As consumers continue to utilise the Internet to find the answers they want about products and services they are interested in, traditional marketing is quickly becoming obsolete.
This sort of marketing, also known as outbound marketing, will become so antiquated that soon enough outbound methods will only be a hinderance for businesses and their marketing budgets. Instead, any business wanting to ramp up their lead generation and overall profits will want to place their focus on inbound marketing.
According to data collected by DemandGen, 81 percent of consumers are using web search as their top means to find products and services they want to buy into. This is both for B2B and B2C leads, which means newer marketing strategies must be implemented rather than relying on traditional means such as cold calling and email blasts.
Instead, businesses should focus on inbound marketing such as video marketing, blog posts, and how to informational content. This is where businesses are going to find the most success.
However, how deep does the inbound versus outbound marketing argument go? Why exactly should a business reassess their marketing goals and start putting more effort into inbound marketing?
Outbound vs. Inbound: Costs, Prices & Budgets
The most important factor for any marketing department is going to be the budget. The differences between inbound and outbound marketing can be found all the way down to how budgets are allocated. For example:
- According to CMO Magazine, marketers are allocating 7.6 percent of their marketing budgets to social media. By 2017, this number is expected to rise up to 18.8 percent.
- A whopping 89 percent of marketers will be increasing their inbound marketing budgets between now and the next five years, as HubSpot has discovered with their own data.
- Also discovered by HubSpot: leads from inbound marketing cost 61 percent less than the average outbound lead.
The cost between inbound and outbound leads are also significant, with a £139 difference. This means that any business, whether large or small, can allot more toward marketing that can actually make a difference in sales goals, instead of spending so much money on a lead that has a higher risk of not buying into the product or service.
Outbound vs. Inbound: Methods & Strategies
The strategies being used in outbound marketing are completely opposite of inbound marketing. For example, inbound focuses on creating a memorable customer experience through newer marketing methods such as content marketing and social media. Outbound focuses on just getting a message out there, no matter the quality of the lead, with older strategies such as television and print.
One of the biggest advantages of inbound marketing happens to be content, such as blog posts, how to articles, and video content. Here are more statistics from HubSpot on the importance of content channels:
- An average of 92 percent of businesses that blog multiple times a week acquire a customer on a frequent basis.
- Businesses who use social media see 42 percent of responses from potential leads.
- The biggest channels for lead generation for B2B and B2C businesses is LinkedIn and a company blog respectively.
Most of all, MarketingProfs discovered in 2012 that 75 percent of buyers want businesses to “curb” their sale messages and actually produce quality content that is informative, engaging, and shareable. This sort of thinking is only going to continue to grow as businesses develop solid channels which provide informational and entertaining content for their leads and buyers. This also means normal methods used in outbound are not going to work.
Major brands such as Coca-Cola and L’Oreal have developed content channels which are consistently producing online articles, videos, online pictures and a strong community with customers encouraged to interact with the business. Even smaller businesses can develop the same kind of strategies with their own company blog as well as creating new channels that involve all sorts of multimedia.
Any business should at least have the following for a successful inbound marketing strategy:
- A company blog that is updated daily–at least weekly.
- Company accounts on at least all the major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There is also newer players such as Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ to consider.
- A search optimisation strategy which involves Pay-Per-Click advertising and search marketing.
- Content marketing outside of blogging, such as video production, online articles, or creating graphical images on a daily schedule.
- Conversion optimisation and usability to remove the roadsblocks user have when using your website and making your website more persuasive.
All of the effort being put forth into social media, online content, and company blogging isn’t for nothing. In fact, it is starting to become the best way for businesses to utilise their marketing and get the most out of their lead generation and sales goals.
All it takes is reworking a marketing plan to focus more on an inexpensive inbound marketing plan rather than a risky and very expensive outbound marketing strategy.