Inbound Marketing Is A Clever Way Of Growing Your Business

These days, a new technique is revolutionizing how businesses market their products. It is known as Inbound Marketing.

Today, let us talk about what Inbound Marketing is, how it is changing the face of traditional or outbound marketing, and why you should be interested about it.

Traditional or Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing or traditional marketing is a way in which companies go out and find customers. It is a push strategy. Outbound marketers mainly adopt two strategies:

They put out advertisements in television, billboards, print media, etc. for people to see.
They also actively reach out to people by making cold calls, sending direct mails, etc. These are techniques which are interruptive in nature.
Not everyone likes interruption

Remember how you have received calls from marketers while you were attending that urgent meeting, or that ad that came on TV just before the climax of the movie was about to start? What was your reaction to these interruptions?

I remember having blacklisted a financial services company because a sneaky cold caller from its office called me thrice in a single day, and finally got very upset because I couldn’t talk to her as I was on a business tour!

Needless to say, only a handful of those who receive these calls or see the ads actually remember the product and buy it. Outbound marketing relies on purchases made by a small percentage of people who see the ads, or receive such calls. This results in wastage of the money spent in reaching out to people who are not interested.

Another problem is that, with the advancement of technology users are now able to block these marketing messages easily. Most of the direct mass emails land up in the junk mail folder. There are reports that people have also developed a blindness towards most of the ads that are shown on television. And let’s not forget how people get irritated with cold calls made to them. As you can see, the outbound method of marketing is losing its sheen rapidly.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing on the other hand, is not an interruptive strategy at all. It adopts a Pull Strategy, wherein instead of reaching out to your customers, you attract them to yourself.

Its foundation lies in adding value to the users instead of bombarding them with marketing messages. This value is provided in the form of useful content which helps the users in one or more ways. Many users go online looking for a solution to a problem that they are having. Inbound relies on solving their problems or giving them valuable information first, and building up engagement with them afterwards.

When users get benefited by what you have to say, they try to hear from you more often. Over time they start trusting you and would also be interested in using the product or service that you have to offer. When people come to you looking for solutions, it is far easier to delight them, and increase your sales eventually.

Thus, unlike in outbound marketing, where the communication with the customer starts with trying to sell something to them, in inbound sales is something that comes later, only after the user has become comfortable, and has started trusting your business.

The inbound marketing process

It starts with attracting visitors to your website
Next, you convert these visitors into leads
Close the leads to make them buy your offerings
Thereafter, you engage with them a lot more and continue to delight them. This will keep them loyal to you, and will also become your brand ambassadors by telling others about you. This increases repeat sales and cross sells. Eventually the need for prospecting for new customers will decrease over time.
The techniques used in Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a strategy which is created by combining the best of the digital marketing techniques. The exact techniques that are used in this strategy depends on the type of the business, its goals, and the customers that it wants to cater to. The following are the digital marketing techniques that are used to create and Inbound Marketing strategy:

Content marketing: This is the core of inbound. The business needs to create great content which will attract the users. When the users read content that is valuable to them, they would visit the website of the business in search for more information. The business has to continue to give valuable information to customers regularly.

Search Engine Optimization: The website needs to be optimized for visits by the users. Various search engine optimization techniques are applied to make sure that they get the best experience by visiting the website of the business.

Social Media marketing: A strong presence in relevant social media channels has to be built-in order to engage with the users. Apart from the website, the business will provide information through social media also. It also has to listen to what the users are saying, receive feedbacks, and offer solutions to users’ problems. Social Media is also a great way of understanding their needs and expectations of from the business.

Email marketing: The business needs to keep in touch with customers by sending emails to them. Not only is this a great way of building engagement with prospective customers, but it also is a very effective tool for customer retention. Inbound however, depends on permission-based emails which users have consented to receive. Unlike in outbound marketing, Mass Mailers are never sent out to any customers in inbound.
All these strategies are combined to form an effective strategy that completely changes the way the business markets its products. Inbound can also result in significant cost savings when done correctly. However, the results from Inbound Marketing take some time to show up. Businesses have to consistently do it over a period of time before reaping the benefits. However, once the transition is complete, the benefits keep flowing in.

Think Direct Mail Is Dead? Think Again

With the constant bombardment of tweets, Facebook posts and e-mails a piece of advertising received in the mail is a refreshing change and grabs attention. Of course a standard letter simply will not make the mark – an attention-grabbing format is a must and a good start is to choose a direct mail idea that is sent out in a chunky envelope.

Our love of a good book has not diminished with the introduction of e-readers. We are still impressed and intrigued by a glossy cover and the fact that we can pick a book up and investigate further.

This is why direct mail is not dead – just like those books a well-designed and attention-grabbing direct mail piece will work for any advertising campaign and here is why:

A chunky board envelope or mailing wrap will rise to the top of the post tray, arouse curiosity as to what is inside and beg to be opened. That is just a starting point – you also need an entertaining and effective direct mailer inside the box to keep the interest.

A pop up product is a great way to impress and get your message across. All pop up products are sent out compressed into the chunky boxes and they spring free as soon as released. This action alone gains 100% attention. Soon becoming a talking point, a pop up product is shared with co-workers and colleagues beating any digital marketing format hands down.

Add a few pen holes to your direct mailer and you have a desk-top tool as well that will continue to broadcast your company details for a long time. Comparing that to an e-mail that is deleted in a second and never seen again it makes sense to invest in good direct mail campaigns.

Good graphic design is a must too to ensure that you get the best out of your mailing campaign, a printed calendar as part of your design gives your pop up product longevity too.

If a pop up does not appeal to you then there are other ideas – extending products, moving picture products and flicker styles – all chunky in design and taking interactivity and attention-grabbing to a different dimension.

Keeping hands busy is a great way to get your message across and choosing a direct mail format that will be picked up again and again and shared with others is just like that book in the store – tempting and inviting.

Opening up a direct mail piece spreads a little happiness too – often the surprise element of a posted piece is enough to get your company noticed.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Mail

The advantages of direct mail advertising are many. Direct mail offers both large and small companies the ability to market their services or products to specific and defined markets at a reasonable price. Coupons or special offers can be offered to a company’s client list or potential client list. Alternatively, mailing lists segregated by many types of demographics can be purchased from various sources. The costs of direct mail are a major advantage as well. When compared to other mediums of advertising the price tag can be kept relatively low. In addition to low per copy costs, the total expenditure can be limited to any budget by reducing or expanding the number of mailings. The price of individual mailings can be kept low by ordering in bulk and reusing the same mailer for multiple mailings. Turnaround time for design to production is a key component to the success of direct mailings as well. The process can be as short as 1 to 2 months, which allows a time sensitive opportunity to be taken advantage of before it passes. Direct mailings can also be used to research a current or potential niche in the market.

As mentioned before the price is not as restrictive as with other types of advertising. Combined with the abilities to manipulate the “offer” to fit the customer and to isolate various segments of the population, direct mailings can provide invaluable data for planning future mailings as well as other types of future marketing. Some disadvantages of direct mailings include the fact that many people view direct mailings as junk mail. Also, there is no shortage of competing articles arriving by mail, so the advertisement may easily be overlooked or discarded. This fact makes the likelihood of a single mailing less probable. A longer more sustained campaign may be necessary to garner the desired results. Price can be prohibitive as well. Although the costs can be an advantage, they could also become excessive the more creative and extravagant the mailer. The balance between costs versus creativity is a crucial part of the equation to launching a successful direct mail advertising campaign.