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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Inbound marketing: Out with the old, In with the new

Is your marketing inbound or outbound? While the two terms may be unfamiliar to non-marketers, they represent different strategies for generating leads and creating sales for your business.
Marketing has evolved massively over the past 15 years thanks to the Internet, and what most lay people think of when they hear the word “marketing” – television ads, billboards, banners and more – represents just one form of marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Think of outbound marketing as a loudspeaker – it’s a platform your business uses to broadcast its message to other people. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on pulling in customers that are already looking for the information and solutions that you provide.
Like outbound marketing, there are a wide variety of different inbound marketing methods, many of which are primarily online. Some of the most popular forms of inbound marketing include:
  • Social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn with the use of social share buttons.
  • Content marketing via guest blog posts or a company blog
  • Search engine optimization or PPC search engine marketing
  • eBooks, white papers and other targeted forms of content
  • Email marketing lists that your audience opts in to receive
The defining difference between outbound and inbound marketing is the nature of your communication with clients:
  • Outbound marketing delivers a one-way message to an audience that might not be listening or interested.
  • Inbound marketing delivers a two-way message to an audience that’s already looking for you.
Inbound Marketing Is Taking Over...But Why?
For decades, the dominant form of marketing was outbound. Television ads, radio jingles and print messages – the type you’ve probably seen on Mad Men – offered businesses the most cost-effective way to communicate with their audiences.
The Internet has changed this, and since consumers now choose the content they consume, inbound marketing is on the rise. It’s more cost-effective, targeted to an audience that’s more responsive and allows you to have a two-way conversation.
You can easily respond to prospects via your Facebook page or the comments on your most recent blog post. With inbound marketing, you aren’t just yelling your message at a non-responsive audience; you’re having a real conversation.
It’s also easier to track, measure and optimize. While a radio ad is very difficult to track, it’s easy to calculate the profitability of a PPC search advertising and see whether or not it’s performing to your expectations.

Despite these huge advantages, inbound marketing does have some downsides. It’s often targeted at a smaller audience than an outbound campaign would be, and the huge amount of content produced by other businesses makes standing out tough.
With the right strategy, however, a targeted inbound marketing campaign that uses content, social media and search effectively can produce a return on investment that makes the average outbound campaign look hugely expensive.

What is Outbound Marketing?

In simple terms, It is the traditional method of marketing that we tend to think of when we hear “marketing” mentioned. It’s TV ads, billboards, radio jingles, newspaper space and other one-way marketing communications.

The defining characteristic of outbound marketing is that it involves your business actively getting its message out. Your focus is on reaching new customers that may not already know about your brand instead of appealing to those who already do.
There’s more to outbound marketing than traditional TV or radio ads. The various forms of outbound marketing include:
  • Direct mail brochures, postcards and sales letters
  • Online display advertisements (AdWords Display Network)
  • Telemarketing, cold calling and door-to-door sales
  • Print advertising in targeted newspapers and magazines
  • Trade shows and industry conferences
Outbound marketing has some big advantages, as well as some disadvantages. Its biggest advantage is that it allows you to reach a large audience very quickly. With the right budget, outbound marketing can reach millions of people overnight.
Through smart targeting, you can also reach an audience that’s like to be interested in your offer. Examples of targeted outbound marketing include direct mail send to specific businesses or keyword-targeted campaigns on the Google Display Network.
The biggest disadvantage of outbound marketing is that it’s very easy to get lost in the sea of other marketing consumers come into contact with. The average person sees 3,500 ads per day; in order to stand out, you need a very persuasive message.
Another key disadvantage of outbound marketing is that it’s often very difficult to track and measure. Traditional forms of marketing like radio ads or TV commercials can’t be tracked, measured and optimized using digital analytics software.

Better yet, it does so while delivering value to your audience in the form of engaging, useful content that earns their loyalty. A carefully crafted blog post can often lead to more sales than the most eye-catching, targeted display ad ever could.
Is Your Business Inbound or Outbound?
As the Internet grows more and more social, inbound marketing is going to become increasingly more profitable for businesses that understand it well. Is your business adapting to the rise of inbound marketing or are you stuck in an outbound mindset?


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