Marketing has changed, thanks to the digital revolution. With the introduction of the Internet, we have moved from outbound marketing tactics towards inbound marketing.
In this post, I will share the differences between both strategies and why inbound marketing is a better long-term investment.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing consists of disrupting customers. Its success is based on how many people you can get your message in front of. With this tactic, think of old media forms such as TV, radio, print, billboards, etc.
I like to refer to this as “marketing that interrupts” because the consumer is performing another task and you pay to disrupt them. This method has little ways to measure ROI and is based on large-scale impressions. Outbound marketing is expensive and challenging because it’s hard to reach a narrow target market.
However, this approach is ideal for achieving general awareness and for broadcasting a message to the public as a whole. Outbound marketing techniques are ideal for extensive marketing campaigns that are focused on a broad audience. Think of products in national stores or nationally released movies.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of getting consumers’ permission to give them information that educates, entertains, or informs.
Some mediums for inbound marketing include search engines, blogs, podcasts, and email newsletters “that you have subscribed to.” I like to consider this “permission based marketing” because the consumer searches for a solution, and you provide an answer.
Inbound marketing uses precise analytics to measure its ROI, and it’s usually performance based (pay per click or pay for impressions). If you’re a small business, inbound marketing helps to minimize your budget and also helps you focus on a narrow target market.
The four primary forms of inbound marketing include search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, and pay per click. Since the majority of businesses are small businesses, I assume you will focus on inbound marketing techniques. Now I want to share the main metrics you should focus on based on which form of marketing you’re using. I also want to give you information about what strategies to use first and why.
Search Engine Optimization
With inbound marketing, you must focus on SEO first due to the need to understand if a topic you want to write about has any demand. Without researching keywords, you will end up writing content without actually understanding your customers’ needs and what they are searching for online. By finding keywords with a good search volume, you can create content that your potential clients care about, but more importantly are seeking out.
After researching keywords, writing content is the next logical step. The Internet is nothing more than a bunch of files hosted on databases. Ask yourself, why do you go online?
More than likely, you do so to absorb information that educates, entertains, or informs. Create content with keywords within your title, in your meta description, in your content, and also in your alt tags.
If your industry is competitive, you might need to write long form articles. I recommend analyzing the first page results for your targeted keyword to determine the domain authority and the average word count of each article. Moz toolbar and SEMrush are two great tools that can help with that process.
It should be noted that inbound marketing is a long-term strategy. Expect to rank for keywords within six months based on competition. I personally recommend using HubSpot ROI calculator to determine how inbound marketing can benefit your bottom line.
Social Media Marketing
Now that you have content, you face a challenge that makes or breaks websites. You need to create a social media plan that helps you promote your content.
Social media is important for three reasons. It allows you to build awareness, engage with customers, and also increase your reach. For the purpose of this blog post, I will focus on reach. I like to correlate reach with the ability to distribute content.
To increase your social media shares, consider linking to the content of bloggers who are active on social media. This practice will allow you to perform blogger outreach effectively. The ROI can be enormous. Expect to gain some social shares from bloggers, and in some cases, you may even acquire a backlink.
Pay Per Click
I rank this inbound marketing strategy last because it requires capital to do it effectively. While all of these strategies cost money to implement, effective PPC is by far the most expensive initially. However, it has the quickest results because you pay for a particular action or website visit.
Use Google Analytics to focus on the first three tactics to gather data for about a month or two. Then consider what conversion goals you want to focus on. In addition, look for trends, potential keywords, and opportunities around which to create paid campaigns.
Now go and take action. The best lessons learned in life come through trial and error! If you want to take your company to the next level, take time to develop an inbound marketing strategy.
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