For decades, businesses have relied on outbound marketing to promote their products and services. They bought up big spaces on billboards and in magazines and newspapers. They spent millions on polluting television and radio with ads. They pushed their product on you over and over until you had nothing left but the desire to purchase it.
Then the game changed.
What the Internet and Google have done to marketing is similar to what television did to radio. It took a little while, but it has nearly made outbound marketing obsolete. Now, inbound marketing services such as content writing and social media marketing have become the best way to attract new customers.
Not only have consumers become immune to large advertisers and their marketing budgets, but they’ve actually gone and changed the way they make purchasing decisions. There is simply too much information available. Now, we can perform most of the research ourselves. In fact, we are. According to CEB, 57% of the research is complete before a sales rep is contacted.
What does that mean to marketers?
It means you need to pay attention. Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing. More and more businesses are converting, but still others are holding back. Some don’t know how to develop an inbound marketing strategy. Others don’t know the metrics they need to monitor.
That doesn’t mean your outbound marketing strategy is costing you money.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing is defined by WordStream as the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.
In simpler terms, it’s advertising and cold calling.
Outbound marketing focuses on pushing your product or service onto as many potential customers as often as possible. This makes it hard to track ROI because of the lack of specific data. The easy math of the past was if you spent “X” on advertising, you needed to drive “Y” in sales to make the campaign profitable. But now, instead of wasting money blanketing the whole world, you can focus your energy on your specific demographics and audiences. Then, you can track the relevant data to your KPIs, making it that much easier to track the ROI.
Read this article if you need to find out what is inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing and the New Buying Process
Now, there is simply too much information available to your customers for your marketing strategy to only focus on advertising. Customers are taking the buying process into their own hands. 93% of buying cycles start with an online search. Your potential buyers are performing research on solutions to their problems.
Are you providing those solutions?
The companies that are providing that information are increasing their sales. Why are they giving away information for free?
- To be Found (SEO)
- To Develop Trust
- To Keep Sales Funnel Full
- Brand Awareness (Online Presence)
The best way to develop trust with your potential buyers is to provide solutions to their problems by using inbound marketing. This includes regularly blogging about topics relevant to your potential buyers. But it also means developing the different types of inbound marketing content your potential buyers need to make intelligent buying decisions. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- White papers
To develop trust, you need to be seen by your customers as a source of information. Then, when they do decide to contact a sales rep, they’ll remember which companies helped them get to that point.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
Changing from Outbound Marketing to Inbound Marketing
Outbound marketing worked in the past because of a lack of technology. As a result, customers spent generations being pummeled by advertising. Now, we’re all immune. Plus, we’ve developed more technology to make advertising even less effective, such as ad blockers and DVRs.
That doesn’t mean outbound marketing is completely useless. It’s important to know your target audience and how to reach them. More often then not, finding a balance between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the best approach.
Many companies are embracing inbound marketing as their outbound strategies become less relevant. Instead of wasting time and money pushing out noise, focus on developing trust with your potential buyers. That’s why B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.
To begin, create buyer personas so that you can always tailor your message to specific people. That will keep you from posting without specific goals. Focus on answering the questions your target audience is asking at the different points in the buying process. Develop trust and provide solutions without selling. There will be plenty of time to sell later.
Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy
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Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses
SEO vs. SEM
What is Inbound Marketing?
What is a Landing Page?
SEO and Optimized Content
Inbound Marketing Services
Social Media Marketing
Generate more leads through properly structured content. Copyright Mike D. O’Brien 2016