Inbound Marketing is a concept that is often overlooked among my new clients. When working with my newer clients, one of the first things I ask them is how they generate leads for their business.
Most clients confidently list the standard outbound marketing techniques – cold calling, telemarketing, email lists, trade shows, radio ads, mailers, etc.
Now let me ask you the same question I asked them: When was the last time you purchased a service or product where the trigger to buy was influenced by one of these marketing techniques?
Um – silence . . . this is normally how the answer begins; then they finally admit, “You know, it’s been a while. I normally just go to Google, do a few searches, read a few reviews on the product, and then go to the business website to make the purchase.”
Stats show that about 90% of a marketer’s time and money is spent on outbound marketing, with a measly 10% on inbound marketing. This ratio is severely lopsided. By ignoring the benefits of inbound marketing, you’re not only missing out on business, you could be wasting precious time, effort and cash on outdated and increasingly less effective marketing methods.
If you follow the ‘inbound marketing road’ when you’re looking to buy, don’t you think that a large portion of your target audience is doing the same thing? Makes sense to me.
Inbound marketing: Reeling in the big one
The basic premise is: rather than setting up numerous expensive and ill-fated advertising campaigns, you set up systems that will bring the leads to you.
Inbound marketing methods include blogging, using social media, playing the ‘Ranking Game (aka Search Engine Optimization)’ on Google, and writing articles. It can also be accomplished by setting up a referral system. Any method that sends ‘warm’ leads to you is far better than throwing your advertising ‘bait’ out there, and hoping someone will bite.
Inbound marketing isn’t exactly like the Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come, but you’ll have to lead them there. Building up your reputation by having good articles all over the web talking about your business, creating constant and interesting content on your website, and being a guest blogger on popular blogs are all great ways to start the inbound ball rolling.
The key is to pop up whenever someone does a search for a product or service you provide. Having an ad in the newspaper is not nearly as effective as having great reviews, authoritative articles on respected blogs, and being a reputable and referable business.
People are looking for the best deal, the best source, and the best buy. You can help them find you by hosting a webinar on your particular product or service; offering free ebook downloads; and sharing your knowledge on social media platforms.
All of these methods are designed to create ‘talk’ about your business on the Internet. If you consistently create great content, and leave a tasty trail of breadcrumbs – in the form of great reviews, or interesting articles – you’ll find that the people who come to your door are there because they are ready to buy what you have to offer. And this is the best kind of customer – someone who’s already sold on the product, and just needs to know who to make the check out to.