Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: What's Best?

 
It’s important to understand the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing in order to create a marketing strategy that works for your small business.
In a nutshell, outbound marketing is when the marketer goes after prospects, while inbound marketing is when prospects come to the marketer.

Think about the story of Muhammad and the mountain, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, Muhammad will go to the mountain.” Muhammad was perhaps the very first inbound marketer!

Here’s a little more detail.

Outbound Marketing


Outbound marketing is the more traditional of the two. It’s all about sending your marketing message out to as many people as possible.
It uses big-media platforms to reach masses of people:
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Cold calling
  • Print ads

Outbound marketing is obviously much more expensive because these big-media platforms are so pricey.

But, they can be effective if you have loads of money and brand recognition. That’s why companies like Coca-cola and Target are still using them.

There are two main problems with outbound marketing:

  1. You’re marketing to people who are not necessarily interested in your product or services.
  2. Consumers are getting really good at dodging, skipping, and ignoring these kinds of marketing tactics.

Outbound marketing values the number of people seeing the message over the number of people actively looking for services like yours.

Inbound Marketing


“Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is all about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.” – David Meerman Scott

As an inbound marketer, you are going to identify prospects who are already looking for your particular products and services. You then identify specific problems that your prospects face and offer customized solutions to solve those problems.

HubSpot put together a list of quotes from inbound marketing experts to illustrate how any small business owner can become a stellar inbound marketer.

This kind of marketing is much cheaper because it relies on practices such as content creation, incentives, and free offers.

Because it is significantly less inexpensive, inbound marketing is often utilized by micro-business owners and small business owners.

Mashable published a great infographic detailing the difference between outbound and inbound marketing strategies.

Inbound marketing is here to stay and getting more effective each and every day.
If you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, then you need to take a closer look at inbound marketing.

Here are various components of inbound marketing:

 Content Creation

As a small business owner, you have to constantly create content.

Pick your strength and focus primarily on creating written, audio, or visual content. But, at the same time, have a variety so your business appeals to all types of learners.

Written Content:
  • Blogs
  • Interview with an expert in the field
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Press releases
  • Special reports
  • Ezines
  • Newsletters
  • Articles
  • Written presentations (Powerpoint, Prezi, Keynote, Slideshow…)

Audio content:
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews with an expert in the field
  • Teleseminars
  • Jingles

Graphic Content:
  • Infographics
  • Mind maps
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Cartoons

content:
  • How-to videos
  • Video interviews with an expert in the field
  • Screen-capture videos
  • Movies
  • Webinars

Incentives and Free Offers

Inbound marketing is all about getting your prospects to come to you. And, once they visit your storefront or website, you need to offer them some kind of incentive in order to move them through the marketing funnel.

But first, decide what you would like in return.

Don’t focus on making a sale just yet. Instead think about creating a new prospect or lead so that you can continue to market great content to them.

A few options might include:
  • Signing up for your email list
  • Following you on a social media account
  • Signing up for your mailing list

Don’t ask them to do anything that will take a lot of time or cost money. You just want to start a relationship with your prospects.

But it’s not enough to simply ask your prospects to sign up for your email list, you need to give them a FREE incentive as well.

You can offer any of the above pieces of content for free.

Of course, even if it’s free, it needs to be something that your visitor would actually pay money to receive. Your free offering is a glimpse into your small business, so take the time to ensure that its a top quality representation.

Outbound marketing is moving toward complete extinction mainly due to its cost and non-personal connection with prospects.

In its place, inbound marketing promises a low-cost, highly effective solution for small business owners on a shoestring budget.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the inbound marketing train. It’s sure to bring you much closer to your overall marketing goals.

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