Sometimes businesses put a new “skin” on something in an attempt to make what they’re doing look new. Have you ever bought something “new and improved” only to find out that the only thing “new” was the package it came in?
Some businesses today are doing the same thing with their marketing efforts. They think that just because they’re online or using Twitter or Facebook that they’re somehow reaching more people more efficiently. In fact, what they’re doing is ticking off more people more efficiently.
Are your “inbound” efforts really just old marketing masquerading as new marketing? Just because you’ve moved your marketing efforts to a digital platform doesn’t make your marketing “inbound” marketing. Inbound marketing recognizes that the customer is in control. He or she invites you “in” because you’ve demonstrated that you have something of value to offer. Giving someone a digital sales pitch is really no different than giving them a physical sales pitch. Unless someone asked for that pitch, they probably don’t want it.
Here’s an actual example of digital “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” marketing. A business colleague of ours recently received an email message informing him that “Someone suggested you would be interested in touring our workout facility.” The email came from a business he knew (they both belonged to a social business club). But there was nothing social about this email. None of his friends or acquaintances had contacted him and suggested that he visit this health club. The marketing guy at the health club simply got our colleague’s email address (through their business club connection) and pushed his way into his mailbox, claiming that “somebody” thought he’d be interested.
That’s using “new” marketing tools (email and social networks) in a decidedly “old” (and ineffectual) way. And it didn’t fool our colleague for a second.
Inbound marketing isn’t just about using new tools (Facebook, Twitter, blogging). It’s about rethinking the way you talk to your clients. It’s about having them invite you into their lives because they believe you have something valuable that they want to know more about.
For a more in-depth examination of the difference between new, “inbound” marketing and old “outbound” marketing, we invite you to download our free Inbound Outbound Marketing: The Battle Royale whitepaper.