Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing Strategy
Traditional marketing has been around for decades. When we talk about traditional marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is an outbound marketing strategy. Is this the right way to get customers in this day and age? Consumers do not have the same expectations they did a year or two ago, never mind a decade ago. They are arm full of information at all times and outbound marketing as a strategy is proving to be out of date. Comparing outbound to inbound marketing is like looking at apples and oranges side by side. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Let us take a closer look at the details below!
The Concept of Outbound Marketing
Before we get to Inbound Marketing we need to establish what Outbound Marketing is.
Do you have a firm understanding of the concept of an outbound marketing strategy? If you do, great! If not, we will go into it in more depth here. The idea of outbound marketing as an approach is that businesses reach out to potential customers. They are pushing products or services onto customers. The most common way to do this is via cold calling.
Outbound marketing was the most common form of marketing in most industries over the past 25+ years.
Cold calling is no longer the only way, or the best way, to pull in customers. The introduction if inbound marketing as a strategy comes into play now days.
Inbound marketing is very different in that you are bringing customers to you. Rather than reaching out to customers and pushing products or services on them, you are raising their awareness and giving them education. You are trying to solve problems for a customer and leading them to your products or services as a solution, rather than the other way around.
A simple example of inbound marketing in comparison to outbound marketing is the problem of a customer that needs a new car. The customer may have ideas as to what they want in a new vehicle, details on the features and the accessories. If it were an outbound marketing strategy you had, you would be calling and just tossing out deals on random cars, trying to hit on their needs without knowing them.
Inbound marketing works differently as you would have information that your vehicles available via your website, social media, or in some other manner. The customer would search online, find your site based on their desired criteria and match themselves up. You did not push the car onto them; you merely put quality information out that matches their particular need.
Traditional Advertising and Sales Are Fading Away
The traditional methods of doing advertising and sales are dying; it is as simple as that. Companies that do not adopt new marketing methodology will falter as time goes on. Don’t get left in the dust due to your lack of knowledge about the latest techniques.
It is time to arm yourself with a new strategy, with a new technique to get customers for life, making it easier to attract them initially and keep them returning for more.
The goal of any company sales team is never to have to make a cold call again. With inbound marketing as a sound strategy, you never have to! If you do decide to cold call, you will find the success will be that much higher in your inbound marketing than on a telephone.
Get Customers to Contact You
The goal for all companies should be to have customers coming to them for information or solutions to their problems. When customers can contact you with questions, looking for advice, you are on the correct track to becoming an authority in your industry.
Let’s think about a business that is doing quite well. The business brings in $20 million per year in revenue and has a product with margins on the higher end of the spectrum. Now assume this is mostly a sales business, with a makeup of sales employees.
On a daily basis, the employees would start out with a listing of leads. The leads were purchased by the company, costing them a lot of money and eating into their profit margins. Once the leads were acquired, the sales employees would begin to do cold calls. Hundreds of these calls happen every single day. The goal of the cold call was to demo the customer on the service. The reality, though, is that cold calling does not work as it did before.
Whenever a sales individual calls a lead, and they get hung up on, which is common, that costs money. Employees are paid salary, benefits, all so that they can get hung up on dozens upon dozens of times. It makes for a hard work environment, as well as a way for revenue to be consumed rapidly, driving down profit margins.
If you owned the company above, if you could have a better way of bringing in customers, getting them to want to demo your service, wouldn’t that be easier? Wouldn’t that increase your revenue and also your profit margins at the same time?
Money Out the Window
With outbound marketing, every single time someone does cold calling, you are spending. You may not realize the spend, but it is continually happening. Say a sales employee makes 200 phone calls in a given day. If they get hung up on 150 times, with each call taking a minute, that is over two hours wasted on the phone. No profit is coming in from those two hours, the employee is making no progress, and he or she is getting burnt out. It is a hard job that is not conducive to long-term success. Think about the money going out the window as a result of cold calling failures alone!
Employees doing cold calls without making sales end up getting fired for lack of productivity, killing the office morale and driving down the overall business performance.
Your Potential Customers Are Smarter These Days
Consumers are smarter than ever before. Cold calling is ineffective, not because of the sales team, but due to changes in consumer behaviour. Customers do not want to hear what they want or even what they need. They want to discover it on their own! They want to be able to search online, come to revelations about the perfect product or service, and then make decisions that they see as best for them. Cold calling, in the fast-paced world with information everywhere, is an archaic way or trying to sell anything.
Consumer intelligence is on the rise. They have equiped themselves to make decisions. When was the last time you went to a new restaurant? Did you check out reviews of the restaurant online before you went? I bet you did! That is the behavior consumers desire in this day and age. They will look up reviews and make decisions based on experiences others have had, based on knowledge they have acquired. A product such as paper towels can have thousands of reviews on Amazon and consumers will compare one type to the next to see what work for them.
Consumers ignore everything. If you get a phone call from a number, you do not recognise, most of the time you do not answer. If you do answer, you probably hang up as soon as it is an unfamiliar voice. This is exactly why cold calling does not work. You may even have voicemails on your phone that are weeks or even months old you have not listened to. We have so much information coming at us now constantly; we do not have time to waste.
Consumers also are ignorant of ads, ignoring them at all costs. Look at software such as Adblock with well over 100 million users. The reason that the user base is so high isn’t due to the lacking quality of the ads; it is because consumers do not want to face the bother. If they want something, they seek it out on their own!
Inbound Marketing is the Answer
Inbound marketing is the answer to all of the marketing issues above. You do not advertise to consumers anymore. Instead, you have to help consumers and show them quality information to make informed decisions.
Customers will have needs. The manner those needs get met is on their time though, not yours. They do not want to hear about your product or service. They want to hear problem-solving opportunity. If your product or service is the answer, and they like the solution, the purchase happens.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting an audience to your business. Instead of trying to force feed them your product or service, you bring them to you. You do this by answering questions, solving their problems, and building a relationship. Once you have the relationships established and some trust gain made, you can then take the next step by showing them how you are the answer go-forward.
Content Marketing at Work
You bring customers to you via inbound marketing using quality content. You have to identify the main problems of your target customer. Once you do that, work to write articles about those problems and how you have solved them in the past. Push blog content out there that is authoritative that has high-quality information. When customers read that information, they will begin to know your business, know what it offers. They will join your mailing list, sign up for information. That is when you can then start to send them great answers via e-mail, via more posts, your community. It is at that time you can then convert them into customers.
Search engine optimisation can get you the results you desire. Start to figure out those top problems the target customers are facing. Tie them into keywords, both short and long-tail to rank higher on search engines. When customers search for the answer to a problem, you want to be the destination.
Once you are on the radar of a customer, it is then that you can begin to see the revenue dollars roll in, and profit margins go up. Forget cold calling. Look to search engine optimisation and inbound marketing strategies for long-term success and results over time!
Its time to get your inbound marketing strategy in place and start seeing regular sales leads!