If you have ever ridden a commuter rail, you understand the importance of being alert to the difference between outbound and inbound. Just look what happened to Charlie on the MTA. (A great sing-a-long often heard spilling from bars in and around Boston and worth a Google if you're in the mood for a giggle.)
While it may only cost you a couple of extra tokens if you lose your inbound and outbound bearings at the train station, getting it wrong in your marketing could lead to much more serious consequences.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is the traditional stuff that most people think of when they think about marketing and includes things like print advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, TV and radio.
The defining factor of outbound marketing is that it reaches out to the consumer in the hopes of:
- grabbing their attention
- holding their attention long enough to deliver a message
- hoping the message motivates them to take action – like spend money on a product or service
The success of outbound marketing hinges on its ability to effectively interrupt you. Outbound marketing does not work as well as it used to. That's probably because the average consumer is bombarded with anywhere from 250 to 3000 messages a day depending on how much time you spend online, watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines.
With so much rapid fire information being hurled at consumers every day, is it any wonder that most people have become adept at tuning it out?
And now for the inbound scoop.
Inbound marketing is a reliably new species among marketing methods, spawned by the onsite of the internet and more specifically Web 2.0 (click for a quick definition). It includes things like free tools and trials, search engine optimization (SEO), blogs, social media like Facebook and LinkedIn and viral video using sites like YouTube.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting consumers by:
- giving them something they want, usually at no charge
- followed by building a relationship which includes giving them more of what they want at the same excellent price
- with the ultimate objective of getting them to give you permission to interrupt them from time to time by email or snail mailing with special offers or additional information about stuff they care about
The result of doing this well is the creation of a very loyal community that will tell their friends (real and cyber) about you which will cause your loyal community to grow bigger and more loyal, the larger your community, the more potential revenue.
It boils down to two opposite approaches: interruption vs. permission. When you think about it from that perspective, it makes perfect sense that outbound is giving and inbound is growing. After all, it's rude to interrupt people and it is polite to ask for permission.
Not only is inbound marketing more polite, it produces better results because:
· The relationship factor leads to higher prospect to client conversion
· The loyalty factor leads to more repeat sales
· The methods for implementing it are far less expensive than traditional outbound methods
· It's highly track-able so you can easily adjust to improve results
· There are a lot of easy to use, ready-made tools for the technically challenged.
If you're thinking, "Sounds great but I have no idea where to start, technology intimidates me and I just can not imagine taking on one more thing to manage," do not fret. I've created something called KISS 'em (Keep It Super Simple Email Marketing) designed to help you get started on your inbound journey with ease.
Whether you choose to go it alone or seek some help in your quest to create your inbound / outbound marketing mix, being conscious about the tactics you're looking to keep your primary focus.