Taking the plunge and moving to an inbound approach to your marketing is a big step. You may have been thinking about it for some time; you've downloaded the e-books from the software companies, you've been reading blog posts by your favourite inbound marketing agencies for months and you know deep-down it makes sense, but changing the entire way your marketing works is a scary commitment.
Here are five very good reasons to make that move, and make it sooner rather than later.
1. Nobody Reads the Local Paper Anymore
Sad but true. To be fair, very few people read national newspapers either. Most of us get our news on apps, by email or even on Twitter. But not in paper form. Circulation figures have more or less halved for some titles over the last 6 or 7 years. So that regular half page slot you have in the local journal is being seen by far fewer people than it was.
Tip: Instead of press advertising you can advertise on Google, or Facebook, or Instagram, or wherever your audience is, and drive traffic back to your own website where you can further engage with them.
2. Rented Mailing Lists are Unreliable
In the olden days it was common to buy or rent a list of names and addresses and send unsolicited mail to people who had roughly the same job title as your target audience. Then it changed to email addresses and you got to spam all those people who didn't know you and didn't want your email. It was always a bit hit and miss, and I've experienced some fairly dodgy lists in my time, but in these days of permission-based marketing, sending emails to people who haven't asked for them is definitely frowned upon.
Tip: Create your own permission-based list by providing something genuinely useful that will encourage your potential customers to want to engage with you.
3. Cold Calling brings you out in a Cold Sweat
That's fair enough. I've never met anyone who enjoys cold calling, and why should they? Interrupting a complete stranger to tell them about something they are probably not interested in right now is not exactly fun. That and the fact that most phone systems display your number, so that people can choose just to ignore it anyway. Have you noticed that it's much more common to schedule calls these days rather than just picking up the phone for a chat. Filtering calls is very easy and interruptions are therefore more unusual and even more unwelcome than they used to be. According to Square2Marketing cold calling is an outdated and flawed tactic and we agree.
Tip: Live chat, or a Request a Call button on your website lets you speak to people when they want to speak to you.
4. TV Audiences are too Fragmented
I'm not knocking TV advertising. It is extremely effective and, personally, I love watching great ads on TV (especially at Christmas). It's not cheap though. When there were only 2 or 3 commercial channels then you could guarantee a massive audience for your promotional extravaganza. However, now there are not only a gazillion channels but there are many other ways to watch (YouTube, Netflix etc), and so it's tricky to make the right choices and reach a big enough audience to justify your investment.
Tip: Use that TV production budget to make a film that's good enough to go viral on social media.
5. Your Boss wants Metrics
Being able to measure the results of your activities is really important but it's not always easy. It all depends on your objectives. If your PR & advertising campaign was designed to create awareness, that is perfectly valid, but you can't measure it by the number of times the phone rang or the number of new leads. You measure it by the number of people who have heard of your product, who hadn't before the campaign.
Tip: If you want more quantifiable results, you need to run a campaign with the objective of generating a response, which involves a completely different approach.
The great thing about using your website as the basis of an inbound marketing campaign is that you can measure EVERYTHING! If your boss likes metrics, she'll love inbound marketing. You can measure your search engine rankings, visits to your website, visits to your website from one specific tweet, clicks on specific buttons on specific blog posts, the number of times a specific prospect has visited a specific page... If a prospective customer can do it, you can measure it. If you can measure it, you can review it, improve it and measure it again.
Think it Through
There is not one way that is right and another way that's wrong. Your decision ultimately depends on your business objectives, your target audience and your budget. Changing to Inbound Marketing is a strategic decision that needs to be thought through carefully.