Inbound Marketing – Why It’s Preferred
By no means will this post encompass everything that inbound and outbound marketing is. What it will do is give you an overview of some of the main points of each and why inbound marketing is the most preferred method today.
There are two basic types of marketing – inbound and outbound. The focus of each is different and they involve different techniques. In general, outbound marketing involves getting your marketing message to the largest number of people possible through advertising, cold calling, direct mail and other aggressive techniques. When you do inbound marketing, your message is more subtle. You attract people to your site who come because of a common interest or a desire to learn more. Today’s marketers prefer inbound rather than outbound marketing for many reasons.
The Price of Inbound vs. Outbound
Outbound marketing can be expensive. It often involves printing and mailing materials or spreading your message through television, radio or other media. The cost of outbound marketing can put it out of reach for smaller businesses. Inbound marketing is cheap or free and anyone can do it. You create your website and it attracts prospects for you. You do most of the work on the front end building your site and traffic strategy rather than the continual daily work of outbound marketing.
People Tune out
Outbound marketing means putting your message in front of people whether they want to hear it or not. As a result, its techniques are often intrusive and annoying. People have begun to tune it out. Just think of all the junk mail you throw away every day. It’s estimated that around 44% of all direct mail is never opened. We have caller ID, spam filters, no-call lists and other ways to ignore marketing that comes to us.
Inbound marketing is more natural and feels better. You put your message in front of your target market and they’re compelled by their own curiosity and interest to see what you are offering for them.
It’s a Two-Way Street
One big advantage of inbound marketing is that it’s a form of two-way communication. The customer interacts with the business by posting on the company’s Facebook wall, blogs, or they take part in contests. When they interact with the business, they become engaged. People tend to be more receptive when they are in control of what they receive.
Inbound marketing doesn’t feel like marketing and almost anyone can do it. To market traditionally through direct mail or cold calling takes a certain amount of aggressiveness and sales skill. Not everyone can do that and certainly not everyone enjoys that. With inbound marketing, you provide useful content that solves a problem and then the reader comes to you. It’s not “selling” in the traditional sense, which makes it more appealing to those who visualize the pushy salesman and feel uncomfortable pushing their message.
The only real downside of inbound marketing is that there are so many things to learn. The methods used in direct marketing are proven and established, inbound marketing online is largely new and constantly changing. Learning traffic-building strategies and search engine optimization can be time consuming and there can be quite a bit of trial and error.
The best marketing campaigns use inbound and outbound marketing techniques. You might create a website or blog and drive traffic to it, while also generating leads proactively by contacting prospects. What do you use for your marketing?
I’ve heard outbound marketing described as “spray and pray” – you just spread your message around and hope for the best. Inbound is definitely the way to go!