Why Inbound Marketing: The Shifting Tide
Last week, we talked about outbound marketing. Today, we’re going to showcase the new sheriff in town, inbound marketing.
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All Things Change
In the mid- to late-2000s, an unimpressive looking skinny new kid crawled into town. His name: Inbound Marketing. Who’s afraid of anyone called Inbound? Times quickly change. Inbound Marketing has grown up and today is a force to be deployed.
About five years ago, push marketing, now called outbound marketing, began losing effectiveness. Open rates, engagement rates and conversion rates all began to decline. Fast forward to today. Open (a.k.a. read) rates among prospects have plunged into the toilet. Yesteryear’s open rates north of 50 percent are a distant memory. Today, I’m happy when my prospect lists are over 20 percent. One silver lining though: rigid adherence to best practices allows some marketers like me to still achieve decent click through (i.e., engagement) rates of 25 percent or more, but if you ask the average marketer, they’re thrilled to achieve 8 to 10 percent click through rates.
(Contact me if you want to see some click through stats from real campaigns. No promises, but I MIGHT show you some actual reports.)
Fortunately there’s a better way. The search industry is finally living up to the hype. If you lead with great content and apply best SEO, landing page, lead scoring, "smart" content and lead conversion practices, you will get sales opportunities from the hottest type of lead possible...someone who’s looking for you!
The inbound/outbound choice is simply this:
- Focus on pushing unwanted content onto people just because they once raised their hand or casually indicated interest, or
- Attracting and luring interested potential customers to take action at exactly the point they’re looking to buy
To me the choice is clear. The latter is better, but there is a qualifier. Push marketing—think upsell and cross sell—still has its applications, but the days of leading, nurturing and closing with outbound strategies are over. More and more, I find myself leading conversations with inbound. The message is resonating, people are listening and the proof points are coming. Stay tuned.
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Join me next week for a mouthful of nuts and bolts on how inbound marketing actually works. Over the course of this new three-part series, we’ll cover:
- Top marketing priorities
- Inbound marketing vehicles
- Prospect to customer conversion strategies
- Upsell and cross sell current customers
- The best model: Integrated inbound and outbound marketing.