Is your marketing strategy headed down a dead-end street?
We all have that one friend whose stories never seem to end, that one person that we want to hang out with every once in awhile, but always regret it afterwards. Remember the feeling of being stuck in an infinite loop of their monologues? By the end of the coffee break, you have heard about the greatest thing that has ever happened to them, and the second greatest thing, and the third and the twenty-sixth.
In all honesty, for most of the meetup you are bombarded with the information you might not even be interested in. At one point (probably while drifting off during one of their monologues) you probably realized you should be making new friendships with people who actually listen to your stories, value your opinions and share your interests and ideas, instead of the ones who only use you for your pair of ears.
You see, marketing and friendship have a lot in common. Both are a two-way street. If you are only exposed to content without being given space to utter a thing, what is the point of partaking in the dialogue? Are you being treated respectfully? And should you make new friends/choose a new marketing strategy? Well, according to Barney’s rule - you should, because:
New vs Old Approach: Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
Do you use an ad blocker for your browsers? Do you record your favourite shows just to fast-forward through the ads? Are your local telemarketers saved in your contacts list under “DO NOT ANSWER FOR THE LOVE OF GOD”? If so, you are unconsciously blocking out the outbound marketing tactics.
Instead of the boring definitions, allow us to show you a few examples and types of outbound marketing. TV commercials, billboards (those huge smiling faces and cringey messages you used to read while stuck in traffic, before smartphones), telemarketing, direct mail and online advertisements are perfect prototypes of the traditional marketing.
Businesses that use outbound strategies are “pushing out” their message to promote a product. That may sound smart, but bear in mind that buyers in the outbound marketing process are not targeted with any real precision. Most of the people who see the ad might not even be interested in their product whatsoever.
Traditional marketing campaigns tend to be interruptive and to the contemporary society - extremely annoying. Did you know that a person is exposed to as much as 2000 ads per day via outbound marketing? Modern-day customers are finding new ways to dodge traditional marketing that infiltrates their lives through mass media and drains time and energy. Just look at the adoption rates of ad blocking software:
Adblock usage is up worldwide [Image Credit: Business Insider]
Outbound marketing is frequently discredited due to its overall similar marketing patterns that create a gap between business and buyer. Using outbound marketing tactics is like driving down a dead-end street. One-way communication lacks subjective feedback from customers. It alienates an audience from the business and brand itself.
With the rapid pace of marketing technology, marketers decided to put the focus to focusing on what customers want, rather than deciding for them. Since then, inbound strategies have been changing the world of marketing as we know it, irrevocably.
Inbound marketing is client-oriented businesses that “pull in” potential customers to their doorstep. On one end are buyers that are searching for things they are interested in. On the other end are companies that create relevant content around their customers’ preferences.
Now more than ever customers want to feel like they are in control of their own buyer's journey. Potential customers are indirectly persuaded into buying your products instead of being “attacked” via ads and salesmen.
All types of inbound marketing use two-way communication. This allows buyers to be heard and additionally engages them into the process of buying, thus creating a solid bond between brand and consumer.
Inbound your business and turn your customers into brand lovers
If you have just started your own business, you are most certainly looking for ways to advertise your brand. One of the first things startup founders dwell on is reach. The thing we cannot stress enough is that reach doesn’t mean much in the buying process - if you’re reaching the wrong audience. The amount of people seeing your brand is not as important as if the people who are seeing it are relevant for your business.
The second thing you think about is obviously the financial side of the story. Everybody wants to make the most out of their monetary investment and with inbound marketing you will get your money’s worth in no time, as inbound strategies will pull your audience to your product.
Blog posts, email newsletters, videos and social media, content in general - those are just few of many examples of inbound marketing which offer your business a boost in the dot com world. But how does it all work?
First of all, you need to research buyer personas. The information you collect from several leads should create an ideal buyer profile. This will help you identify challenges and pain points of your potential consumers and create a proper strategy for your company.
After this step you create content using the above-mentioned findings. The content is the nucleus of inbound marketing and as such it should always captivate buyer’s attention in order to potentially create more leads.
The feedback you receive is always a good thing. Even if you face negative comments, you must accept them for what they are - suggestions to change and improve your approach. With your customers’ feedback, you are able to advance your business and always thrive for more and better.
Since inbound marketing suggests two-way communication, you and your business are not the only ones that prosper in the process. The personal segment of inbound marketing is what creates the love for the brand.
Search engines give buyers so much freedom nowadays. They are given possibility to opt for the best service for their needs. The content you create and the communication with the customers is what gets buyers hooked.
The last time you searched something on your engine was five minutes ago and it led you here. Barney was right. New is always better..