There is a new pair of phrases on the marketing front – inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Are these anything new, or are they just new names?
In my opinion, both of these are simply new names! There are no particularly new marketing ideas hidden away, they are more just grouping together what we already have into two logical groups.
This is quite simply the traditional marketing that we have put up with since marketing began. It is actively going out and disturbing people from their day to day business to get their attention, probably when they least want it.
Outbound marketing includes techniques such as television commercials, newspaper and radio adverts, posters, adverts on the side of the bus and so on. This style of marketing is the type of marketing offered to people when they are least expecting it and probably neither wanting it nor in a position to be able to buy if they wanted to. Aside from A-Boards outside of shops and menus and posters, or course, outbound marketing is about driving brand awareness and hoping that these people remember you and later become customers.
Now this one is different and uses a lot of emerging technologies. Inbound Marketing focuses on grabbing your potential customers’ attentions when they are best positioned to buy from you, maybe even when they are actively researching your product.
Inbound marketing uses technologies based around the internet for this. For example:
Search engine optimisation – to position your website at the top of search engine listings just at the moment that a potential customer is looking for your services
Blogging – in part this can be tied into search engine optimisation, but it is also potentially talking to an audience about a product or products that could be relevant to them at that time. Many successful bloggers run work at home careers through blogging about items that they then affiliate sell. So inbound marketing can include blogging for yourself and, with this one probably having the better reach to your audience, paying bloggers to do the work for you.
Tweeting – pretty similar to blogging, after all Twitter is counted as micro blogging. Just here the messages are shorter in length, but they can potentially reach out to thousands of followers, especially if you get a celebrity Tweeter tweeting for you!
Forums – with a little care, even forums can be used for inbound marketing. Do not go around starting new threads, but if there is a problem on a forum and you have the solution in your product, then mention it. No-one complained when I posted a link to hotels with accommodation near to a big event a few years ago. That link was an affiliate link and 3 years later people are still using that link, just from the one post!
No-one in their right mind would say drop outbound marketing and go just for inbound, not for a large company anyway. But if you are small or on a tight budget, inbound marketing could be a cheap way of starting off. After all, it is only grouping together the marketing systems we have been using for a little while now!