I woke up this morning catching up on LinkedIn’s ‘Top Headlines in Design, Marketing, and Advertising’ and ran into a post from Mashable that caught my interest. If you haven’t read it yet, you can follow the direct link below this article.
It talks about the new age of marketing—how ‘inbound marketing’ is whopping the nation vs the old era of ‘outbound marketing’. Of course, Mashable made it much more exciting with their excellent, cute little easy-to-understand infographics (kudos to them), but it sure sparked a big debate on their comment feed.
To get you up-to-speed, Mashable’s definitions are:
NEW Marketing is “any marketing tactic that relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it.” aka Search Engines, Referrals, Social Media.
OLD Marketing is “any marketing that pushes products or services on customers.” aka Print, TV, Radio Advertisements, Billboards, Cold Calls.
The following statistics were also listed:
44% of direct mail is never opened. That’s a waste of time, postage and paper.
86% of people skip through television commercials.
84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.”
The cost per lead in outbound marketing is more than for inbound marketing.
200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC “Do Not Call” list.
91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into.
So what’s the big hype and mumbo jumbo debate in Mashable’s post? Some marketers are seeing it as ‘harsh’ and that it’s bashing the print industry, as well as providing misleading infographic material to business owners that inbound marketing is the only way to go and outbound marketing is squash.
Well my friends…take the post with a grain of salt. I think there were excellent key factors within it, and that it CAN help new, start-up business owners but you still need outbound marketing. The thing is, businesses need to know information like Mashable’s posts too to weigh out their OWN options, not just relying on those who have a career in marketing. I don’t know how many times I’ve run into businesses that were clueless to social media marketing, wondering how a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can benefit your business. Having those four things really can make a huge difference in building traffic toward your business, but I, personally, think it’s best to have a ‘happy medium’. Why? Well let’s start from when it started long ago…
In the beginning…
Before man had cars, people used to walk to businesses. Advertising was whatever you found at the front of the window of a store. Remember the song “How much is that doggy in the window?” You walked up to the counter and paid for your gumball that you found in a jar sitting beside the register. And then the age of cars happened where people’s attention spans became just a tad more ADD because bigger signs came to happen, billboards, neon lights, a giant juicy burger on a poster (hungry much?). Nowadays, it’s on TV, it’s in your email, it’s in your mailbox. So why is this bad? It isn’t, not in retrospect.
As Mashable puts it, this is ‘old marketing’ aka ‘outbound marketing’, shoving products in your face where you don’t have the option to ‘opt-out’ of them. Let’s face it, the media is everywhere and in everything! You can’t get away with it! Drinking a glass cup of water? Well guess what, I’m sure the name brand or logo of it is at the bottom of the cup.
So again — why use old, outdated, outbound marketing? You’ll gain “physical” exposure. You know what the McDonald’s arch looks like, right? Only because there are a bijilion out there, it’s on TV, it’s on the radio, on billboards, and numerous other places. While most of the world has their own computer (families that have kids with an iPad each), you still need to create a physical presence of your whereabouts in your city or town. People use their cars to get to and from work, and buy groceries and clothing at the store (have you checked the back of your receipt and ever found an ad?). No matter how much we all become zombies to the infamous world wide web, you still have to go outside of your home to catch up on the necessities. As a friend once told me, “Exposure, exposure, exposure!” Your brand is your identity. People are still visual, touchy-feely people. Put a face to your brand. I’m sure you’ve said numerous times, “Oh yeah…I’ve seen or heard that somewhere…” Or, you’ve printed out coupons or a discount from the LivingSocial email newsletter you subscribe to.
So what about Inbound Marketing?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is what connects your website to search engines. SEO takes time and it requires a lot of work, patience, and trials and errors, which is why it costs so much to hire a professional to do it for you. How does it work? Well think about how you use search engines like Google or Bing, how do you find information on the internet? You type in “keywords” like ‘Photographers in Charlotte, NC’ and you get a list of photographers or topics about photography. There are different methods of using keywords for your website, and can mostly be found in the written content of your site, in your non-flash images, or within the HTML code itself. Keywords are found by search engines who have spiders or bots to crawl through your website.
If you did the search on Google, that’s a lot of photographer’s eh? Well how do you be #1? Being #1 on a search engine is not so easy as you think, and there are no real guarantees (at least not organically or the ‘non-paid’ way). Search engines are always evolving and always changing their mathematical ‘algorithms’ in how their search engines work. Google, for one, has been evolving algorithms for quite awhile now because some website developers were using tactics to ‘cheat’ the system, which can land your website in a permanent banned situation.
Ever heard the term backlinking? Probably not. If you use any type of analytics program with your website, you should be pretty familiar with this. Backlinking, also known as incoming links or inbound links, are links to your website from other websites or pages. Basically, the more you give the link of your website away to various other places, the better ranked your website will be. Think of it like a popularity contest. Of course, there are proper techniques and etiquette for posting a link to your website, so before you run off and post a link to your site on every website you see, make sure you do your research first or ask permission first. And this is where Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs come in because you can use any of those four items to backlink to your website.
Mashable stated in their post, ‘Inbound Marketing’ is much more ‘polite and friendly’ compared to Outbound Marketing. Well…you pretty much have to. Using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a blog helps to boost not only traffic to your business, but your reputation. Remember, all four of these items listed are “face” of your company when you can’t be there physically. This is why I highly suggest my clients to try to be a little more personal with their audience.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn wouldn’t be called ‘Social Media’ if they weren’t “personal”. People love it when others can relate to themselves and stoop down to their level. Why do you think Reality TV shows are still being made? Mind you, when I say ‘personal’ I don’t mean ‘drama’. It’s best to talk about positive, uplifting topics…unless that’s what your business or brand is known for. Instead, post about the latest fashion trends (if you’re in the fashion industry) or talk about what’s going in your own city. You can even get people talking by getting a poll going. Creating a social media weekly calendar can also help as well, such as providing tips and calling it ‘Makeover Mondays’.
I had a meeting last week with a woman who runs a well-known bridal blog, and she stated to me when she first started writing she only talked about bridal stuff. However, she received a suggestion to talk about other personal topics that people can relate to. Needless to say, that person gave her some sound advice! You can find her at The Thirty Something Bride.
So to all my current clients and future clients, please take the same advice. If anything, stick to about 70% on topic, and 40% about personal matters. Wouldn’t you get tired of eating the same ole omelet everyday?