By Deola Kayode
So you have created a website. You got someone or a web design company to develop one and you got some articles on it. But with gazillions of websites being hosted every day, if you do nothing, no one will find you.
Promoting your business through traditional interruption of your target audience while they do other things may still work in some climes but across the world, the response rate is declining.
Customers are now harder to target and they are becoming smarter at avoiding selling that interrupts their daily activities – watching movies, driving, listening to music. The fact still remains that when they need anything, more and more people are going online.Of what value is your office if you do not get any visits? Of what use is your website if no one knows it exists? With millions of websites being hosted every day and a gazillion of others containing lots of information on the web already, gaining the attention of your target market is not a stroll in the park.
You do not just need visitors, but visitors that convert to value; visitors that subscribe, visitors that buy, visitors that will do business with you.What you need to do? There are two approaches to traffic generation.
Outbound or push marketing is the normal marketing style; it involves finding avenues for people to see your message whether they like it or not, hoping that they will respond with repeated exposure. It is commonly called interruptive marketing because it is being pushed in our faces. If you have ever received handbills while going somewhere else or received automated calls or unsolicited text messages on your phone or seen adverts interrupting your favourite movies, you get the idea. It is called outbound advertising. It includes handbills, billboards, Radio/TV commercials, print adverts, brochures, cold calls, SMS/email blast, Display/PPC advertising. It yields results but you need to work hard, especially because measuring your efforts involves more guesstimates than facts.
Inbound marketing is, however, different. Pull marketing is gaining attention; it focuses on attracting leads rather than spending a huge budget chasing customers who are trying hard to block advertising messages. In a marketplace where consumers are getting more empowered to choose the medium they want to listen to, when and where they want to listen to messages, getting your potential customers to look for you is a smart thing to do. With about seven million Nigerians connecting to the Internet every day, the numbers of people going online to search for products and services will continue to grow. Pull advertising is becoming attractive, rewarding and intelligent. Inbound marketing is the science of gaining leads, attention and traffic with the use of emails, blogging, social media and content marketing. Marketing expert Seth Godin calls it permission marketing.
Which is more effective, which can you use?
Outbound vs Inbound
With the rapid evolution of consumer habits and the way we perceive plain advertising, there has been a lot of debate about whether internet advertising cankill traditional marketing. The truth is that expensive and high budget advertising techniques— which include huge billboards, handbills, TV, newspaper, magazine and other graphic ads on buildings and out-of-home—still command a huge chunk of corporate brand marketing strategies. It will do so for a while.
Inbound marketing is a powerful tactic for several reasons. First, it gets you ranked higher on search engines. Second, it can help you build a lasting relationship with your target audience. Third, it is cost effective. Fourth, your business is more accessible: it can be found from anywhereand anytime your customers need your product or service.
Your inbound and outbound marketing strategies must complement and strengthen one another. If outbound plants the seed, inbound will water it. Once outbound breaks the ice, inbound is essential for building and sustaining consumer relationships. Inbound is great for building trust and engaging with those interested in what your company offers.
Which are the basic techniques that guide inbound marketing?
Yes you may have a website, but can you count on it as one of your smart employees? That is what your website is supposed to be – it is supposed to sell and make your business and product convincing to your target market. It is supposed engage an interested potential customer and to push them through the sales funnel, gradually moving them through the sales process; from website visitor, to customer, to repeat buyer and ultimately advocate. Your website is the foundation of all your internet activities; it should be the integrating portal for all your online efforts.
Search engines are a powerful channel for connecting with new audiences. Because people are looking to search engines like Google and Bing for information, it is important that your business website and content is optimized to rank higher in search engine result pages. Several techniques are deployed to ensure that search engine machines are able to recognize your business website as an authority.
Using emails as an inbound tactic is not blasting them with unsolicited emails. It is building interactions with them by sending information they have given you permission for. This is the foundation of email marketing.
Building a strong web presence is way past putting together a clean website with text and images flying everywhere. As a business owner, it is important to know that the search to buy products or information online begins on the Internet. It is therefore important to understand that establishing authority on the web also involves getting yourself out there, finding digital communities, identifying prospects and encouraging them to trust, build a relationship and eventually do business with you.
By Deola Kayode