Difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing
“Outbound marketing” is usually referred to as “traditional marketing” where a company spreads awareness of the brand of a product/service by joining events/shows, blasts emails to any email address that they can get their hands on, making cold calls, TV/Print/Radio Ads… i.e “interruptive advertisement” (exception maybe to prospect joining events as they are already looking out for something)
“Inbound marketing” is a form of marketing made available only recently through digital media and the Internet. it revolves around giving value to your prospects, most often an education piece of advise, or useful information about a product/service, building trust in the brand and authority in the field, and letting them come to you instead. Over time transforming visitors into leads, and leads into customers.
I’d like to liken this 2 marketing methods to fishing. Let’s assume that there is this particular species of fish that you wanted to catch, you can:
be fisherman A, go out into the open sea and cast the biggest net that you can afford, and reel in everything in hopes that you’ll catch some of that fish
be fisherman B, and study the species, go to the known hotspot where they hang around, know which bait will lure them in, cast it, wait and BAM, you have yourself a fish.
In outbound marketing, your marketing efforts will pretty much reflect what fisherman A is doing. You’ll probably be spending a lot of effort on unwanted “fish”, not forgetting that the more often you “cast your net”, the more those other fish are going to learn about it and start avoiding it (remember how you stand up from your couch during a commercial break or how you minimize/close that advert on your favourite news site even before it completed loading?)
So “How do I plan for my inbound marketing?” you ask. So like what fisherman B did, you can practice the same concept:
1) Study and understand your target audience
So great, you now have this wonderful product that everyone can benefit from using it. But who will mostly likely benefit from it and who will benefit from it the most? There is a huge difference between paying for a lead and paying for a quality lead. A little effort goes a long way here.
2) Advertise on relevant channels
So now that you know who should hear about your product, how should you go about communicating it to them? Do you write an article on your website and drive them to your site with search ads? Do you place a banner ad on that one forum that 99% of them visit and have them fill out a form? Or do you post an invite to your store on your social media channels? Depending on your target audience and product, your mode of communication may vary quite a bit.
3) Give them a reason to take that action
Your message is heard, and your prospects now know of your offer. But just how many people actually responded to your call-to-action? Take a look at your Adword impressions report or landing page views, and then look at your click-through-rates and you’ll have your answer there. Now try adding an incentive to that call-to-action (doesn’t always have to be a direct monetary discount, it can be a free membership upgrade, or a free consultation, or even a free hug… whatever you think we add enough value for your prospect to take that action.)
4) Nurture your lead
What i haven’t said about fisherman B was that he took that fish home, and reared it in his backyard pond. And keeps on bringing his next catch home and adding to that pond. It wasn’t immediate but overtime, he got a self-sustaining supply of fish because the fish just kept multiplying. So instead of reeling in your catch and sucking it dry, nurture it. Over a period of time, your prospects/customers will spread the word for you and you’ve got yourself free earned media via social media channel and/or word-of-mouth.
Now get out there and start fishing the inbound way!