is known as a ‘paywall’.

Conducted by Simon Kucher & Partners, a pricing consultancy, the study predicted that a large portion of online content – up to 90% – could soon be held behind a paywall. It claimed to have collected the opinions of 2,700 decision-makers from companies all over the world, and predicted an end to the current ‘free for all’ culture.

The Simon Kucher & Partners study further highlights the importance of providing free, top quality content – since making content readily available for users could work towards setting a company apart from the crowd.

Overall, inbound marketing is considered one of the best ways to increase ROI. HubSpot’s annual report also found that around 80% of companies have experienced positive ROI as a result of running an industry relevant blog.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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