As the economy continues to improve and unemployment is at the lowest percentage in four years, small businesses are feeling more confident and are planning their media strategy for 2013.
What is your media strategy? Does it include inbound marketing?
When I talk with most small business owners about how they generate leads and fill the top of their sales funnel, most reply TV, radio, print, trade shows, email blasts to purchased lists, internal cold calling, outsourced telemarketing, and advertising.
These methods are called "outbound marketing", where a marketer pushes his message out far and wide hoping that it reaches some prospect, but most of the budget is wasted.
Outbound marketing techniques are getting less and less effective over time for two reasons.
The average person is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out. More people are using caller ID, spam filtering, DVR’s, and Sirius satellite radio.
The cost of inbound marketing to reach potential customers (search engines, pay per click, blogs, and social media) is now much lower than going to a seminar at the Marriott or producing a TV spot and buying a traditional media schedule.
In 2013 instead of interrupting people with television ads, why not create videos that potential customers want to see.
In 2013 instead of buying display ads in print publications, Why not create your own business blog that people subscribe to and look forward to reading.
In 2013 instead of cold calling, why not create useful content and tools so that prospective customers contact you looking for more information.
In 2013 why not attract highly qualified customers to your business like a magnet.
Most small businesses spend 90% of their marketing budget on outbound marketing and only 10% on Inbound Marketing.The most successful Inbound Marketing campaigns have three key components:
- Content. Content creation is the basis of any Inbound Marketing campaign. It is the information or tool that attracts potential customers to your site or your business.
- Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization makes it easier for potential customers to find your content. It is the practice of building your site and inbound links to your site to maximize your ranking in search engines, where most of your customers begin their buying process.
- Social Media. Social media amplifies the impact of your content. When your content is distributed across and discussed on networks of personal relationships, it becomes more authentic and nuanced, and is more likely to draw qualified customers to your site.
Inbound Marketing improves on the efficiency of traditional marketing in two ways:
- It Costs Less. Outbound marketing means spending money either by buying ads, buying email lists or renting huge booths at trade shows. Inbound Marketing involves creating content and talking about it. A blog costs nothing to start. A Twitter account is free. Both can draw thousands of potential customers to your site. The marketing ROI from inbound campaigns is higher than traditional media platforms.
- Better Targeting. Techniques like cold-calling, mass mail, and email campaigns are notoriously poorly targeted. When you do Inbound Marketing, you only approach people who self-qualify themselves. They demonstrate an interest in your content, so they are likely to be interested in your product.