Let’s face it. At this time of year, tasty holiday morsels are what’s on our minds. So while we talk about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, let’s talk about recipes.
Recipes are fascinating because they get handed down from generation to generation, and they always seem to work. How often do you hear about someone bragging about their great grandmother’s recipe at a potluck? (Assuming you took time to talk with the cook and didn’t solely focus on the consumption part!)
Staying relevant and, more importantly, thriving as an organization, is not as simple as repeating a trusted recipe. Our ingredients and recipes are constantly evolving. (Thank you, technology!)
What Is Outbound Marketing?
In the old ways of doing business, most forms of marketing were outbound. There, the recipe was pushing messages out; spending money on television, newspaper ads, cold calling services; and building demand to match your supply. At this point, it’s no surprise that the idea of cold calling isn’t exactly as effective as it used to be. Many of these traditional forms of organizational growth (and relevancy) have gone stale. Think of this recipe as fruitcake.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the future of marketing (and frankly, has been for a few years). Here, the recipe is sharing expertise and stories through articles, videos, podcasts, and the like. (More on that here)
It works because societies are evolving from being authoritative to more collaborative. Let’s face it, no one likes something pushed onto them. Instead, we prefer to search, or ask a friend, and connect the dots ourselves when we have a need.
Technology has empowered this; it allows us to collaborate with one another. Does it feel better to be told something or to be a part of something? Large organizations aren’t the only ones with the ability to influence… anyone can speak up and, with the right strategy, get noticed.
A tweet gets reshared thousands of times.
A blog post gets picked up and reshared from an influencer.
A small company with a crazy idea, Blendtec, goes viral with a YouTube video. (Ever seen the “Will it blend” videos? Check out these view counts!)
Inbound marketing is classic and new ingredients mixed in interesting ways, tasted and passed around. It’s holiday craft beer blended with cherries, honey, and spice.
Things like e-mail newsletters, or following a Facebook fan page, or subscribing to a YouTube channel, help prospective buyers learn more to solve their problems (and become a part of a process).
Or, the more serious buyers conduct searches via Google with a specific phrase of exactly what they’re looking for.
This is inbound marketing. It’s when people come directly to you because you have exposed your expertise and shared stories for them to find. It’s time to share that knowledge base so the world can see that you know your stuff (not only be told that you know your stuff). An effective inbound marketing strategy (which consists of a wide range of blogging, SEO, podcasting, infographics, white papers, online videos, word of mouth, etc.), takes time to build up.
Different pieces of content relate to prospective buyers at different points in the buyer’s journey. By understanding your buyer personas, and understanding the buying cycle, you will be best positioned to create an effective inbound marketing strategy. And it will pay off in the long term.
Are you the magnet in your industry because you share your expertise?
If you’d like to learn about different inbound marketing strategies that can work for your organization, contact us now.