Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. As you would think, this is a sharp contrast to outbound marketing (trade shows, TV commercials, radio commercials, print ads).

Marketing

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

Being in digital marketing, we’re more partial to the complexities of inbound marketing than the simplicity of outbound marketing. In various meetings we’ve had people keep asking this same question, why is inbound better? Often times, they read different articles and blog posts but the same cookie cutter answer is always given. You’ve probably read it yourself, it goes like this:

Why try to buy customers with traditional “outbound marketing” when consumers aren’t even paying attention?

  • 45% of direct mail never gets opened, 200 million people are on the national Do Not Call Registry
  • 85% of people fast forward through commercials
  • 84% of 25-35 year-olds are likely to click off a website with excessive advertising
  • Banner ads don’t convert

Does that sound about right?

Suffice it to say, inbound marketing is different. Inbound works by earning someone’s attention, rather than buying it. But there’s more to it than this.

The term inbound marketing is relatively new. In the beginning we referred to it as “SEO” and “content marketing” but there really wasn’t a word for the shift marketers were seeing in online marketing. SEO changed, and digital marketing was becoming more and more different from traditional marketing. Digital distribution made analysis extremely measurable and results-based, showing that inbound marketing was actually more successful than outbound marketing. When it’s done the right way.

Not only was traditional distribution much different from digital but the message was evolving too. The more marketers were learning about the message, the better the results got. “Digital marketing” or “traditional marketing” spoke to the distribution of the message, but “inbound marketing” was a new message in itself.

Outbound marketing (traditional marketing) is the marketing my parents grew up with. As time went on, not only did costs increase but competition to reach their audiences did too. Marketers had to change in order to increase conversions. So they dumbed everything down. What’s left? Ads with bright colors, discounts and cute puppies. We’re not that dumb.

Enter the shift the advertising industry had to make.

Interruption Based vs. Permission Based

Outbound marketing is essentially interruption based marketing. I’m sure you know of a couple car dealership owners touting low lease or financing offers. They’re hoping that with some careful planning and looking at the demographics, a percentage of the audience will listen and convert to a customer.

Inbound marketing however is permission based. There are two premises, one being to communicate with mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate. The other, answer the questions people are asking and share those answers around the web because chances are, other people have the same question.

Is the audience smaller? Yes. But, because the audience is more engaged and already “leaning forward” this audience converts at a 750% higher rate than outbound marketing. Additionally, your online audience is never ending. By targeting the right keywords, you can answer the questions your prospects might be asking about what you offer. The conversion rates with this are extremely high.

Linear vs. Holistic

So what’s the strategy of outbound marketing? You only have so many mediums like TV and radio to use (there are more). As a result, the strategy is very linear. With this, you simply look at which mediums most accurately address your target market and you start checking off the boxes. You look at which mediums are performing the best, and move a higher percentage of that budget to that particular medium. And then, repeat, repeat, repeat.

With inbound marketing, the strategy is holistic and is more complex. It means using different digital channels, optimizing website landing pages, creating high quality engaging content and finally, using tools to measure it all with.

Everything works together.

In order to carry out an inbound marketing campaign, the website needs to be strong because it’s the website that carries out the messaging, a content marketing strategy and acts as a hub for distribution. It must have a blog, it must be responsive, it needs a call to action strategy, it needs to have micro and macro conversions and an easy to work with CMS. Once all of this is in place, then the content can be created and shared.

When your inbound strategy is firing on all cylinders, you have a solid website, your distribution is amplified and your distribution channels are feeding your website visitors where prospects convert.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Immeasurable vs. Quantifiable

It’s hard to measure your outbound marketing efforts. You can ask where your prospects heard of you but often times, the results are not reliable. This lack of complexity paves the way to a lack of results.

With inbound marketing, everything is digital and everything is quantifiable. Complex algorithms track everything, from your marketing strategies effectiveness to if it is converting potential customers into full-blown clients. Inbound marketing is all measurable and allows you to analyze everything from the ROI of various distribution channels to whether the size of a call to action button was the right size.

What’s even better is you can track someone as soon as they hit your website. This tells you how they got there and how much time they’re spending on different pages. This in depth analysis allows you to see which pages get the most views, who’s reading what blog posts and lead generation metrics.

Inbound marketing works because it enables you to talk to people who let you talk to them on an organic, holistic approach.

The Attention Show: More Website Traffic, the Good Monster Way

Watch the show for full details!

You want more traffic to your website right? There are the traditional ways of gaining traffic, then there are our ways which include content marketing and influencer engagement. In this episode of the Attention Show, John and Chris take you through the ways Good Monster helps client’s see more qualified website traffic.

The Future of Content Marketing

 

Episode 56

Don’t have time to read the post? Click here to watch this episode

Change is the only constant in digital marketing, especially content marketing and the outlook for 2015 predicts that it will continue to be. If you wish to continue reaching prospective customers, staying current and even ahead of trends in the field is crucial. Monitoring the ever-evolving trends and adjusting your digital marketing efforts to reflect these changes will continue to nurture and grow your connection with consumers. Below are some digital marketing tips to give you a head start.

1. Micro Targeting

Put away your “marketing playbook” and dive deeper into personalization and customization. Look for strategies that allow you to locate small but profitable areas of your market. Finding these customers will require a better understanding of their needs, lifestyle and what motivates them. By obtaining this information you will then be able to create one-on-one conversations for successful micro targeting.

2. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile fosters engagement; and digital marketing today presents an “always on” connection with your consumers. Consumers now have the ability to interact with brands wherever they are and whenever they want. This presents a great opportunity for digital marketers and the brands they represent to create new experiences that fit the persona and experiences of your consumers. These new experiences will require a “tune-up” to your mobile strategy. For example, content such as infographics that is consumed via desktop or laptop, does not mean it will perform the same on mobile devices. Small screen sizes and different resolutions are the cause of this. In order for consumers to have a great experience consuming content, brands will need to utilize different display technologies that will adjust content based on users screen size and resolution. Even micro content on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter offer consumers quick little “snippets”.

3. Develop Original Quality Content

More and more brands are turning into publishers and their content is becoming much more compelling. This new content is able to adapt across various platforms and written for a very specific audience. Creating this quality content will showcase your expertise in your industry, however, takes a significant amount of time and effort. Because of this, more marketers are designating an editorial team that oversees the quality of content. These teams are equipped with style guides and possess tools and templates to support consistency across content. If however an editorial team is not possible, marketers may look to agencies or even experienced freelancers for creating content, social media management and reviewing analytics.

Consumer trends and the channels they get information are constantly changing. It is up to those in charge of the brand’s digital marketing efforts, including content marketing efforts to understand consumers on a deeper level and stay out in front of the trends. Incorporating these strategies will jumpstart your business’ digital marketing efforts in 2015.

14 Ways Your Blog Can Bring Local Customers to Your Business

Many small businesses are still stuck with the impression that the best way to advertise locally is in the paper, on a billboard or with a radio ad. While these media platforms definitely have some value, typically they are not the best use of time or money when it comes to marketing your business.

Now, I know what you are thinking; and yes, while we are certainly a little biased, we also have seen the power of online marketing at driving customers to make purchases.

Blogs and social media networks are low cost marketing platforms that have a potentially wide spread reach. Blogging to the local audience can have a profound impact on driving customers to your website, and eventually your front door.

Check out these 14 ways that your blog can bring local customers to your business:

Content Sharing on Social Media

This is a no-brainer, but pumping out valuable information through your blog gives you content to share on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit and all the other platforms out there. Just think, if you get one customer from any of these networks, it was worth it! So get posting!

Increased Exposure with Facebook Advertising

Facebook’s relatively new feature to boost a post to more viewers has allowed any business to get their message out to a larger audience. However, it is limited in what options you can target. An even better feature is in the Facebook ad creation area. This area allows a business to specifically target viewers based on geographical area, interests, and a host of other options. Blog posts can be promoted on Facebook with a high level of targeting to your potential customer right in your hometown. Jackpot!

More Links and Headlines With Your Local Business Name

Updating your blog with company news using your business name will pump the search engines with more content tagged with your name. You can post titles like Jack’s Plumbing in Brooklyn Is Fully Insured or The Cookie House Awarded “Best Place to Work in Syracuse”. Just like it used to be with traditional media like newspapers, TV and radio, the more your name is out on the Internet, the more visibility you will have. The power of “search” is huge on the local level – upwards of 80% of people go research a product or service online before actually making a purchase – and if your business name is there, your chances of getting picked go “ding-ding-ding!”

Increase In Search Engine Rank

As we know search is king. When people click on your blog post links, whether through social media or from search engines, it tells Google people care what you have to say. This increase in traffic will boost your search rankings and again, make your business more visible to the people that matter.

Ability to Ask Customers to Comment

Many businesses are scared sh*tless of having people posting opinions about their products or services on their blog, Facebook or Twitter. Our team at Good Monster thinks it’s one of the most valuable aspects of social marketing. It gives the people that buy from you a voice, a sense that their opinion matters. Where you might see a bad review, we see an opportunity to show them you care. Where you see bad visibility, we see an opportunity to show the public that you want to give them the best possible product/service. Encourage your readers to comment and start a conversation with them. Give them more than they expect and your business will reap the benefits.

Hashtags Will Bring Searchers and Potentially Readers

“Hail the hashtag!” Hashtags grew in popularity on Twitter, but have now been adopted by virtually every social media network out there. They are a way to search keywords that people tag their posts with. For example if someone wants to find what’s going on in Rochester they can use Facebook’s search bar to search #Rochester. Or if they want to find a lawyer in Sacramento they can type #SacramentoLawyer. This is nice and all, but the real value is to use already popular hash tags to boost visibility. If you share your blog post about Apple computer repair on Twitter with #Apple, you best bet that you are going to get some hits.

Include YouTube Videos To Build A Larger Audience

YouTube is a huge resource for business of all sizes. The big ones can put high-budget videos online promoting their services and make people laugh or cry their way to sharing their content. The small ones can use them to show people why they are the best at what they do and improve search ranks in Google. YouTube videos are search engine gold, especially when the right keywords are included in the title.

Promote Blog-Only Product Specials

Social media makes it easy to drive people to read your blog. Another great way to draw people in is to run contests and/or specials on your blog. For example maybe a restaurant could run a “Freebie-Friday” giveaway in which they give away free meal coupons to the first person that comments on your most recent blog post. Another example is a dry cleaning company could give away a “free dry clean to the fifth person that sends us an email using our email form on our website” – this has two benefits. Number one you are getting people’s email addresses for future targeted marketing, and two you are engaging your customers with kickbacks for being loyal.

Get Affiliated Businesses to Share Your Posts

Most businesses have professional relationships with vendors or neighboring businesses. Make good use of these relationships by offering to help them get their word out on your social media channels, while they do the same for you. Encourage them to share your blog posts, especially if they are relevant for their business. This is a great way to attract customers that might not have been exposed to your business before.

Educate Your Customers

This is one of the easiest ways to keep a local crowd coming back to your blog. If a law firm educates people in Boise, Idaho about changes in city laws and ways to avoid legal trouble, it will set the firm apart from other law firms. The local public will see that they are very knowledgeable in the legal field and will be more likely to think of them when they have a legal issue. Give your customers repeated valuable information and they won’t forget you.

Make Your Posts Sharable on Google+

As you know Google is king when it comes to search engines. About 65-70% of this world uses Google to plan their purchases, map their routes, read their news and find entertainment. Even though when it comes to social media networks, Google’s Google+ is not at the top of the food chain; there is one major benefit to sharing posts (or making your posts sharable) on Google+. Google seems to play favorites in this instance, and websites that are getting a lot of “+1’s” or shares on Google+, are getting ranked higher. Moral of the story, post good blog content and add a “+1” button at the top of your blog.

Use an Email Signup Form to Increase Readers

Making your blog easy to read for your potential customers should be your number 2 goal, behind posting great content. The easier it is for them to see your great content, the more they will read it. This is why having an enticing pitch on your website, as to why they should signup for email updates of your blog, is important. If they receive your blog posts in their email every day or so, and don’t have to actually go to your website on their own, you have a much greater chance of getting them to read your content.

Post and Link to Reviews and Testimonials

About 90% of people trust positive online reviews to guide them on business decisions, as outlined in a study by Dimensional Research. Why not make these reviews more easily visible to your customers to by highlighting them on your blog. To ensure that people don’t think you are making them up, link to the actual review on Google or Yelp. If you cannot link to a testimonial, because it’s written on paper or in an email, take a picture or screenshot and post that on your blog.  Whether it’s a testimonial or a review, it proves that you know your stuff and that people trust you.

TV, Print and Radio Ads Cost Way More

Let’s be honest, what would you rather pay for advertising space, 1,000’s of dollars or zero dollars? Blog’s offer a low- to no-cost advertising platform that is more personal and engaging to your potential customers. With a little bit of time and effort, blogging can reach your local audience with a relatively small dent in your ad budget.

14 Reasons Digital Marketing is a Better Investment

Digital Marketing is no longer its own segment of advertising and marketing, it is integrated into the mix as a major player that has blown past it’s traditional counterparts TV, radio and print. While traditional marketing still has high value with many brands, digital marketing can help the smallest startup grow into a giant brand. Here is why:

Ability to create an experience

One of the best ways to draw a potential customer to love your brand is to create an unforgettable experience. The digital space allows you to create mobile apps that are useful for people and show them that you are helpful. It offers platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to make your followers laugh, cry and get motivated through pictures, videos and posts. The digital space has unlimited potential to create and mold unique experiences for people, bringing them to say, “Wow, this is cool, I will follow that.”

YouTube vs. TV

YouTube has 171 million American monthly visitors, and is free – plus you can embed videos on your website, Facebook, Twitter and every other social media network that you use. Your local TV station might be lucky to have 400,000 viewers a month and will probably cost you upward of $10,000 to get good coverage. You do the math.

Cross-promotional opportunity

A great way to get your brand in front of oodles of viewers is to tap into the customers of other businesses. By establishing relationships with businesses in industries that run parallel with yours, you can potentially “share” customers and cross promote. These relationships can increase brand awareness and hopefully sales for both companies. If nurtured and developed, these business relationships can result in years of fruitful earnings.

Business development from your fingertips

Digital marketing positions your brand in front of an array of different eyeballs. But an underestimated feature of social media and blogging is business development. Just as your high paid BD employees do in person, you have the ability to reach out and connect with other professionals in your industry via LinkedIn, blogs or Twitter. The first step is to research potential relationships and reach out; but for these connections to prove valuable, you need to develop them into face-to-face opportunities.

Potential for greater frequency

It is reported that it takes 7 times for a person to see an ad for it to register and potentially take action. With the hundreds of different digital platforms to show people what makes your brand special, these 7 “views” can happen a lot more often, and a lot quicker than with non-digital platforms.

Low-cost advertising

You can definitely succeed without spending money on digital advertising; but if you have the budget buying ad space can be incredibly effective and low-cost. Facebook advertising can be done for a couple hundred bucks a week. Google ads are a bit more but affordable compared to traditional advertising. Paid advertising can get you space in front of the right kind of eyes. There are hundreds of different ways to buy advertising online; from sponsored content, to banner ads, to rich media ads – there is value in all of them depending on your goals. The best part is they are almost always more cost effective and efficient than traditional advertising.

Instant analytics

Traditional advertising success such as TV, print, billboard and radio is extremely hard to measure. Most likely you will try to ask your customers where they heard of you, and log answers into your marketing spreadsheet. With digital marketing, you can track clicks, purchases, likes, shares, views and a boatload of other analytics to measure your success. And to top it off you can make instant changes based on the feedback.

Targeted reach

You could reach 200,000 local viewers (or more) with a TV commercial. How do you know if they are looking at the TV when your commercial comes on? How do you know they are in your target demographic of 18-25 year old basket weavers? It will be tough to track sales. If you run a low-cost Facebook Promoted Post you could reach thirty 20-year-old basket weavers and get 10 sales from it; all of which you tracked with your analytics.

More agile marketing

What are the consequences if you film an entire commercial and realize the actor had a booger in his nose? Simple, you reshoot another $20,000 commercial. What happens if you put a Pinterest “pin” up that has a letter missing? Simpler, you delete, add the letter, and repost.

Instant engagement

As stated earlier, it takes a reported 7 times for someone to view an ad before they take action. In a weekly newspaper, that means 7 weeks. For a billboard that someone drives by once a day, that means 7 days. On TV that means a sh*tload of money spent on airtime.  Digitally, this could be done across 7 platforms in 1 hour. (Note: you do have to get fans on multiple networks for this to be possible, or buy ads)

Multiple levels of engagement

With social media and blogging you can target people for different levels of engagement. For instance you might want people to click on a link from a blog post to buy a product. Or maybe you just want people to see a picture with the date of an upcoming concert. Maybe you want people to share a promotion in order to get new customers. Or maybe you just want everyone to “like” your post so that more people will read it. Social media and digital marketing allows multiple levels of engagement thus giving you more control over user view-ability.

It’s up forever

This is an easy one. If you lease billboard space it’s up for a few months, then it’s gone; and who knows who has seen it. If you post a single Facebook post, it’s up forever and you can keep re-posting it periodically to engage more people.

The ability to tag

Tagging posts, tweets and messages has changed the way people search for things on the Internet. You want to know all about the hottest styles out now? Type #style, #mensstyle or #womensstyle into Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr and you will instantly get a glimpse of the hottest styles from around the globe. This ability to tag posts gives brands the opportunity to do two things: (1) nudge customers to check out services or products with branded tags (2) search existing tags to find and engage new customers.

“Share-ability”

I vote this the “most valuable player” in the game of digital marketing. The “shareability” of social media exponentially increases the viewership of your posts, allowing other peoples network’s to see them. For example, people can share pictures of your favorite restaurant, or taking your son to a game featuring his favorite team, or videos of you playing golf at a travel destination with your brand new clubs. The ability to share content serves as a testimonial for the shared brand – it says, “I like this, you should try it too”.

Content Marketing Will Pull People To Love Your Business

Quick, can you give me the definition of content marketing? If not, you need a lesson ASAP before even thinking about marketing your business online. Content marketing is exactly what it sounds like – it is content (whether text, photos or video) that is produced by people, and marketed or advertised to other people. If it’s really good content then it might be shared organically by others – thus spreading the word about your brand.

This is what marketing on the internet is all about. Bringing people into your world and showing them what your thinking, doing, liking and interested in – because if you happen to be sharing things that improve their lives, they will keep coming back for more.

Mark my words; if you are not doing some sort of digital content marketing right now, your business will be drowned in the sea of information online. Why? Because that’s THE only reason people use the Internet – to get information. If you aren’t providing people with some sort of value to your brand, they will forget you.

Technically, content marketing has been going on for hundreds of years via newspapers, letters, notes, etc. Basically, it’s selling people on your ideas; but today it has a much stronger meaning because there is so much information being produced by the second.

How much information exactly? Here is a little infographic we made to put it all into perspective.

Content_creation_Infographic-e1371756633648