Ninety percent of consumers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. Yet most traditional marketing focuses on pushing messages out into the marketplace to find customers. This is called outbound (traditional) marketing. It includes techniques like cold-calling, advertising, trade show displays and direct mail campaigns (usually sent to purchased, untargeted lists). These outbound marketing efforts are designed to interrupt people, not to inform them.
Here’s the problem with outbound marketing today: traditional techniques are becoming less effective – and more expensive. Caller ID can block your cold calls. DVR means your prospects can fast forward through your commercials. Spam filters can block your mass emails. And increased costs have dragged down trade show attendance. You can still send your message out through these channels, it just costs a lot more to do so.
Relevance – as opposed to the number of times you place your ad – wins with today’s customers. Inbound marketing flips outbound marketing completely around. It meets your prospects and customers at the moment when they need information on a specific topic – instead of interrupting their world.
Seventy percent of most sales processes are completed before a sales person gets involved. That means your customers are making their buying decisions based on information they get before your sales person contacts them. They’re seeking out information online or using social media to learn what others think. Inbound marketing is an excellent vehicle for communicating your expertise to your industry or market and for getting your current customers to spread the word about what you have to offer.
Like anything worth doing, inbound marketing takes a focused, discipline approach – it’s not a "get rich quick" scheme. It’s the most sustainable, powerful strategy available today, if you have the dedication and willingness to commit to it. When used alone, or in conjunction with traditional/outbound methods, the results are impressive, and your customers are delighted.