Is inbound marketing the most efficient way of getting your brand discovered?
Conventional marketing principles frequently espouse the importance of getting the word out to prospective leads and consumers. Businesses around the world are encouraged to take out daily advertisements in prominent newspapers, distribute flyers and send out mailers to promote their brand offerings.
For this reason, it comes as no surprise that direct marketing strategies have emerged as the core of a global industry worth approximately $93.6 billion. Nonetheless, this persistent barrage of advertisements has culminated in a consumer audience that is both desensitised and distrustful of outbound marketing messages.
Coupled with the proliferation of ad-blocking technologies, marketers now face a severe handicap when it comes to proliferating commercial messages in today’s sceptical world. From national ‘Do Not Call’ registries to adblocker plugins, consumers are becoming increasingly adept at shutting out advertisements online and offline.
If there ever comes a time when marketers have to adapt and re-think their strategies, it is now.
Enter inbound marketing, an essential new approach to brand promotion that inverts the traditional brand-consumer relationship. Rather than reaching out to buyers, marketers instead direct their efforts towards crafting customer-centric campaigns and strategies that focus on drawing in interested prospects.
Why choose to go with inbound marketing?
The perceived value of inbound marketing stems from the numerous functional advantages that it offers to marketers. In addition to lending well to the primary goal of generating consumer interest, inbound marketing also allows marketers to execute promotional campaigns and/or plans in a resource-friendly manner.
That said, here are some key advantages that inbound marketing strategies have to offer:
1. Stronger Customer Relationships
As opposed to outbound marketing strategies that focus on plying consumers with popups, television commercials and other advertising messages, inbound marketing plans instead prioritise building quality brand-related content. This helps to forge stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships founded on a potent combination of trust and sustained interest.
Online inbound strategies in turn emphasise content marketing through blog articles, podcasts and videos, which are suitable mediums for publishing customer-centric messages relating to new products and services.
For example, popular video game development companies Blizzard and Valve publish their own blogs and maintain social media channels as a way of drawing in interested prospects and alerting consumers to their latest offerings
2. Greater Cost-Efficiency
Outbound marketing strategies often see the use of costly broadcast methods of getting a brand’s message out. Television commercials, full-page newspaper ads and public outdoors displays can cost up to thousands of dollars, making them unfeasible promotion channels for small to medium businesses (SMEs). On the other hand, inbound marketing platforms, such as social media, tend to be less cost-demanding. Setting up a company page on Facebook or a YouTube channel is free, and content production costs for both channels are more affordable as compared to broadcast mediums.
As per the adage ‘time is money’, outbound marketing can drastically reduce the amount of time spent on marketing to boot. Precious manpower hours spent on ringing up contact lists or distributing flyers can be saved and spent on executing more effective promotional strategies. Put simply, inbound marketing is the superior choice for SMEs due to its ability to raise productivity, lower costs and yet still reach out to desired audiences.
3. A More Personable Brand
Last but not least, inbound marketing strategies are advantageous as they inherently encourage brands to create a more personable image. As opposed to pushing a one-sided conversation where consumers are relentlessly battered with a sales pitch, inbound marketing instead emphasises the importance of interacting with consumers in a way that drives their interest.
Prospects who interact with a brand’s inbound marketing initiatives typically belong to a targeted audience group who are curious about its offerings, be it a product, service or content. Accordingly, businesses are motivated to build a genuine relationship with these prospects that will allow them to leverage on this interest in the long term.