Outbound Marketing is Becoming Outdated.
Like it or not, marketing has changed significantly in the past several years for one very important reason: the internet. Before the internet, most communication between businesses and their potential customers involved Traditional, or Outbound, methods—TV commercials, print ads, cold calls, and so on.
Today’s customers are savvy. They no longer rely on businesses to convince them what they need. Instead, customers now use the internet to conduct research, compare options, and make purchases. Customers aren’t looking to be persuaded; they want help making an informed decision, and they are using the internet to find it.
This shift in buyer behavior is an opportunity to target qualified leads with Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing techniques.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a set of methods and techniques that attracts prospects to your site with helpful, relevant content. Once there, it guides them through the sales journey and ultimately encourages them to become a repeat customer.
The Inbound Marketing methodology is built on four fundamental steps:
1. Attract: Attract Visitors to your website by publishing relevant, helpful, up-to-date content in blog posts, social media, videos, and more. These are not designed to sell; they are designed to inform. Because buyers conduct online research using search engines like Google, a vital component of attracting Visitors is using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that your site is high on the list of search engine results. Aligning the content on your site with the search engine’s algorithms increases the likelihood that prospects will find your site.
2. Convert: Now that more Visitors are on your site, the next step is to present Visitors with a call-to-action. In exchange for contact info—usually an email address—Visitors can gain access to advanced content of your choice, such as exclusive downloads, email updates, live chat, and more. That Visitor is now a qualified Lead. They are certainly interested, and now you have a way of tracking them and even reaching out to them.
3. Close: Time to close the sale. Tracking Lead behavior on your site using various analytics, you can determine what step of the sales journey your Leads are on. This gives your sales team insight on what conversation they need to have to make the Lead a Customer.
4. Delight: The journey doesn’t end with a Close. Continuing to provide value to an existing Customer after a sale, or “Delighting” them, keeps the relationship going. It gives you a chance to upsell, it encourages them to become repeat customers, and it even spurs them to promote your brand to others.
Advantages over Outbound Marketing
Traditional Outbound Marketing techniques like print ads, TV commercials, and other methods try to push their message onto a huge audience. These methods can sometimes be effective, especially when the product or service being offered is something that virtually everyone needs—food, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. However, if your product or service is something for a more niche market, your campaign will be wasted on the vast majority of the audience. Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on attracting prospects who are already looking for what you have to offer.
Outbound Marketing techniques are also very expensive. Shooting a TV commercial or creating print materials become very costly very quickly. By focusing all efforts on interested prospects instead, Inbound Marketing is much more cost effective, giving a much greater Return on Investment.
As marketing specialist Guy Kawaski put it, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.”
As you can see in the battle between Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing, inbound is gaining favor due to the ability to target audiences, reduce costs and improve a business’s ROI. The best marketing strategies however, take into account where your audience is and the best way to reach them. Many times that means a combination of Inbound and Outbound marketing tactics are necessary.