Until recently, aggressive outbound strategies like spammy mails, door-to-door marketing and promotional phone calls – the kind you see in the “Wolf of Wall Street” were the norm. But more and more people are putting up guards such as caller ID, spam folders, and ad blockers. This reflects the fact that customers view these outbound strategies as obnoxious marketing intrusions.
These strategies have become less effective over time, paving way for the more subtle inbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing, as the name suggests, aims to bring ‘in’ customers to the brand instead of the old outbound approach where brands reach ‘out’ to customers through ads and other means.
The most effective means of marketing for the Digital Age
We live in a Digital Age characterized by an information explosion. Considering the significant time spent online by customers, inbound marketing is the most effective means of reaching your customers in this period. Inbound marketing aims to attract customers by publishing online content aligned with the interests of customers. It is based on the idea that when you first provide your customers with value, they return the value by doing business with you in response.
Let’s use the fitness industry as an example. Jeff Cavaliere was a strength and fitness coach before he founded Athlean X. He worked with celebrities and sports teams. He would have built his physical training business through networking and phone calls.
Today, Jeff is able to provide his world-class training services to anyone in the world thanks to the internet. However, he doesn’t have to get on the phone and call thousands of people to sign up for his $77 training program, or to buy his $796 dumbbell set. He only needs to create exceptional content, which he does!
Many of Jeff’s videos and articles are shared across social media platforms organically. Because he creates such informative content, Jeff’s audience comes to him. Now, with over 3 million subscribers on YouTube and millions of views on every piece of content, does Jeff need to call anyone and introduce them to his products? Not at all. They come to him. This is inbound marketing at work.
Where to start with inbound marketing strategies?
Inbound practices start by providing significant amount of value to your existing and potential customers without asking for anything in return. A blog that publishes regular, relevant content is one of the best strategies to start with as it promotes brand engagement and brand awareness.
This content will serve as an asset that can also be optimized with SEO, another effective inbound strategy to bring visitors to your website and convert them into customers. Once you setup a blog and engage your audience, you can explore other inbound strategies like infographics, webinars, eBooks, mobile apps, and social media marketing. All these
strategies are highly efficient and most come at a minimal cost when compared to outbound sales tactics.
Each business is different, so what works for one business may not work for the other. It’s important for you to identify the strategies that work for you by taking factors like audience, industry, and expertise into consideration. But once you find the best strategies for you, it is easy to fine tune and optimize it.
Should you dump outbound strategies altogether?
Not necessarily. Inbound marketing may be taking over the digital world, but still there are customers who respond well to the approach of outbound strategies. Most inbound companies at times use outbound techniques like buying ads, cold calling customers and sending promotional mails as part of their marketing campaign.
But excessive reliance on these outdated techniques may create resentment in your prospects and customers. The brand value takes a dip when your customers are annoyed by your promotional phone calls and ignore them. Instead a free email list that nurtures your customers with helpful content provides tremendous value to the customers without asking for anything in return. Though it may take more work in the short run, it will help you build brand loyalty and brand engagement in the long run.
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