Inbound and outbound marketing

What is Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing (drives specific traffic to your business)

Driving traffic to take action, to buy or hire your company can be done by a plethora of internet marketing strategies. You need to decide what will work, what to try and be open for what is new. The term inbound marketing refers to all your internet efforts; blogs, newsletters, a website, social media, and pay per click (SEM), all of these are geared towards creating awareness, branding, attract and help new customers, and encourages current customers to return. The customers that find you due to your inbound efforts are looking for specifics, researching and buying. They are more likely to take an action than not. Hence a greater ROI.

Not every technique or tool works for everyone

As mentioned, you need to determine what social media will work for your business. Your website can’t just be pretty, it has to be search engine optimized, interactive, relevant and accurate to the service or goods promoted on it, and EASY TO USE. Newsletters and email blasting also have their place. Most every business can send these out. They can be designed to announce a yearly event, promote postings or pages on a site, or be to educate consumers about a service you offer.

I know a store owner who holds a yearly anniversary sale. I stopped in and by chance discovered everything was 20% because of the anniversary. I also got to participate in a raffle. When I asked how it was going, she said it had been pretty busy (the store was empty when I was there). Then, of course, I had to ask if she sent out an email about the sale, had anything on her website, posted it on a Facebook page or Instagram, or was collecting email addresses from those who walked in during the sale. Her response was no, but maybe she should have. It was sad to know the missed opportunities. Hopefully, she will do some things differently for her next sale.

Outbound Marketing (drives a broader range of traffic)

Outbound marketing generates some traffic; however, it is more hit or miss. These strategies are very similar to what was done when the internet didn’t exist. Distributing items at trade shows, cold calling, hosting and participating in seminars, network business groups, i.e., anywhere, persons have to initiate a conversation to generate a lead. Take the story above, I asked the store owner those questions and joked about calling me and handed her my card. I initiated the conversation, and now, hopefully, she will call me. No guarantee, but you never know. For some businesses, I think this is the best way to go. Especially for local where, word of mouth, and meeting someone in person is significant. My own business, as a web developer, webmaster, etc. I have had more success when I meet people in person. I am not a hard sell, and I have discovered that when I have held seminars, I have generated a few jobs each time. Same with cold calling. I stopped in to check in with one client, then saw the owner of another the next building over. I took a chance, the most anyone can say is no, and went over to talk that owner. Two days later, I was hired to create a website for Croydon Mountain Homes.

Lessons learned

You have to look at both types of marketing. I make a list of options for every client when we talk about digital marketing strategies. It is important to consider then to set up a monthly and year-long plan. It is equally important to review the successes and failures. Look at the conversion rate. If sending out emails about a sale generated more sales than past sales and your expenses to do the email was minimal, then it’s a keeper. On the other hand, if you hire someone to stand out on the side of the road for 8 hours dressed as a chicken and you increase sales by a few dollars, well, that is a lesson learned. The key is to try and review, then try something else.