This article is featured in the July issue of our newsletter. Check it out for an update on all of our news this month! And be on the lookout for our upcoming white paper, which discusses some of our best inbound marketing tips and shares some of our favorite tools! Let us know if you want to be included in our monthly white papers, which discuss a selected topic more in-depth.
With ever-increasing access to technology, an evolution of the marketplace is taking place. People are more in control of the how’s, why’s, what’s and when’s of a potential purchase than ever before. This means smart marketing of the products and services your small business offers also needs to evolve, to keep up with consumer behavior.
Marketing strategies of a decade ago (or more) don’t quite appease today’s consumer appetites. Traditional marketing strategies such as print/media advertising, billboard/banner ads, paid or rented lists, tradeshow booths, seminars and direct mailings have always been a punch to the pocketbook for small businesses, and may not be as effective as today’s alternatives. Consumers who are eager and quick to educate themselves about their buying options also tend to find these traditional types of marketing increasingly intrusive.
Inbound Marketing And Outbound Marketing
Recent trends in marketing known as Inbound Marketing, aim to earn (rather than buy) peoples’ interest by adding some sort of value (such as usable, educational information) to draw people to your message. This type of relationship aspires to two-way, interactive communication between your company and your contacts, and here’s some great news – in many cases, Inbound Marketing methods are significantly less expensive than traditional means!
Examples of current Inbound Marketing trends include:
- creation of books, e-books or other print media
- article contribution and blogging
- podcasts and videos
- public relations and public speaking opportunities
- community building and thought leadership
- word of mouth and viral online content
- website content creation and marketing
- optimization of a your company’s website to obtain best search engine results
This kind of sharing helps create a positive connection with potential customers. Nurturing a positive culture within one’s own company can help drive solid connections among employees – and that will extend to others, too.
Outbound Marketing consists of seeking out potential customers and “pushing” your message through. Also known as “interruptive marketing”, these traditional strategies interrupt consumers’ flow of activity with the company’s message (such as spam or unsolicited emails, Internet pop-up ads, mailings to paid/rented email lists, video ads, print, tv, radio, banner, billboard ads, tradeshow booths, direct mail flyers, etc).
Here’s a good infographic, illustrating Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing models and some documented results of each.
A significant differentiating factor in marketing models boils down to ROI. Inbound Marketing tends to be less costly to implement and maintain, real-revenue generating (as opposed to collecting gobs of questionably-qualified leads), and real loyalty-producing (because you are regularly sharing with customers and potential customers solid, valuable info they can count on).
Inbound Marketing does require varying degrees of time investment for creation of quality, shareable information, by either yourself or support staff. Training on the various marketing tools that are readily available for content and communication management and analysis/reporting may also be necessary – much of it easily and inexpensively available online.
We hope you’ll be on the lookout for our upcoming July White Paper, which explores this topic a little more in-depth and provides some helpful references and links to some of our favorite Inbound Marketing tools and websites! Let us know if we can advise your further on any aspects of inbound marketing for your business - we'd be glad to help!