How many times have you switched on the television to watch your favorite show, only to fast-forward through five minutes of commercials before getting to the good stuff? How many radio ads have you switched stations on, how many useless emails are sitting in your spam folder? Random advertising like this is called outbound marketing, and more and more evidence is mounting to prove that, in this context, outbound marketing just doesn’t work. So why does your company still do it?
Consumers Tune Out Irrelevant Advertisements
We as consumers have gotten so accustomed to being bombarded by ads promising the best, the sexiest, and the most affordable, that we have become really good at tuning them out. According to Mashable, in fact, 84% of consumers between the ages of 25 and 35 have left a website specifically because of the advertising. So your outbound ads are not only getting ignored; they are driving consumers away in droves.
Your customers want an experience that is tailored to their interests. Inbound marketing gives them that experience.
As a blanket term that covers everything from content marketing to social media engagement to the user-friendliness of your website design, it takes a focused marketing roadmap to really pull all the elements of inbound marketing together. A focused inbound marketing strategy can include:
- A website that is responsive, clear, and easy to navigate. If you don’t already have a website, you need one! CouponCodeHoster has some great deals to save you money on your hosting, domain registration, email, and more with GoDaddy.com.
- Web content that offers useful and engaging information
- A multimedia approach, including the use of video, audio, and plenty of visuals. Consider a service like Slidely to help you out with that.
- Industry-specific downloadables, like eBooks, white papers, or infographics.
- Numerous feedback mechanisms
- A strong social media presence that really relates with your consumers
- A Service Level Agreement between marketing and sales to increase productivity and improve customer experience
So Where Does That Leave Outbound Marketing?
While inbound marketing is imperative for your company’s ability to bring in leads, engage consumers, and make loyals out of one-time customers, that doesn’t mean that there is no place for outbound strategies in your marketing mix. The key is to use them sparingly, and strategically. Your outbound marketing tactics must be data-driven if they are going to bring results.
- Use your inbound marketing tactics to generate leads; use outbound to nurture those leads.
- Target specific audiences with outbound methods. For instance, send out email blasts to a particular demographic, or mail print material to consumers who have shown interest in a certain product line.
- Keep online advertising to a minimum, and don’t ever buy pop-up ads. That will only decrease your credibility in the eyes of the public — if they get seen at all.
- Pay attention to the timeliness of your outbound marketing. Don’t take out a television ad targeting small business owners during business hours; don’t send out coupons for a steakhouse until Lent is almost over.
- Research your prospects before you cold call. Nothing will turn off a potential client like being contacted by someone who clearly doesn’t know anything specific about their company’s needs.
The future of marketing is inbound. Companies who don’t whole-heartedly embrace it risk losing valuable business to their competitors who offer a more integrated, cross-media experience for consumers. But that doesn’t mean that outbound marketing doesn’t have its place. Use it wisely and selectively, and all of your marketing efforts will show real, measurable results.