Digital marketing is a trend from which we hear almost-miraculous millionaire success stories. Which factors make digital marketing more attractive than traditional marketing? Is it really that good and easy to carry out? Does what we did before not work anymore? Find the answers to these questions this article.
A well designed marketing strategy takes into account all the factors of the market in order to generate demand for a product or service. Within these factors, we must take into account the 4 P's:
- promotion or advertising
We will here focus on the last one. How to:
- deliver our message
- communicate the value of our offer
- generate demand effectively
Within the analysis of the surroundings that marketers make, they must understand the uses and habits of their market. With the arrival of the internet, we as customers have adopted a new habit and use: searching online for everything that we need. And we've moved away from the habit of exposing ourselves too much time to mass media.
What happened was that people would rather focus on consuming the information that they actually need, right when they need it, instead os what happened before. With traditional media, someone else (advertisers) decided which information everyone would watch and, from this information, we each rescued what was useful for us.
That is why the use of open television has decreased and demand television, such as Netflix, has increased. I use this medium as an example, but could mention many more from the print media and radio as well.
From this use or new habit, these two tendencies can be identified:
Outbound vs Inbound
What is an Outbound Strategy?
Outbound refers to traditional marketing and advertising, by means of traditional mass media. These media are: press, radio and television. Direct mail, expositions and cold calls are also considered outbound strategies.
It is clear that this is how marketing was born and it worked very well until internet arrived. Mass media used own the information. They chose which information to share depending on the surroundings/context. And since the most practical place - and sometimes the only one - where we, viewers, could find this information was in the mass media, there was nothing we could do but expose ourselves to them for a log time.
These media has now stopped working as well as it did before since customers have the information they need just a click away from them and, if they know exactly what information they need, they won't wait to find it on traditional media.
Pros and Cons of Outbound
The main disadvantage is that we as customers no longer expose ourselves too much to these media therefore, they've lost as much audience as the time we use them.
And the biggest disadvantage is that we can't measure the results of these campaigns in an easy and affordable way. How many people did see your billboard? And from those, how many were interested on it? And from those who were, who did come into your store? and from those who did, who actually bought something? Yes, there are ways to measure this but this analysis is almost as expensive (or more!) than the campaign itself.
The biggest benefit is that they are still media that can reach lots of people in no time.
There are different aspects to consider when studying Outbound's pros and cons:
- Unidirectional, non-interactive medium
Traditional media is a medium in which the programmer and advertiser expose the content and message that they want. It is not possible to have some feedback, like we do with social networks. It is all a selfish monologue.
The trust that people had on those who advertised on media, was based on the familiarity that the brand created by repeating one same message over and over again. These is what traditional advertising campaigns were and are.
- A lot of money, huge budgets only
It is a means that helps to create brand presence so that many people become aware of the brand. It generates very large costs which are passed on to advertisers. This situation has made them unaffordable to the majority of companies. Only transnational companies can pay such high costs and broadcast their messages many times a day, in different media.
If the goal of your company is to create a brand presence with an awareness strategy then yes, you should go for traditional media.
- Spill over
In other words, not everyone who sees your ad is your market.
Since these means are so massive, their real strategy is that anyone who has 2 eyes, 1 nose and 2 ears, should know that your brand exists. Creating a profile for a target group is basically an old-school story here.
As an example, I always mention menstrual pads. The brands of these products spent millions of dollars in having me, a man, get to know them, and I won't even be their consumer, influencer or buyer ... never! However, they've broadcasted in every possible media in order to build familiarity by means of repetition and constant exposure to various media. The costs per impact are the same, regardless of whether I am a potential buyer or not.
- They are invasive
Who doesn't know that interrupting is not polite or friendly? Well that's what these messages really do. Viewers are consuming their content, say a very interesting TV show, a National Geographic documentary, when they are suddenly interrupted by your ad and are forced to watch a message that they aren't interest on, that they didn't ask for, from someone they don't know or care about. Actually, it's annoying publicity. It's what we now call SPAM.
This is why I say that YouTube ads, Google Adwords, Display ads and Facebook ads are actually Outbound. Even if they are considered as of the digital age. They share the same characteristics.
Resources for an Outbound Strategy
The message of an outbound campaign has to be very creative in order to get people's attention. It requires a great effort from communication experts in order to be able to say what has to be said in a very limited space or time, since it costs more.
This creativity and expertise can be found in traditional advertising agencies where the creatives, the art director, the account executive, the producer and the media center, will spend a whole month designing a single message. They will all make up a story around what your product is, and will afterwards launch that 1 single message that will take the form of a video for TV, a musical jingle for radio and an exceptional art design for print media. There's no room for any mistake, everything has to be precise and perfect.
Last but not least, a lot of money is needed in order to produce all these materials and to be able to broadcast them for at least 3 months, every day, in many different shows, and even many times during a same program.
What is an Inbound Strategy?
An Inbound Strategy is to use digital media for publicity so that, when a person is looking for a solution or an answer to a question he asked at a search engine -such as Google-, your brand is shown in the engine's results.
Hence, this strategy is based on the premise that content attracts people who are already looking for it. Unlike with an Outbound Strategy, at which the content is sent to everyone hoping that someone will be active in their buying process or in need of your service or product when receiving your message
Pros and Cons of Inbound
The main benefit we find is that the solution or message offered by the company or product, reaches the person/buyer right when they are looking for it. In other words, when they're active in trying to solve their problem or to receive help, that is, to buy.
Maybe I have not been very clear. Companies because they help to solve a problem or a need. People nowadays, when they have a problem or need, go to the internet to try to find a way to solve it or fix it. Voilá! It is a perfect connection mean to help a future client.
What companies have to do, is give an answer to each and every question that their customers usually ask about their products or services, about how they help solve their problem or need.
The disadvantage of this strategy, perhaps, is that it takes a lot of effort, since a lot of content needs to be produced and it takes a considerable amount of time to obtain good results. It can't be built as fast as an Outbound advertising campaign can. Remember that with Outbound, a lot of money is invested, it takes 1 month of planning and 3 of exposure, to obtain immediate results. To see good results in Inbound, you need to make a constant publication effort during at least 6 months.
Here are the main aspects of an Inbound Strategy:
Pleasant, useful and interesting attraction
When we say that content is king, we mean that interesting and relevant content must be made. It should really help answer the buyer's questions. Remember that the first intention a person has when asking the Internet how to solve their problem is to get information first, not immediately buy. So every "buy me" message will be discarded by the user.
You have to create content that helps your buyer learning more about what his options are and about how he can solve his need, so that he can make the decision, hoping that your company will benefit from his choice.
Inbound Marketing content formats
As always, we have seen that there's no accounting for taste. As before, when some people consumed the same content in different formats, we do now. There are people who are more visual than auditory and vice versa. There are people who like to read and others get tired of it. So the Inbound marketing content has to also be produced in several formats.
Audio works for those people who like to do other activities while consuming their content. For example, a person who exercises while listening to an audiobook or who is driving while listening to the news.
Video is for people who want a quick response and who are visual. As an example, someone looking for a tutorial about an app. The disadvantage of this format is that since it combines both audio and visuals, it requires our full attention so we can't watch it while doing something else, say, while driving.
Written format is the last, and can be short or long. They are used by people who want to consume contents of greater depth or to investigate more specifically about certain aspects of a topic.
If you have the time and budget, the best way to go is to offer your message or content in the 3 formats I just mentioned, so you can please everyone. If you have to choose only one, writing is the winner in digital media so far.
Budget and money
Inbound strategies are much more profitable than outbound strategies. The cost per impact, per prospect and per customer, can be 3 times lower than that of the Outbound media.
It's an affordable strategy for medium-sized companies and some small ones. There are many cases of solopreneurs (entrepreneurs who start alone) who have done this Inbound strategy with a lot of effort and work but also, with great success.
As we mentioned before, Inbound content reaches people right when they are looking for it, so it's something that users are grateful for instead of considering it as something that interrupts and invades their attention.
Resources of an Inbound strategy
Creating content for an inbound strategy requires the collaboration of many people. In my experience, I've found that the main and best source of information is the company's sales representatives, since they are the ones who receive each and every one of the most sincere and difficult questions from the clients. They know exactly what the customers are worried about and what their objections are.
We then have the marketing department, which will care for the format and aesthetics of the content so that the whole communication of the company has one same style and voice. They also make sure that the key messages of the brand are printed in them.
You can always count with the help of an Inbound Marketing agency to review and align all these messages and content with the main Inbound strategy.
How to Create a Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy?
Understanding what kind of content your prospects need is a must. If you are not sure about what content will be useful for them to move forward in their decision and education on how to buy your product or service, they will leave your site in less than 5 seconds. We analyze the content so fast these days that the average is below this number.
This is why it's very important that your content focuses on answering those questions that the client may have so they stay on your page, such as:
- What is it for?
- What's the result?
- How much?
- Is it biodegradable?
- Is it non GMO and gluten free? etc...
Content optimized for search engines
These contents will stay in digital media on the internet. Those who classify them in order to answer the question that users ask are the search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Therefore, it is required that each content has behind, in the programming, a clear message so that it can be classified, indexed, readable and understood. This is what is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization, which is to program and comply with the rules of the search engines for their classification, along with a series of technical requirements that our content and website should have.
Publication of Inbound content
Content must not only be optimized for search engines but it also must be breaodcasted in social networks, blogs and other digital media so that it can reach the largest number of people. If this content is very well done, it will be shared by more people. This is what we now call viral.
If many people see your content but they can't interact with you, your strategy would be, in the end, very similar to an Outbound strategy. An Inbound strategy must find a way for people to share their contact info with you, on a voluntary basis. This is why you should offer them ebooks, videos, seminars, webinars and a other premium content that may be helpful for them in order to advance in their purchase decision. By the way, here I offer you one of those to you:
Last, human interaction is needed for the buying moment. Unless you already have a well established trust between your brand and the buyer, like the one we have with Amazon, you need a team of sellers. In other words, if you still haven't earned the trust of your customers in a digital way, and you aren't Amazon, you will need a very good team of Inbound sellers.
These sellers must be people who don't want to "just sell"; their main objective and interest should be to help the customer. In addition, they must have a clear and repeatable methodology in order to better serve customers.
Any Inbound strategy will require a qualified and trained staff to be successful. This is how you'll increase the conversion rates from visitors to customers, which translates into faster purchasing cycles.
The premise is very simple, if a person requires help and your company can solve his problem in an ethical and responsible way, the customer will in the end, make the purchase. When this isn't the case, Inbound sellers can let go of the prospect (which is not a fit for your company anyway) and focus on those who can indeed become customers.
You can learn more about Inbound Sales by clicking on:
Based on this information about Inbound and Outbound strategies, you can now choose the one that best suits your budget, needs, stage of development and size of your company.
Contact us if you need help with your strategy, we are always happy to assist you. Ask us more about this topic and, if you liked this content, share it with those who you think will find it useful.