Once upon a time, marketers focused on buying advertisements, mailing postcards, and making telemarketing calls. But people's behaviors have changed, and the traditional marketing playbook must change with them. While cold calls once netted enormous volumes of leads, today more than 235 million Americans are registered on the FTC's "Do Not Call" list. And that glossy flier you sent to your loyal customers? It won't even reach half of them, as 58% of direct mail recipients never read, or even scan, their mailers.
What’s a marketer or entrepreneur to do?
Some of this may seem bleak, but there’s good news – and it’s called inbound marketing. This holistic, data-motivated approach cuts costs, builds higher trust and credibility, and generates quality traffic and leads. Sounds too good to be true?
Here are 5 ways inbound marketing stands apart from traditional marketing:
1. Quality Over Quantity
With the average person seeing 6,000-10,000 advertisement messages each day, it’s no wonder we’re starting to tune them out. So how can marketers get our attention? It begins with crafting quality content. As HubSpot writes, inbound marketing attracts customers by “creating valuable content and experiences… they are looking for and solving problems they already have.” While traditional marketing is all about what you want to say, inbound marketing focuses on what your customers want to hear. Consider your last major purchase, such as a new car. Did you choose the car with the best commercial? Or, like 88% of Americans, did you research specific questions before deciding? If you answered “research,” inbound marketing materials likely helped you make your choice.
2. Target Your Target Audience
We've all closed out of a pop-up ad or recycled a random sales postcard and thought, "why did they send this to me?" This common experience is an all-too-often outcome of traditional marketing tactics, which push out general messaging to many people. Inbound marketing takes the opposite approach, creating specific content tailored towards a small group of people. The audience may be smaller, but they're more likely to engage with your messaging – and your sales team. After all, you'll never hit the bullseye if you're aiming at multiple targets.
3. Create an Experience, Not a Disruption
Ever had an important meeting or family dinner interrupted by… a telemarketer? There’s nothing worse! Once-common practices such as cold calls or television commercials are now considered pushy and disruptive. Many businesses even thrive as solutions to “avoid” and escape such interruptions (hello, Netflix!). That’s where inbound marketing steps in. By taking our interests into consideration, inbound marketing produces content that naturally pulls us in. It creates an experience we choose to engage with – such as reading this blog – rather than an annoying commercial disruption.
4. Context is Key
If the content is king, then context is key. Where your messages are placed is just as important as what they say! Think of it this way: are you more likely to remember a billboard you saw driving down the highway or a blog that answered your specific Google search? Probably the latter. Inbound marketing aims to not only create the right content, but to put it in the right place at the right time. This could mean anything from search engine optimization (SEO) to blogging, landing pages, podcasts, case studies, or whitepapers. Remember, inbound marketing is all about providing value, not interruptions.
5. Leads Aren't Built in a Day
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are inbound marketing leads. Traditional marketing tactics, such as mass direct mailings, are typically sent to a large, general audience. While this means a quick turnaround time on results, it also means a quick turnaround on customer loyalty. Inbound marketing, however, is a gradual process of establishing your presence, building authority, and cementing your brand and content as a go-to resource. If you typically rely on traditional marketing, the switch to inbound marketing’s slower pace may initially surprise you. But it’s worth it! Think of it as an investment, not a purchase. You can expect inbound marketing to yield a 3x higher ROI than traditional marketing over time, so be patient and let it grow.
All companies, no matter how big or small can benefit from employing inbound marketing techniques. Whether you want to generate traffic, leads, or loyalty, inbound marketing can help your business reach new heights.