Traditional marketing is primarily outbound. You create advertisements for TV, radio or print media, purchase/rent mailing lists, cold call customers, organize trade shows and do everything to reach your customers. The main problem is that you don’t know how many of those “cold leads” are going to convert into sales. Most often you shoot a lot of darts in the dark and hope one of those hits your target.
In the past few years, successful organizations have started moving to a new type of marketing approach that reverses the direction of the customer – marketer relationship. Instead of the marketer going after the customer, you make the customer come to you. Instead of focusing on a large number of cold leads, you shift your attention to a small number of warm/hot leads who have a higher probability of completing the sale. That is the essence of inbound marketing. The term was coined by Hubspot’s Brian Halligan and caught on since then.
What does inbound marketing include?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- YouTube Videos
- Slideshare Presenatations
Why is Inbound Marketing better?
- Traditional outbound marketing is un-targeted and can be very expensive, especially for small businesses. It requires a certain level of scale for it to work. On the other hand, you can get started with inbound marketing in as low as $100.
- Many customers have gone averse to the “hard sell” involved in outbound marketing. They have learned to filter out the advertisements, block the cold calls, and have strong spam filters to prevent your message from reaching them. Inbound marketing, on the hand hand, is less intrusive and are more liked by the customers.
- Inbound marketing techniques are more effective in taking your message to the user and convincing them of your product’s advantages. People are becoming more sophisticated in detecting promotional messages and expect to be entertained or informed rather than just sold.
- Viral effects of inbound marketing. In outbound marketing there is hardly any virality. The guys who got cold called are not going to run in the streets to announce the call they got. However, people share interesting inbound marketing content with their network if they find it relevant and entertaining. If your message gets viral, you can get the reach by paying almost nothing.
- Inbound marketing creates more loyal customers. The guys who are buying from you through inbound marketing channels tend to be better informed and have a higher probability of staying with you for the long term.