Outbound marketing is traditional marketing. It uses radio, television, magazines, flyers, newspapers, and true random phone book style cold calling. The goal of outbound marketing is to blast your message to thousands of customers and hope that your message sticks. You currently see conversion rates with this type of marketing that are less than 1% and often are far lower. This type of marketing has become more and more difficult the more saturated the field gets. To be honest people simply have too many messages and are finding ways to block out most outbound marketing. When was the last time you bought something from a flyer on your door? How often do you stop your car to write down the 1-800 number? Your customers are the same. They to use the DVR to avoid watching commercials, tune out during commercials on the radio, and throw the flyers in the trash. People want value, and they don’t want to be shouted at.
Inbound marketing is marketing that focuses on drawing customers to you. Inbound marketing uses marketing tools such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Email Marketing, Article Marketing, and Pay Per Click to draw in your customers. It is marketing that focuses on not shouting at everyone, but rather finding customers that are seeking your product or service and delivering value through content. The other extremely large advantage of inbound marketing is analytics. There are a host of services, many free, that will allow you to track almost any piece of data that you might want to know. You can see click through rates, conversion rates, how long your customers are looking at your material, even where on the page of your advertisements your customers look first.
Which one Should I Use?
Statistics have shown that this is the dawn of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing still has a very large market share but one that has been shrinking. Newspapers are going out of business, and traditional outbound marketing services are finding it more difficult to compete with good inbound marketing strategies.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that outbound marketing can’t work. I am simply saying that for most applications inbound marketing will allow for better tracking, better customization, and better performance if done properly. I have spoken with a lot of business owners. Usually the ones that are using outbound marketing are not tracking how many people that see the ad actually buy the product at all. Many don’t even know how many people are seeing the advertisement. How can you possibly be successful?
Where does Inbound Marketing Usually Fail?
Obviously there could be a whole host of reasons that marketing can fail. Usually when inbound marketing fails it is due to one of three reasons.
The first is an unrealistic budget. Many businesses have the expectation that you can spend $200 per month and within three months you will be raking in thousands per month. This is just plain unrealistic.
The second reason is time and commitment. Inbound marketing can take 2 or 3 months to get off the ground. It takes time because you are not using a shotgun approach. You are building awareness, good content, and a customer base. The tradeoff is that if done properly as you build this customer base you are building a longer lasting and repeat customer.
The third reason is poor marketing. Inbound marketing is a bit of an art form. An inbound marketer must have a good understanding of your business, competition, and customer. They must also put in a lot of time to be successful. As inbound marketing is still not understood by most businesses it is easy to be swayed by the snake oil salesman. These phone operators often don’t understand anything about real marketing but are happy to use their buzz words to promise first page results on Google, guaranteed sales, and a whole host of promises they likely won’t be able to keep, or will keep but won’t produce you any real return on investment.