5 Techniques to Explain Inbound Marketing to Your Family This Thanksgiving

Picture this: You‘re sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table, enjoying some delicious turkey and stuffing. Then, your well-meaning but slightly nosy aunt turns to you and asks the dreaded question:

"So, what exactly do you do for work again? You‘re in…marketing?"

If you work in inbound marketing, you know the struggle. Trying to explain concepts like content creation, lead nurturing, and marketing automation to family members who still have AOL email addresses can feel like an uphill battle.

But fear not! With a little creativity and patience, you can get your loved ones to understand (and maybe even appreciate) what you do. Here are five techniques you can use to explain inbound marketing this Turkey Day:

1. The Cooking Analogy

One surefire way to get through to your family is with a relatable analogy – and what‘s more relatable than food? You can use the process of cooking Thanksgiving dinner to illustrate how inbound marketing works:

  • Attracting your ideal "diners" with an enticing menu (your content)
  • Engaging them in the "kitchen" with delightful smells and friendly conversation (lead nurturing)
  • Delighting them with an amazing meal, so they‘ll want to come back next year and tell all their friends (customer success and word-of-mouth marketing)

Here‘s how it might play out:

You: You know how when you‘re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you put a lot of thought into the menu to make sure there‘s something for everyone? Maybe you have a vegan option for cousin Sara, or a gluten-free stuffing for Grandpa Joe. That‘s kind of like how I create different types of content to attract different buyer personas.

Aunt: Okay, I think I get it. So the content is like the appetizers that get people interested?

You: Exactly! And once they‘re "in the kitchen," engaging with my content, I‘m nurturing those leads by providing more valuable information and building trust over time, just like you do by chatting with everyone while you‘re cooking. The end goal is to delight them with an amazing "meal" – in my case, that‘s a product or service that perfectly meets their needs.

2. The Fishing Analogy

If your family is more into outdoor activities than cooking, try this fishing analogy on for size:

  • Bait (Content): Just like a fisherman carefully selects the right bait to catch a specific type of fish, inbound marketers create targeted content to attract their ideal buyers.

  • Luring (Lead Nurturing): Once a fish starts nibbling on the bait, you don‘t just yank the line and reel it in right away. You let out more line and let the fish get comfortable. With inbound, we "lure in" interested leads by providing relevant information and building a relationship over time.

  • Catching (Conversion): After attracting the right fish and letting it get hooked, it‘s time to reel it in! For marketers, this is the conversion stage where a lead becomes a customer.

You: Dad, you know how when you‘re fishing, you use different bait depending on what you‘re trying to catch? Like worms for bass, or those little plastic squid for trout? That‘s kind of what I do with inbound marketing.

Dad: Okay, so the content is the bait. Then what?

You: Well, once you get a nibble, you don‘t just reel it right in, right? You let the fish get comfortable, maybe let out some more line. That‘s what I‘m doing when I nurture leads with things like email campaigns and personalized content recommendations.

Dad: Got it. So what‘s the equivalent of actually catching the fish?

You: That‘s when the lead is ready to buy and converts into a paying customer! The key is that with inbound, I‘m not using intrusive tactics like chasing the fish around the boat with a net. I‘m attracting them naturally and letting them come to me.

3. The Matchmaking Analogy

Looking for love and attracting customers actually have a lot in common. Here‘s how you can compare inbound marketing to matchmaking:

  • Creating a Profile (Content Creation): Just like a single person might create a dating profile highlighting their best qualities, inbound marketers create content that showcases their company‘s expertise and unique value.

  • Searching for Matches (SEO & Distribution): Online daters use search filters to find potential matches. Similarly, marketers use SEO and content distribution to get their content in front of the right people.

  • First Date (Lead Nurturing): A first date is all about getting to know the other person and building trust. Lead nurturing does the same through targeted content and personalized follow-up.

  • Relationship (Customer Relationship): If all goes well, a first date turns into a committed relationship. Inbound marketing is focused on long-term relationships, not one-time transactions.

You: Grandma, have any of your friends tried online dating? Creating content for inbound marketing is actually pretty similar.

Grandma: Oh really? How so?

You: Well, you know how they have to create a profile that shows off their best qualities? That‘s kind of like how I create content that highlights what our company is all about. Then I use things like search engine optimization – that‘s kind of like using search filters on a dating app – to make sure the right people find it.

Grandma: And then what? They just get married right away?

You: No, it‘s more like going on a first date! I nurture the relationship by providing valuable information and building trust over time. The goal is a long-term relationship, not a one-time sale.

4. The Farming Analogy

Want to appeal to the green thumbs in your family? Compare inbound marketing to planting and growing crops:

  • Planting Seeds (Content Creation): Farmers plant seeds in nutrient-rich soil to yield a bountiful harvest. Inbound marketers "plant" educational content to attract potential customers.

  • Nurturing Growth (Lead Nurturing): Crops need sunlight, water, and ongoing care to thrive. Leads need personalized content and follow-up to move them closer to a sale.

  • Harvesting (Customer Conversion): After carefully tending to their fields, farmers reap the rewards at harvest time. Marketers who excel at lead nurturing "harvest" new customers and revenue.

You: Uncle Joe, your garden is looking great this year! You know, inbound marketing is actually a lot like gardening.

Uncle Joe: How do you figure?

You: Well, creating content is kind of like planting seeds. I‘m providing helpful information that I hope will take root and grow over time. Then I nurture those leads with things like targeted email campaigns, kind of like how you water and fertilize your plants.

Uncle Joe: Huh, I guess that makes sense. So what‘s the harvest in this analogy?

You: That‘s when those nurtured leads turn into paying customers! But just like with gardening, it‘s not a one-and-done process. I‘m focused on tending to those customer relationships for the long haul, so they‘ll keep coming back and recommending us to others.

5. The Bank Account Analogy

For the more business-savvy members of your family, a financial analogy might do the trick:

  • Making Deposits (Providing Value): Just like you need to consistently put money into a bank account to see it grow, inbound marketers need to constantly "deposit" value in the form of educational content and helpful resources.

  • Earning Interest (Generating Leads): Over time, those value "deposits" start to pay off in the form of leads – potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer.

  • Making a Withdrawal (Closed Deals): Once you‘ve built up enough relationship capital, you can finally "make a withdrawal" by asking for the sale and closing the deal.

You: Hey sis, I know you work in finance, so let me put this in terms you‘ll understand. Inbound marketing is all about making consistent deposits – but instead of money, I‘m depositing value in the form of really helpful content.

Sister: Okay, I‘m tracking. So how do you measure the return on those "deposits"?

You: Great question! Over time, those value deposits start to generate interest in the form of leads – people who are interested in our products or services. And once I‘ve nurtured those leads and built up enough trust, I can finally make a "withdrawal" by asking for their business.

Sister: That makes sense. So it‘s about playing the long game and building relationships, not just going for the quick sale?

You: Exactly! It‘s like saving up for a big purchase instead of just swiping a credit card and going into debt. Slow and steady wins the race.

Bringing It All Together

No matter which analogy you choose, the key is to break down the inbound methodology into terms your family can understand and relate to. Focus on the core concepts of attracting the right audience, engaging them with valuable content, and delighting them as customers.

Remember, you‘re not just trying to explain what you do – you‘re trying to help your loved ones understand the value of inbound marketing. When they can see how it benefits both businesses and customers, they‘ll be more likely to grasp (and maybe even get excited about) your chosen career path.

Of course, there‘s always a chance that despite your best efforts, your relatives still won‘t quite "get it." And that‘s okay! At the end of the day, what matters most is that you‘re passionate about the work you do and the results you achieve for your company or clients.

So this Thanksgiving, be patient, get creative, and keep things light. Who knows – you might just inspire a family member to make a career change and join you in the wild world of inbound marketing. Stranger things have happened!

And if all else fails, there‘s always the tried-and-true fallback: "I write articles on the internet for a living." At least that will give you more time to focus on what really matters this holiday season – diving into that delicious pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the hardworking inbound marketers out there! May your turkey be moist, your conversations be fruitful, and your lead generation be plentiful.