As essential as it may seem for any brand, outbound marketing has never been much fun. It’s seen by many business owners as an expensive chore – one that doesn’t always pay off. The feeling’s mutual as well; there are few consumers who like being told what to do, when to do it and how to go about it – especially when they can’t even respond. Thankfully, things are changing.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing covers all of the traditional techniques you’ve come to associate with companies trying to sell stuff – mailing campaigns, cold calling and sales TV promotions are all included.
Not only can outbound marketing be unsuccessful, it can actually be counter-productive. A study in the US recently revealed that 91 per cent of email users have unsubscribed from company mailing lists, and 84 per cent of 25-34 year olds have stopped using a favourite site because of blatant, and often irrelevant, advertising.
Consumers now have more choice than they ever have before when it comes to the products and services they choose to buy, so it takes a lot more thought for one business to stand out from the rest and, more importantly, meet customers’ needs. That’s where inbound marketing comes in.
So what’s inbound marketing?
Well, inbound marketing encompasses a range of techniques, most of which use modern technology in some way or another. A successful inbound strategy will involve a business optimising the ways it uses things like search engines, social media pages and video sites to form and maintain relationships with members of its target audience. This basically means looking at the ways in which consumers regularly access content online and ensuring these channels are used efficiently.
Why inbound marketing works
While it may seem that inbound marketing is centred on the digital world, there’s something quite traditional about the reasons for its success rate. It’s all about breaking the walls down between businesses and consumers. The focus is back on the trust people put into the businesses they give their money to, and inbound marketing complements this perfectly. By building strong relationships through channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a business can constantly evolve, reflecting the needs of its target audience.
People don’t want to be hounded by companies trying to sell things; they want the brands they love to fit in around their lives and they need something in return for their attention. This means engaging content should take centre stage – podcasts, entertaining videos and useful pieces of information are all part of this.
One more thing…
So, there’s a marketing strategy which is successful and relatively enjoyable – it must be pretty pricey, right? In actual fact, inbound marketing is considerably less expensive than the traditional techniques mentioned earlier. The same US study found that inbound marketing costs, on average, 62 per cent less per lead than outbound marketing. On top of this, of the companies questioned, over 50 per cent said they’d actually secured business through the use of company blogs and social media pages. It’s a win-win situation.
The days of irritating your target audience with intrusive advertising are fading. It’s time to welcome inbound marketing and all of the benefits it offers for both your business and its customers. It’s now about working with consumers to ensure they’re getting what they need, instead of just pushing a message in the hope that it will eventually get through.
Voltier Digital have put together an infographic with some key points and figures on the topic of inbound and outbound marketing – it’s a great example of inbound marketing in itself – a bit like a Russian Doll.