Outbound and inbound marketing: they sound completely opposite, and indeed they are. Outbound marketing can be compared to carpet bombing, while inbound is more like a surgical strike by one of those fancy drones. As internet use has matured, the business community has figured out that the latter really does give you a much bigger bang for your buck…
...If you know the rules that separate the fail from the win
Are you still thinking about making sales by spraying your message out to as many people as possible, knowing that only a small fraction will respond? Direct Mail, the Yellow Pages and broadcast media ads are classic examples of the carpet bombing theory- that sheer scale of exposure would make that small fraction of responders (hopefully) big enough to justify the expense of appealing to the crowds.
Lead generation in inbound marketing is in many ways the opposite of Outbound. Instead of asking thousands of people if they are interested in your product in order to get ten to buy, it's now possible to focus on being the best value to all the buyers who have already chosen to shop for your product. Instead of wasting your marketing muscle on huge numbers of the annoyed and uninterested, inbound marketing targets people who are simply looking for the best and most convenient deal they can find.
If you are a large company, you're OK with spending a bundle on carpet bombing. But if you are a small local business, you can't afford to waste a dime on the uninterested, let alone annoy them with unwanted ads.
There is a place for "Awareness Marketing"- it's good for business in the same way quality customer service is- the bottom line is affected indirectly. Outbound used to be the only marketing game in town; we all depended on it for actual sales. The only way to increase sales was to increase the number of times your ad appeared before the eyes and ears of even more people.
The good news is that the new age of digital communication has brought you a new best friend: a much different way to sell. It’s "Results Marketing" that goes beyond volume. The sooner you realize that your virtual image is more important than your physical one, the quicker you'll catch up with how today's buyers actually shop.
Let’s put it this way. If marketing were like restaurants:
Inbound = attracting the famished to your awesome menu.
Outbound = chasing those who are already having dessert and coffee at the place next door.
You'll Fail without SEO
“I found you on the fourth page of the Google search results.” --Said no one. Ever.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Get to know and love these three little words. In the new world of digital commerce they are the key to locked doors and the advantage over your competitor- indeed the very soul of online commerce.
When was the last time you clicked on page two of any Google search returns? The hard data tell the story of every online shopper who never does that. One study shows a 143% drop in responses between the 10th spot (bottom of the first page of returns) and the 11th spot (top of page two). If you are not in one of the top three positions on page one of Google's returns, you face a precipitous decline in response rates, from 35% on top of page one to 1% on top of page two.1 What do we learn from that? Quality, diligent SEO must happen or you might as well forget the whole thing and go back to the Yellow Pages.
You'll Fail Without Proven Keywords
Keywords are to SEO as wings are to a bee, waves to the sea and my true love to me. OK we got a little carried away there, but there is a point to the poetry. You can't just write up a website with a blog and a catalog and expect to see the orders roll in. You must learn to woo the search engine with keywords.
Think deeply about what your potential customers would type into the search term box. Did you get that? Not you, but your SHOPPERS! Example: You sell widgets in East Frogtown. "Best Widgets" is already used by all your competitors. So is "Quality Widgets," "Widgets for Sale" and just plain "Widgets Frogtown." Sure you could use those as keywords, but you'll end up on page 9 of the search returns because others took advantage of those keywords first. There's a lot more we could say about long tails, A-B testing, and Google Adwords, but just be aware there is more to SEO than you might think!
You'll Fail if Your Website is Inhospitable
Once you get that all-important click-through from the search returns, will the shopper find an environment conducive to purchase? The last thing you want is hordes of visitors who stampede on to the next search return after a quick inspection of the landing zone you created for them. A brief checklist:
Is it attractive to the minds of your audience? Just because you think videos are cool doesn’t mean that a hurried shopper will stop and watch a 10 minute production featuring you, the kids, and your awesome staff.
Do they begin to have their questions answered as soon as your page loads to their phone or laptop? Is it easy and fast (no more than three clicks) to get a price, a picture, a location, return policy? Hmmm. You might want consider exactly what questions your viewers are asking.
Does it have calls-to-action in strategic places? Clear invitations to explore further and/or give their contact information?
You'll Fail if Tweets is All You Got
You've heard that Social Media is the next big thing in selling. Don't imagine that starting a Facebook page will suddenly overwhelm you with orders. It won't. Social Media channels are suited for Awareness Marketing, not Results Marketing. Don't make an Awareness tool try to do the job of a Results tool. That would be like wearing your Bozo costume to a coulrophibics2 convention. Social Media give you a way to project your brand image in our daily public conversation. As soon as you start "selling" in that context your followers will treat you like that guy who follows you around at a party blabbering about life insurance.
United WebWorks loves this stuff! We get excited when a new client asks us to help them break through with Inbound Marketing. It’s fun to escort businesses large and small into new territories, especially when they finally appear on search returns page one! If you like the sound of lead generation, Savannah GA, read on...
Failure is not an option for us. We’ve been doing comprehensive Inbound Marketing for over ten years and still get a thrill when our clients win. We think its partly because we understand that you don’t really want just a splashy new website. You want high quality lead generation- you want MORE BUSINESS!
Don't be this kid!
Click here For The Win!
1 Chart and data from http://www.gravitateonline.com/google-search/2nd-place-1st-place-loser-seriously
2 Fear of clowns