Today’s marketing landscape has changed drastically through online tools, social media, and technology that reaches larger markets than before. However, with the influx of information over all media channels, how do you reach customers most effectively? Understand how inbound vs. outbound marketing works, and you’ll discover the best way to reach them.
Outbound Marketing on the Outs
In the past, companies relied upon “outbound marketing” strategies. These include trade shows, email blasts, and cold calls. These techniques attempt to gather customers by throwing out a wide net and hoping for a bite. Unfortunately, in recent times these efforts have proven less effective in the marketing landscape. They’re often expensive.
According to Hub Spot, the average human experiences 2,000 interruptions each day. Your customers receive thousands upon thousands of advertising messages. Email blasts, tweets, and posts inundate them with information on the latest product, deal, or news. How can you cut through the clutter?
Customers’ behavior is changing as they are become better at removing themselves from these interruptions and essentially harder to reach with outbound marketing. According to Voltaire Digital, “84% of 24- to 35-year-olds have left a website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertisement.” In addition, “44% of direct mail is unopened.” These two statistics prove that people are fed up with the amount of intrusion they experience. Outbound marketing isn’t cutting it anymore.
Inbound vs. Outbound: The Watering Hole
Many companies spend a majority of their marketing efforts on outbound activity. It would be wise to transition these efforts to match customer behavior. Instead of searching for customers with a wide net, marketing efforts should focus on providing information in the places customers are visiting.
Hubspot describes the change using the analogy of a watering hole. Previously, hunters went into the jungle to hunt animals. Then, they discovered they could just wait near the watering hole for animals to come to them. You can best serve the customers where they visit and get a bigger pool of customers.
How Inbound Marketing Works
Inbound marketing the community of customers you’re seeking find YOU. Focus on search engine optimization, blogging, and social media. Doing so, you will contribute to active conversations. You will become an integral part of the industry discussion. Social media, in particular, creates a strong connection to the customer. The customer can share the information they find, with potential for viral growth and numerous connections. Essentially the net of potential customers becomes endless as the content is shared and aggregated on thousands of channels across the Internet.
Inbound Costs Less
Not only does inbound create more opportunity for sales leads, but it costs less. Social media sites costs little to nothing, and the potential for return on the viral growth is huge. The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report found that “inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61% lower cost per lead than organizations that predominately leverage outbound marketing” (HubSpot).
Social media marketing plans require personnel to maintain them, but one tweet can be shared thousands of times, for free. Also, the more that users share your content, the better you appear in search results.
Direct mail, trade shows, and purchasing ad space are large expenses that can be better spent with inbound tactics. By providing great content and service, you also builds your company brand into a strong a reliable source for industry information.
Inbound Benefits Customers
Inbound marketing also provides added value to customers. Customers drink up information about the industry they are searching. You can provide it via your “watering hole.” Outbound marketing simply interrupts a customer’s experience, not adding any extra value. Inbound marketing gives the customers a reason to come back to learn more. Their desire for entertainment and information will drive the potential for a sale and more leads.
Since the customer landscape is changing, it is imperative that companies pay attention to the best ways to find customers. Instead of sticking to outdated and expensive methods of marketing, seek new methods. Consider inbound vs. outbound marketing. The change could pay dividends in brand awareness and overall sales. Eventually, customers will shut out companies that continue to focus their efforts on outbound marketing. Inbound marketing has vast benefits over outbound marketing. As such, you should put it at the forefront of your marketing efforts.
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