Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing

In today’s world of marketing, it’s extremely vital to keep up with trends and the right strategies to effectively grow your business. While you might be stubborn and may want to stick with old school marketing techniques like billboards, flyers, and even television spots, at this point in time the majority of potential customers are tuning in only to the internet.

Gone are the days of tuning into Saturday morning cartoons and listening to a boombox with the radio on. If your business wants to reach adults, you have to be active on Facebook, blogs, and form a website that they are willing to read. If you are targeting a younger audience like millennials, using social media spots like Instagram, Snapchat, and having an mobile friendly site will boost your brand integrity.

If this sounds like way too much information to consume at once, fear not. Let’s break down the differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing along with tools you should be using right now.

Outbound Marketing Is Out

Do you ever wonder why some fashion trends tend to come into our lives for a brief moment before dying out while others are here to stay? People consume and use what is attractive and will provide value to them over the long term. The same principle goes with marketing your business, you want to be using a style of promotions that actually reach, resonate, and provide value to your customers.

Outbound marketing is the term for old fashioned marketing our parents grew up with and consumed throughout the day. These promotions include magazine spreads, radio and TV commercials, huge roadside billboards, product catalogues, and flyers mailed to the door. In the age where technology waits for no one, you have to be aware that almost everyone is spending nearly the whole day on their phones or computers.

Customers are actively consuming social media posts, videos, product reviews on Youtube, and attractive landing pages from brands that they feel they relate to. While doing this, they won’t be tuned into the hundreds of random flyers posted up on the wall beside them or the dressed up gorilla on the street corner promoting a furniture sale.

Since you don’t want to completely rule out outbound marketing, most marketing professionals advise businesses to invest no more than 10% of their overall campaign budgets to the method. This way, enough content is being made online but somewhat of a physical presence is still maintained for a brand.

For example, almost anyone following style trends have noticed that Adidas sneakers are nearly on everyone now after viral campaigns and celebrity endorsements the past two years. They recognized that their target audience of young people will relate to popular figures sporting their wear. They also completely rerouted their campaigns and understood that younger customers will appreciate consistent content provided across its social media, corporate blog, and sponsored YouTube reviews. Yet, while you still may see an Adidas ad on the street every once in a while the exposure is much less than what you may experience while scrolling your feed.

Inbound Marketing Is The Move

Now that we’ve realized the outdatedness of outbound marketing, it’s time to dive in on what strategies you should use with inbound marketing. The point of inbound marketing is to not broadcast your brand’s message to the masses, but to have customers reach for your benefits instead. This is done by forming a “hub” for your brand for people who are already searching online for the big players in your industry.

The trick is to create strongly consistent and engaging video or photo content across your social media. Keep a clean look and a straightforward message to your viewers, post weekly giveaways to create more traffic, and always reply to comments from people whether its negative or positive. Link your company website into the bio of your largest social media profile and invest time in making the site itself professional.

Utilize high quality photographs, product demonstration videos, customer reviews, and above all make sure your pages are attractive and quick to load for users on their phones. No one wants to stay on a cluttered website that is slow to road and boring to look at it.

Another great tip is to practice search engine optimization on your website by inserting highly popular keywords that pertain to your services and industry. This increases the chance that customers will find your page when they’re on Google or Safari because your page is being favored by the engine’s algorithm.

For example, if you are running a website for fitness coaching service, consider entering keywords like “fitness coaching”, “healthy lifestyle”, “training program”, etc. so someone searching those exact terms may stumble on your content.

The best thing about inbound marketing is that the opportunities are endless after setting up your platforms. To procure a strong relationship with your visitors, include a call to action and ask for their emails in return for a free newsletter sent straight to their inbox every week. These newsletters can be about seasonal promotions, tips that pertain to the problem they are dealing with, and different ways to get in touch with you. Make sure you do your homework on who your exact customer niche is so you can tailor your writing to their styles of communication.

Get Out There

As the entrepreneur and social media marketing influencer Gary Vaynerchuk would say, today is the best time in the history of mankind to be alive. Thanks to technology and social media, communication is easier than ever before and brands can directly be in touch with their customers with a simple like, direct message, or live video. The choice is yours on what marketing methods to use to grow your sales, but remember the sky’s the limit if you do it right!

 

The dark side of Instagram

If you have an Instagram account then there is a good chance that you follow someone that could be classed as an ‘influencer’. What this term is describing is someone who has the power to sway public opinion based on their perceived thoughts and values on Instagram. An example of this would be if Justin Bieber were to declare something a new fashion trend. He could do this by posting pictures of himself wearing it all over his page and then all of a sudden we could see a lot of the younger generation and his followers trying to copy the trend. This is what is meant by being an influencer: when you have a popular following on Instagram and it seems as if you have the ability to sway public opinion to a certain degree. However, is the follower count on Instagram as accurate as it seems?

When 100k isn’t 100k

When looking at whom to follow on Instagram, people are more likely to follow someone who already has a mass of followers compared to following someone with very little. When someone has a lot of followers, it makes you think their content is good, and that if a lot of people already feel they are benefitting by following them/enjoy seeing their posts, you probably will too. However, nowadays there are common ways for people to cheat Instagram by following fake followers. This is similar to what search engine optimization (or SEO) experts are calling “black-hat” tactics, which means that these methods are usually considered dishonest and is frowned upon by Google as an attempt to cheat the algorithm for good content. Google is becoming better and better at seeking out these tactics and finding out when it is going out. Once the search engine decides to penalize you, there is a hefty price to pay for using such foul play tactics. They can take a lot of ranking points away from your site if there is evidence that you have been using black-hat SEO tactics to rise up the ranks. When it comes to Instagram, beating the game means accumulating followers that you do not really have. This is considered a tactic of black-hat social media.

Social media is a great way to give publicity to your own brand or product as the whole world is able to see it. Social media plays a large part in younger people’s lives as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other similar platforms grow in size. However, on Instagram what may seem popular may actually be all smoke and mirrors. There are apps out there that allow people to buy fake followers which are bot pages to inflate the following the user seems that have. This means that someone with 100k followers may only have 10,000 real people whereas the rest are bots that are boosting his follow count. The main reason for adding bots is to seem more popular and therefore attempt to attract others to follow you as they would hopefully just come to the conclusion that if the page is good enough for 100,000 other people, it is good enough for them.

Why do they say fake it until you make it?

From personal experience and knowing someone who is starting to become an Instagram influencer, adding bots at the beginning was a helpful tactic to make their page seem more popular and that exponentially grew the rate at which actual people would follow them. So in the early stages of the social media game this could be a good idea from that stand point. It can help to grow your following faster than if you waited for users to follow you as they may not think your page is worthwhile if you have minimal followers, even though the case may be that you are just new to Instagram and not that you are a lackluster individual. There is a lot to think about in the social media world and the pros and cons of black-hat SEO tactics.