When developing your marketing plan, there are some fundamental decisions to make. After determining your budget, you need to decide whether you will be using Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing, or a combination of the two. Outbound Marketing is the “old school” type of marketing. It is called “outbound” as the marketing efforts are pushed upon the consumer whether they have asked for it or not: cold calling, newspaper, radio & television advertisements, email blasts to purchased email lists, direct mail pieces and trade shows. Inbound Marketing is the collection of marketing efforts designed to let the consumer come to you. Instead of trying to find the customer, the customer finds you; you set yourself up to “get found” by the customer.
Outbound Marketing efforts are more traditional but, with the development of the caller ID, the recycling bin, and DVRs, they have become less and less effective as time goes on. Our brochures are thrown away instead of opened, telemarketers are hung up on if their calls are answered at all, and we fast forward through commercials on television.
Inbound Marketing has proven to be much more effective. While the consumer relies on internet searches and website information to find and decide upon a service or product, we are able to put ourselves in place to be found on internet searches. We can supply useful information on our websites and represent our brand accurately and positively on social networks. We can use Search Engine Optimization to put our websites at the top of internet search results. And the best part of it all, is that Inbound Marketing efforts can be tracked so you know exactly where your return on investment is coming from.
While some companies may decide to use one or the other, Inbound OR Outbound Marketing, many of us will integrate our marketing strategies and use both. The key to any marketing strategy: Outbound, Inbound or both, is to be creative and cohesive with your marketing strategies. Get noticed, and make sure that all of your marketing efforts work together so you get the largest return on our investment.