Operating a small business takes a specific set of skills, one of which is budgeting wisely. Traditional marketing is expensive due to the cost of paper, media time, and labor hours. This expense limits the amount of marketing that a small business can purchase, putting them behind the eight-ball before the game even starts. However, with the advent of the Internet, small businesses are discovering that budget-friendly inbound marketing can supplement or replace pricey outbound marketing and achieve far greater results.
What’s the Difference?
Outbound Marketing is traditional marketing, using billboards, television ads, direct mail and other similar avenues to wave hands in the air and figuratively say, “Look at me! Look at me!” It is the equivalent of a small child tugging on their mother’s skirt for attention.
Inbound Marketing is empowering customers with alternative methods of seeking information, having a two-way dialogue using social media in order to answer questions and invite customers to our stores and websites.
Why is Inbound Marketing Increasing?
The simple answer is because it is less costly than outbound marketing; the cost per lead is less.
How Does it Work?
Inbound marketing works by focusing on earning a person’s attention through social media and engaging content which is informative and adds value to the reader. It connects the reader to the brand, leaving a positive impression leading to a higher likelihood of buying the product. It is more efficient and has a better return on investment (ROI) than outbound marketing.
Facts about Traditional Marketing
- The decline in outbound marketing is a response to a shift in customer behavior. Customers are more in control of the information they receive.
- 84 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant ads.
- 86 percent of people skip television ads.
- 44 percent of direct mail is never opened.
Facts about Inbound Marketing
- Inbound marketing focuses on getting found by customers.
- Social media and content marketing are effective ways of inbound marketing.
- Inbound marketing costs 62 percent less per lead than outbound marketing.
- 67 percent of business-to-customer (B2C) companies and 41 percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
Avenues for Inbound Marketing
There are several ways you can educate and inform customers through inbound marketing.
- White papers–hire freelance writers to create compelling in-depth content on your products or services.
- Ebooks–compile ebooks that answer common questions about how to use products in your industry.
- Podcasts–use podcasts to offer presentations to customers who live far from your store.
- Videos–demonstrate your products through video tutorials.
- Infographics–use visual aids to help explain complex concepts.
- Blogs-keep your customers up-to-date with new releases and interesting anecdotes.
When compelling content is offered to customers, they will share it with friends creating a viral effect ultimately bringing new attention to your brand.
Paula A is writer by day and a voracious reader by night. She is currently trying to keep her house clean and her mind uncluttered, (or is it the other way around). She specializes in sales and marketing, hazelnut lattes and admiring local art.