Every small business is constantly marketing itself – whether that means reaching out to new customers, asking existing customers for repeat business, or attracting new customers via word of mouth and online marketing. Unfortunately, some small business owners fall into a trap of relying too heavily on only one type of marketing and ignoring the rest.
If you are spending too much time on outbound marketing (such as sending direct mail postcards, making cold calls, or sending e-mails), you might be missing big opportunities from online marketing and other “inbound marketing” tactics like SEO and social media. If you’re spending all of your time with Facebook marketing, you’re missing lots of customers who might prefer to hear from you via phone and other “old fashioned” techniques.
Here are a few reasons why your small business needs a diversified portfolio of inbound and outbound marketing tactics:
- Different customers respond to different methods. Even with as much hype as social media marketing has gotten in the past few years, the majority of Americans still do not use Twitter. Depending on your business, social media might not be right for you. If you are a product brand, Facebook certainly is where you can reach your decision makers, but if you are targeting CFO’s in large institutions, chances are, you aren’t going to reach them on social media. According to CMO, LinkedIn is the only platform the majority (62 percent) of B2B marketers consider to be effective. Depending on the demographics of your customer base, you might be better off exhibiting at a trade show or buying a mailing list or calling customers directly on the phone. Social media marketing is amazing if your customers are on social media – but if not, don’t be afraid to keep using “old-fashioned” marketing methods for as long as they still work for your business.
- Inbound and outbound marketing can support each other. It is not a zero-sum game of deciding to “only” invest in inbound marketing (SEO, social media marketing, etc.) or outbound marketing (direct mail, phone calls, etc.) You can do both. And your various marketing campaigns can feed into each other. For example, you could make an offer via a direct mailing that can be redeemed on Facebook – “Like us on Facebook and get a 10% discount on your next purchase.”
Related Class: Top of the Funnel Tactics for Inbound Marketing
- Different marketing methods can fit better into your budget. With traditional “outbound marketing” like direct mail or advertising, there is usually a fixed upfront cost to placing an ad or buying a mailing list or printing a mailing. With inbound marketing, the cost can often vary depending on the amount of time that the business owner spends implementing the marketing tactic and doing the work. There is a value to your time, so if you’re spending time on Facebook marketing you’ll want to know that you’re getting some return on the investment. The advantage of inbound marketing, ideally, is that once you invest some upfront time and money to set up a website, create a social media presence, and establish an online audience, you will have a long-term foundation of “owned media” that will keep bringing customers to you.
Finding the right balance of inbound and outbound marketing is a constant challenge, but there are more exciting, innovative and measurable ways to reach your customers than ever before. Just remember that just like with your investments, you should take a “diversified” approach to your marketing methods. That’s the best strategy for long-term success.
To create marketing messages to connect with your customers, you have to take the time to understand what they need and give it to them when they need it. The Online Marketing Institute class, Four Way Customers Can Be Consumer Centric, will teach you how to create consistent marketing messages across a variety of channel that connect with your audience.