February 15, 2011 Michael Bickerton
Inbound Marketing is a relatively new term in the industry. According to Wikipedia, inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on being found by customers. A fairly simple statement for a very difficult endeavor. Traditional marketing is now referred to Outbound Marketing in the inverse. Outbound marketing focuses on finding customers, using cold calls, print advertising, newspaper, direct mail, TV, radio and trade shows to find customers.
The Internet and Google (people using search) have changed the way people buy. In fact, almost every purchase begins with someone using search. As such, the traditional marketing techniques are quickly disappearing. Business is not spending its advertising dollars INTERRUPTING customers and prospects. They are creating content, information, and tools for consumers to utilize and therefore attract the consumers to their business, their website, their blog and their social media sites. ATTRACTING and ENGAGING customers versus finding them is the new business model.
Our digital strategist has referred to Outbound Marketing as the SPEND, HUNT AND HOPE Model, meaning you as business spends a bunch of money hunting for customers, and then hope that they remember you when it is time for them to buy. It’s old school thinking.
Marketing in this new digital, internet and Google era is quite a bit different. In fact, the outside costs are significantly less. Even though there are fewer costs, you are still spending money creating content, blogs, Twitter posts, video on YouTube, powerpoints on SlideShare, it all takes time and as you know, time is money. Another benefit of Inbound Marketing is that you have the ability to target those who demonstrate an interest in your product or service. Some suggest that Inbound Marketing is not an ongoing expense, but truthfully, it is. Your company will need to constantly update the information on all Inbound Feeds in order to keep your customers and prospects interested, informed and engaged.
The keys to Inbound Marketing are relatively simple. Firstly, you need content – engaging, informative, content. Secondarily you need to develop an SEO (search engine optimization) program. SEO is a process of on improving your organic ranking on search engines. Prior to SEO, you really need a specialist to assist you in finding and developing KEYWORDS and KEYPHRASES that will attract customer and prospects when they are in search mode. Search mode indicates they are looking for information, and very likely ready to buy. A Pay Per Click Specialist (also known as a PPC Specialist) is available with most digital agencies. Lastly, your firm needs to engage in Social Media, that’s right, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare are my big five. This is a new way of speaking to and engaging customers. Building your social media presence is critical to your future emarketing plans and programs.
The take away from all this, marketing in the Google age has changed, the buyers have changed the way they look for information, and they way they buy. If you are in marketing, you must change the way you communicate and sell, it’s a new world out there.
The customer may have more information about the product or service than you do, because they are researching prior to buying, and the information is available online. So, when someone comes to your door, offline or online, the process of engagement is different than it used to be. The good old days are gone, you are now in the search and social media era and your customers and prospects are now in control of the buying process.
Your goal as a marketing professional is to attract them, inform them and assist them when they are ready to buy. If you want to know more about emarketing, just ask.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, February 2011