Work Smarter, Not Harder - Why You Should Take Your Business Inbound
It isn’t about making yourself known to prospects, it’s about being found by them
Communication is a two-way street. Your message travels outward. Your recipient engages with questions to help them with perspective. The round trip is how you know you’re actually connecting with people.
Marketing is communication. Fitting it into the two-way street model, outbound marketing reduces your communication to an outward push. Does that make inbound the same thing – just in the opposite direction? Absolutely not! Here’s what you need to know about why inbound marketing is often the smarter and more efficient way to grow your business.
Definitely not a one-way street
Don’t let the name fool you. Inbound marketing is not unidirectional communication. To understand it better, it’s easier to understand what inbound marketing is not.
It is not the practice of using marketing communication to make your presence known. That’s outbound marketing – or traditional advertising. You’re shooting messages about who you are and what you do out to prospects with the objective of drawing attention to yourself. It’s like a barrage of concussion grenades. Hey! We think you should be interested in us. Hey…pay attention!
This used to be the best way to grow your business – back in the days when we lived in a world where marketing had no choice but to be outbound, one-way communication.
The world has changed. Consumers won’t settle with the push-style communication of mass media. We no longer have only one-directional choices like newspapers, broadcast media, magazines, or billboards. Today, we have interactive media. It’s made outbound marketing not only ineffective, but extremely expensive.
If you needed any more reasons to doubt the efficacy of outbound marketing, consider all of the ways that consumers today can block your push-style communication. They can fast-forward through commercial blocks on TV, subscribe to commercial-free music streaming, and even block your online display ads.
And, the consumers have spoken. They only want to see advertising and marketing messages that are relevant and personalized.
How to go inbound
We’ve evolved from an analog and push-style world to a digital and interactive one. Consumers today are rarely interested in being told what they should purchase. Powerful technology that fits in the palm of their hand gives them the ability to seek their own solutions. Guess who’s in charge now?
That’s what people want. It’s their desire to be in charge of the search for solutions. It’s also what makes inbound marketing so effective. At its core, inbound marketing is content creation. It’s storytelling about the problem you solve, why you are the expert at solving this problem, and how you solve it. Instead of paying to place marketing messages, content lives on your website. It’s in the form of articles, videos, whitepapers, interactive quizzes, and podcasts. Prospects search for insight on a problem they want to solve, and search engines reward them with links to your content based on its relevance. You also share its existence with people who interact with you on social media.
It’s a paradigm shift. Your next round of new customers is seeking you out. They’re putting forth the effort to learn about you and how you can solve their problem. They’re taking the time to put your brand into their worldview.
It starts with their discovery of your content and it evolves when they engage with the calls to action you put in each piece of content. Those CTAs take them to customized landing pages with unique, personalized offers that deepen the relationship.
Inbound marketing works because it gives a feeling of victory and accomplishment to your prospects. They found you. It’s the smarter way to grow your business.
Why inbound marketing works so well
Have you looked at the cost of your Google keywords lately? Have you run the ROI on the price of a print ad in your local newspaper? Inbound marketing in the form of content creation is highly affordable compared these mechanisms, though it can be augmented by them. You’re not paying for visibility. You’re educating, entertaining, offering perspective, and establishing yourself as an expert. You are preparing to be found.
The most successful brands know they aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. They aren’t elitist, but they don’t try to reach people who won’t become customers. One of the ways they gain efficiency is with inbound marketing. Creating content for discovery allows you to precisely target prospects.
Inbound marketing also helps you maintain relationships. Content can help customers remain satisfied with their purchase and ongoing interaction deepens their loyalty. The one-way push-style method of outbound marketing is incapable of this critical ongoing need.
These three reasons are enough to demonstrate why you should stop driving the wrong way down the one-way street of outbound marketing. If you’re into measurement and numbers, check out this insightful HubSpot article, which offers 23 statistic-backed reasons why inbound marketing should be your only direction.
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