For the last few decades, traditional marketing methods have been used by organisations both large and small. These methods, referred to as “outbound marketing” focus on finding customers by using interruptive and in some cases unwanted methods such as cold calling, TV and radio advertising.
Over the last few years, there’s been a gradual shift in where marketing budgets are allocated towards a concept known as “inbound marketing”. Inbound marketing campaigns are about attracting customers to your business by creating quality content for them to find themselves via channels such as blogs and social media. But how do you decide which style of marketing will work for your business?
Outbound marketing, has been around for centuries and it is no wonder that there are still a few marketers who firmly believe in its ROI and find the idea of inbound marketing just a trend that will soon pass. However inbound marketers understand that people's shopping behaviour has changed dramatically and thanks to the Internet, businesses no longer need to fork out the majority of their marketing budget on these outbound marketing channels to drive sales; by using inbound marketing correctly, companies can now attract customers with a minimal budget.
But what are the benefits of moving to an inbound strategy? Well, let's start with the biggest advantage - it can be much cheaper! Forget the big marketing budgets needed for television or even print advertising and start focusing on inbound tools such as blogs and social media platforms that can be used to get the same message out, but in a much more targeted way.
Unlike an expensive television ad campaign, which let’s face it, most of us fast forward through these days, you can put this time and a fraction of the money into creating a blog where you are able to discuss topics which are related to your industry and break your content down by what area of the sales process your customer is in to fulfil their needs.
Thanks to technology,the way we shop has changed significantly in the last decade and with this marketers must adapt too. Gone are the days where a customer will come to a salesperson with no idea what they want. Most of us will research a range of products to find one that fits our needs (and budget) best and will then make their purchase, either in store or online. So, by focusing on building up useful and interesting content that your potential customers are looking for as they start their research, you’re more likely to lead your customers to you.
Of course, the results of an inbound marketing campaign will not happen overnight, but the results are worth the effort. By investing time into understanding what your potential customers will search for and create the content to answer their questions, your leads will start to self-qualify themselves by understanding what your business offers and contacting you when they are ready to buy, rather than you trying to stay ‘top of mind’ through traditional ad campaigns.
This isn’t to say that there is no place for outbound marketing in today’s market, however unless you have a extensive marketing budget you are unlikely to see the same results that you may of had 10 years ago. By shifting your marketing strategy to inbound, you will see how advertising smarter will help to attract better and more targeted leads.
Get started with your inbound marketing strategy for 2016 by downloading our guide to running an inbound marketing campaign below.