Marketing is more often than not the single factor that can make or break your business. Successful marketing can help you keep in touch with your consumer base to produce sales, while unsuccessful marketing often ends up in the bottom of a rubbish bin. Fortunately, running a successful marketing campaign isn’t rocket science, and just about anyone these days can do a first rate job marketing their business from the comfort of their own home.
Introducing Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Modern marketing has been split between two main camps: inbound and outbound marketing. Traditionally speaking, outbound marketing is all about reaching out to new customers through unsolicited media. For most of the past century, outbound marketing was the crux of any contracting or renovation business. But with the growth of the internet, inbound marketing, or having customers reach out and find you, is more important than ever before. Where people used to use Yellow Pages advertisements or mailed brochures to distribute information about their services, modern consumers have been driven to the internet where websites, blogs and tutorials reign supreme.
An inbound-driven website will have a strong internet presence marked by SEO-optimized content and strong search engine rankings. This content will allow your business to be found online, and customers will actively seek it out in order to get to the type of information your target audience wants to learn about. On the other hand, an outbound-driven website asks or begs for customers by trying to encourage traffic through things like advertisements. This type of website more or less acts as a virtual business card, allowing customers to replace the role of a Yellow Pages listing with a Google search instead. Right away you should notice that having customers actively seek you out rather than soliciting their attention has one obvious strength—anyone who is looking you up already has buying in mind.
The Big Difference
The greatest strength of inbound marketing and the most significant difference between the two is that inbound marketing allows you to target specific demographics. For example, if your website runs a newsletter as part of an inbound marketing campaign, it can use that newsletter to send regionally and age-appropriate emails to specific individuals on that list. For construction and contractor businesses, this means a greater degree of access to highly valuable older demographics.
But that’s not all—you can also target users by their interests and outlooks. For example, if your business had an HVAC or lawn and garden component, inbound marketing allows you to target people who are interested in those things specifically by providing content relevant to their interests. When someone finds your content online through a search engine, they already hold an active and sustained interest in the products or services that you offer. From the moment they click your link, they are that much closer to being a buyer than someone who just stumbles across your information like they would with outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is also drastically cheaper to develop leads with. This is because inbound marketing virtually markets itself. Not only will customers actively seek out information in order to make informed and intelligent purchases, if that information is packaged correctly, your audience is likely to share it with their own social network. In short, countless amounts of web traffic will be generated with virtually no additional work on your behalf. This may ultimately cause a snowball effect when Google notices the extra attention your website is receiving and ranks it better as a result, leading to even more traffic.
While both inbound and outbound marketing can be used in concert for the best possible results, it’s important to not underplay the significant role that the former can offer your business. There are countless individuals on the fence, whether they know it or not, about getting their next remodeling or construction job done. When you start to reach out to these customers, you’ll begin to make sales that probably otherwise would have never existed.
Photo credit: seomoz.org