“Outbound Marketing” – the older and less-effective way
Most businesses today still have the old “Outbound Marketing” strategy that disrupts or imposes on people in order to get a marketing message across…
It uses tools such as telemarketing, unsolicited (opt-out) emails, unsolicited postal mail and adverts in printed media.
It’s all about pushing your wares in-front of the customer even when they’re not interested.
As we know, we’ve all found ways to ignore the disruption or used tools to block or dispose of it such as CallerID, spam filters, email cleaning filters, and the trusty rubbish bin. Marketers have really shot themselves in the foot by over-disrupting people and are now considered an annoyance to be ignored.
Instead of attempting (and these days failing) to disrupt people, why not encourage a relationship between you and your customers & prospects where they talk about their needs and interests and you listen (and respond)…
The new and effective way of connecting with customers – ‘inbound marketing’
Trust is getting more important for building business, and this usually relies on effective relationship-building.
“Inbound marketing” is about building a relationship with your customers and prospects with the intention of establishing open and transparent communication. The key thing here is that you as a business actually listen, tune into customers where they’re at, and respond.
People are now expecting more transparent and mutual ‘partnering’ relationships with businesses. Inbound Marketing helps in forming that relationship such as blogs, forums, chat, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Once you establish relationships with growing trust, you build a platform for acquiring customers and ongoing sales.
But how can you use inbound marketing?
You first need to understand the profiles of your customers and prospects before looking at the tools. Find out where your customers and prospects hangout – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, forums etc…
Then watch and listen but don’t participate just yet.
Like the new kid in the schoolyard you are working out how the group members communicate with each other, how they treat new members, how they deal with people trying to ‘con’ their way into the group.
Once you have an understanding of how they interact with each other pick your time to enter into the group by participating in an existing conversation. Give your view or opinion respectively and if you can help find an answer to a question raised within the discussion. What you are doing is showing your willingness to add value to the group.
On no account enter into a discussion or start a discussion with a sales pitch. This is the fastest and most effective way of being ignored and not trusted within the group. Your mission here is to add value to the group and show your knowledge and skill.
Only then will people trust you and this will take time and effort on your part. However the rewards are worth the effort as you have in fact alerted the group to your knowledge and skill in a non-disruptive way which is what people are receptive to now.
I also recommend that you start a blog if you have not done so already focusing on your skill and knowledge (which should be related in-part to your business products and services). A blog is a fantastic environment for promoting your skill and knowledge and allowing for a community to form via post commenting. Your blog also attracts search engines which in turn point people to your site via search results.
When appropriate also point the group to your blog posts as part of the current topic but only if its providing value to the discussion. This also drives traffic back to your blog.
All this effort is to build trust and brand awareness with your prospects so when they do need a product or service that you offer you will of course be their first port-of-call.
Do you think your business can benefit from inbound marketing or is too much effort?