Print ads, banner ads, cold calling, TV advertising, junk mail—these methods are what we refer to as “outbound marketing”. With outbound marketing strategies, businesses branch out to locate and find customers while invading their world with ads. With DVRs and spam filters on the rise, outbound marketers are seeing their advertising dollars dwindle right before their eyes.
Not to sound too negative about outbound marketing—there is a time and a place for it and companies have built their businesses around these types of advertising techniques. And in many instances, they still work, albeit not as much they used to. After all, why do you think Jennifer Lopez was dancing with a Fiat during her performance at the American Music Awards? Fiat must understand that consumers are forwarding through the annoying commercials which is why it cleverly incorporated its product into the show.
But as consumers get smarter and the internet generation matures into quick-fingered wanderers with even shorter attention spans, inbound marketing will continue to become the first choice for many small businesses on the web. Since the age of the internet, it doesn’t make as much sense to spend a crazy amount of money on outbound marketing techniques to blast a message to many people, only to land a few.
We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and BE what people are interested in. Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer, J. Walter Thompson
What is inbound marketing?
Rather than going out and fishing for customers, inbound marketers build their marketing around getting found by customers. You spend resources earning people’s time and interest, not buying it. It’s the difference between a technology store blasting the email inboxes of purchased leads or setting up a center where customers can ask questions and receive help. One will annoy because those email address owners never asked for emails, and the other will work towards a trusted atmosphere since people always welcome help. Though the latter may take a little time and patience to set up, it will create a culture of loyal customers.
Inbound marketers patiently develop a culture of trust and build their reputations. They set up their website so it attracts visitors naturally via many avenues like SEO, social media and blogging. Inbound marketing works by attracting consumers to your brand in a way that allows them to arrive at their OWN decision to buy from you. No shoving, coercing or “in your face” advertising involved. Yes, this will take more time, but your company culture will grow and expand from new leads who also will bring in referrals because of your great service.
Here are some examples of inbound marketing techniques:
Let me add to that list:
- Educational pamphlets, e-books
- Instructional videos
- Planning tools
- Answer sheet to common FAQs
- Landing pages that are relevant to your audience
These strategies are geared toward the small business that wants to attract a larger web audience. Whether you are an affiliate marketer, blogger, ecommerce owner, or you run a brick and mortar store, inbound marketing techniques can be applied to any marketing strategy.
For more information, take a look a this SlideShare presentation created by Hubspot: Transform Your Marketing
Click here to learn more about why SlideShare is an effective inbound marketing strategy.