Most online marketing experts agree: Outbound Marketing is dead!
Outbound marketing, or actively seeking out customers, clients, prospects, and leads, is not the most effective way to acquire them…at least not online, anyway.
Methods like cold calling, direct mail, TV advertisements, and telemarketing just take up too much time and money, especially when compared with more efficient and effective advertising methods and platforms provided by the Internet.
Introduction to Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing includes all the methods used by the majority of digital marketers and online advertisers today. The main areas of Inbound Marketing primarily comprise of content creation, Social Media Marketing (SMM), and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
While Outbound Marketing may still be viable when it comes to offline advertising, especially in B2B situations, in the online world one rarely ever gets to speak or see their lead, customer, or prospect. Therefore, online advertising methods must be tailored in such a way as to attract, engage, and convert them without ever speaking or meeting them.
Attracting, Engaging, and Converting Your Target Audience with Onsite Inbound Marketing
This is the part of Inbound Marketing where you become visual and visually attractive to your target audience. According to Risefuel’s Inbound Marketing Guide, content adds value at every state in your customer’s buying journey. For the most part, this includes SEO, Web Design, and Content Creation.
Search Engine Optimization includes the methods and strategies used to rank high in the search engines. It is a free way, if you do it on your own, to make one’s site friendly to the major search engines like Google and Bing.
This is usually where most online and digital marketers start from when implementing their online marketing campaigns as it brings traffic around the clock and once implemented, usually requires very little maintenance to keep it going.
This can actually be bundled with SEO as some of the search engine rankings rely heavily on how long a visitor stays on a site. If a website takes a long time to load, is confusing, or is not aesthetically pleasing, a visitor will most likely click off before they have a chance to review the content of the site. This, in turn, will reduce the site’s rankings in the searches and so make it harder to become more visible to prospective visitors.
Once a visitor has found a site and has landed on it, there must be something of value for them to keep them there.
The content creation portion of Inbound Marketing relies on engaging and value-oriented content through articles and videos to establish rapport and ultimately convert a visitor. If a website visitor finds value in the content being provided on the website, they will most likely purchase what it has to offer.
The main thing to take away here is to provide value first and then make a call-to-action at the end. Whether collecting emails or pitching a product or service, engaging content will help build a trusting relationship with the visitor, which ultimately is the only way to convert them into a lead or sale.
Offsite Inbound Marketing Through Social Media Marketing (SMM)
While the onsite portion of Inbound Marketing is geared towards optimizing a site for search engines, traffic can also be attained through social media platforms.
Almost everyone has a Facebook account these days and many online users also have Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube accounts as well. Therefore, targeting these social media platforms is an excellent way to garner traffic to one’s site.
However, it must be noted that most people do not necessarily come to social media sites with the intention of becoming a lead, customer or client, but to engage with relevant people and content they are interested in. Therefore, strong sales pitches and the like should never be employed on these platforms. Instead, engaging information and content should be provided free of cost in order to build brand awareness and credibility first.
After the social media user has engaged with posts, videos, or visited a site, then and only then should one even think about advertising to them.
Again, engaging content and building trust are what will ultimately lead a prospect to become a client or customer whether one uses search engines or social media platforms for traffic.
Outbound Marketing has the same objectives as Inbound Marketing: to attract, engage, and convert target audiences. The main difference, however, is that one works offline and the other works online.
Since it is very difficult to interact with a potential lead or customer face-to-face online, different methods and strategies must be used to achieve this goal. This is where Inbound Marketing shines. It makes a website, product, or service visible to the masses and engages them with relevant material to build trust and respect without ever speaking, hearing, or seeing them.
As the world keeps changing and more and more people are using the Internet to find that which they seek, Inbound Marketing rapidly becoming the smartest way to advertise.