We know every moment (and dollar!) matters for your small business. It’s vital to efficiently communicate the value of your product, service, or brand to customers so you can make sales and drive interest. But what are the best, most cost-effective strategies for your company?
While the use of outbound marketing was traditionally most common, this has changed with the increase in digital and social media marketing campaigns. These days, many companies have turned to inbound strategies instead, or a combination of traditional and modern approaches.
Learn more about these marketing strategies, and the pros and cons of each, so you can create a better strategy to fit the needs of your business.
We know small businesses must maximize the number of customers while minimizing cost. Sometimes, traditional media is the best use of your marketing budget. But, in most cases, the reduced cost and trackability of inbound marketing outweighs the benefits of traditional, outbound marketing.
If you’re interested in outbound marketing, it works especially well with older customers. They’re often more comfortable with TV and radio ads than online marketing, and they typically make a point of scanning newspaper ads and flyers when they’re ready to buy a product. This audience feels they can trust traditional (outbound) communications, while inbound marketing is usually delivered via online technologies that are less familiar to them.
While outbound marketing is normally used to target a wide audience, it can also be effective in business-to-business (B2B) marketing or promoting premium goods and services. High-end products and B2B transactions typically have a low yield and aren’t looking to attract everyone, and these companies often must build trust and relationships before closing a deal. By utilizing traditional marketing techniques, these companies are increasing their brand awareness, thus increasing their brand trust. It takes time to earn trust and convince someone of a premium item’s value, which is why many luxury companies build credibility and relationships through outbound marketing.
Recently, many companies have opted to combine traditional outbound tactics with their digital marketing strategy by working to drive prospects to their website through brand awareness campaigns.
An effective way to do this is to include a discount code, free sample, or valuable “free” information in your mass-market offer. This can help lead people to your marketing funnel, or the journey people take when making a buying decision. Traditional media is typically used to drive potential customers to the broadest area of the funnel (the top), which is why it’s most effective as a brand awareness tool—not necessarily a sales-driving technique. Your goal is to just drive more people to your website. If your website is built for lead generation, your best prospects will work their way through the buying process and those not-so-great customers will weed themselves out.
A marketing expert can help you pinpoint your target audience and decide whether outbound,
For today’s business owners, creating engaging content—in a timely manner—is one of your most valuable tools. The goal of inbound marketing is to bring visitors in on their own terms and timeframe, rather than having to go out to attract prospects. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers through relevant content that will address their specific needs. This not only attracts new prospects, but it also helps users (and Google) discover your business online. Inbound marketing may include blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, e-newsletters, whitepapers, social media, and other forms of content marketing.
This inbound strategy is rooted in the flywheel marketing concept. A flywheel is simply a type of wheel that collects momentum and then puts it back out into the environment. In marketing, this wheel is your strategy, and the momentum comes from your customers spreading the word (by sharing or engaging with your content). This model also encourages businesses to use their resources strategically and to reduce friction by smoothing out processes, mapping out communication needs and client touchpoints, clarifying major ideas, and unifying teams.
The flywheel urges business to attract, engage, and delight their prospects by drawing them in with helpful content they want to read and leading them to a product or service that solves a problem for them. Ultimately, this model focuses on putting the customer first (rather than the product and buying process) because happy customers return and make referrals that turn into sales.
Inbound marketing is typically a more affordable strategy than outbound because you’ll continually use your website or social media platforms to target specific customers who are actively seeking the products and services you provide. This is usually preferable to purchasing tons of outbound materials to reach every consumer, especially when your small business is on a budget.
Starting a successful inbound strategy only requires an online presence. Once you have an established website or social media platform to draw customers to, you can provide information that meets their needs by:
Deciding between outbound and inbound marketing will depend on your company’s goals and resources. If you need advice on the best tactics for your business and budget, don’t hesitate to contact a marketing agency. They can help you build the most cost-effective strategy to put your customers first and grow your business.
Treefrog Marketing is a marketing agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.