Inbound or Outbound Marketing?

Do you want your prospects to look forward to seeing your offers, information and counsel?  You can accomplish that with an Inbound or  “pull” marketing strategy which means your prospects and customers seek information you have to offer based on their needs and interests.  This is contrary to the Outbound or “push” marketing strategy that focuses on your features and repetitive intrusions.

In fact, approximately 40% of marketing budgets will be spent on content marketing in 2011 which exemplifies the Inbound strategy.  Content marketing is characterized by its ability to inform customers and prospects about key industry issues.  This may or may not involve the products or services of the company or organization publishing the content.  This soft sell approach has a far greater market appeal than blasting the features of a company to its customers and prospects without regard for the benefit it brings to the recipient.  Instead of finding ways to block an advertiser’s message, the customers or prospects actually “pull” in the information being delivered.

Content marketing is most commonly provided in print and online newsletters, online magazines, blogs, articles white papers, webcasts, webinars, videos and podcasts.  This style of content is often available via email marketing, events and other forums.

There is one rule with content marketing:  it must be relevant and valuable to create your customer’s and prospects’ desire to learn about you and your products or services.  Think:  what’s in it for them?

Here’s why it’s important to transition to Inbound/content marketing… According to the Customer Publishing Council and Roper Public Affairs:

  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information is a series of articles versus an advertisement
  • 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company
  • 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions

Inbound content marketing is not a campaign:  it’s a commitment.  It takes 12 to 18 months to see the results of your efforts.  An article published in Communication Strategy by John Buscall, entitled: “How Long Does It Take to Work?” stated that “After three months you might see a glimmer of results, after 9 months, your approach will start to be discovered by more people and at 12 months you’ll know that it’s working [and what adjustments need to be made to improve results].  And that’s if you commit to a plan, regularly create excellent online content for your marketing initiatives and track your metrics to know how you are doing.”