Okay, so you have already set up a business? Registration? Done. Paperwork? Done. Now how are you going to market your business to acquire your customers? Flyers? Advertisements? Grapevine? Emails? Content? Or you have already implemented a strategy but it is still not yielding results? Whatever strategy you may choose, make sure it falls under the ambit of your budget.
Cause it is easier to fall for hypes and lose traction. Starting a company is exciting but not as easy as it appears, as it involves many risks both internal and external. However, if planned well, many of the setbacks can be avoided. Moreover, unlike earlier times referrals doesn't work anymore. As your business starts to grow, you need to consider more comprehensive approach than just relying on networking.
There are basically two types of marketing, inbound and outbound. Inbound marketing is the term coined by Hubspot Co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan. It involves everything digital like content marketing a.k.a. blogs, social media, website optimization, etc. wherein you draw your target to your content by helping them with their pain points by educating them.
Whereas outbound marketing is a traditional approach, more popularly known as interrupt marketing; wherein you push your product to the masses irrespective of their interests. It includes sending bulk emails, tv commercials, radio ads, newspaper ads, telemarketing, trade shows, etc. Yes, the same people who throw random ads at you while you are watching something interesting on tv or call you with random offers in the middle of something important or fill up your inbox with random emails. Though not target-oriented but have you considered the reach it has?
Most of the businesses, especially startups, these days rely heavily on inbound marketing than outbound marketing as the cost involved is almost 62% less comparatively. Inbound Marketing for a startup is the default strategy for reaching out to their target customers. Do you know inbound marketing requires time, resources and commitment? Unfortunately, these are not available for startups in the beginning. If you are looking for a miracle overnight then inbound marketing is not for you!
Although with outbound marketing, the cost incurred is more but it yields faster results not overnight of course. So does it mean outbound marketing is dead? Of course not! You still receive email newsletters right? How about tv ads, radio ads, newspaper ads? But, either of the strategy, inbound or outbound, standalone is dead!
Just imagine the outcome if you integrate both inbound and outbound marketing! Tremendous right? Before we move on to this hybrid model, let us first explore different channels of inbound and outbound marketing.
Top Five Channels for Inbound and Outbound Marketing:
Any business or a startup to get a head-start needs to first build their presence by making use of appropriate marketing strategy. But with different platforms, it gets even more confusing. If you are looking for a quick boost in traffic, paid ads on Google should be your ideal choice. Paid Ads? But which marketing channel does it fall under? Both! It uses a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing strategy to reach out to their potential customers. How you may ask? If you go to see, it is not targeted at you directly but it appears when you make a relevant keyword search.
Inbound Marketing Channels:
Let us dive deeper into different channels of inbound marketing for startups with these core elements.
So what do search engines look for in a website? Well, it looks for everything - the content, the layout, the design, the performance, the user experience and most importantly mobile friendliness. According to forbes.com, mobile devices were responsible for 52% of total global internet traffic in the year 2017 and as per Ericsson, it is expected to reach 6.2 billion by the year 2020. So it is high time you optimize your website to drive traffic.
In addition to the website design, content is and will continue to be number # 1 tactics to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. Paid search, links, social media are more like an icing but it is your content that takes the cake. If you align your content strategy with your business goals you will see a dramatic impact on your growth. You can basically shape the character of your business with the way you write and the topics you choose.
First and foremost write for people instead of the search engine, because churning out random blogs will become apparent to people reading your blogs. According to Economist Group survey, 71 % of executives feel that the content targeted at them is more like a sales pitch. Your customers are looking for real content to get the bigger picture right. So start inbound marketing for a startup with one of the core marketing element, i.e., your blog. Second, your content should have such an impact that people should be compelled to share it on other social platforms.
With the wider reach and visibility, social media platforms are like a spark that can be used to reach out to your potential customers. You can make use of social media to engage with your customers with a valuable message that can spread like wildfire as your potential customer share it with people within their network. Also, make sure you have a quick response time to any of the leads as any delay may route your prospect to your competitors.
As per Cisco report, nearly 80% of website content is expected to come through video by 2020. It is an easier way to share information about your product- how it works, how to use it, etc. Additionally, incorporating video into your content marketing strategy will make your prospects come for more. Did you host an event recently? Post a video to show how interesting the event was.
Case study makes you standout by showcasing your success to your potential customers. One good case study can help you validate your model and also help build trust in you. It is one of the best strategies to bring in long-term traffic.
Outbound Marketing Channels:
Now that we have covered inbound marketing channels, let us move on to different traditional marketing channels.
Email marketing is one of the top channels of outbound marketing small businesses often engage in. It involves sending out email newsletters to the leads in your active database. You can create buzz for your company by sending out promotional content, product launches, etc. It is a great channel to move your leads through the sales funnel by attracting them to your website, blog, social channels, events, and webinars.
Have you been aversive to cold calls but slowly opening to it? Why? Because instead of being pushy, marketers are trying to understand you? Yes, this is another channel you can use to build a relationship with your potential customers and based on their response you can either make a closure or follow up with them. Not rocket science but you need to be receptive to their queries instead of making your sales pitch at the wrong time and falling under Do Not Call Registry.
It takes an enormous effort for the startup to get their name established and to build an audience. Usually, Inbound Marketing for startups is the only strategy that helps them sail through but relying on just one strategy is not going to help when you need more finance to run your business. If you keep aside a little amount from your budget for television and radio advertising for say 2-3 months, you can reach out to more audience in short duration and make people take notice of your business. Once people develop interest they are sure to look up for you on the internet.
Trade show as a marketing strategy can be used to come face to face with your potential and existing customers and create brand awareness. However, if you don't have a pre-show marketing strategy, how will your attendees show up? Booking a space, building a booth, are not enough for your customers to come flooding in. You need to proactively promote your brand to drive traffic to your booth.
Newspaper advertising is one of the oldest methods of advertising that is in use even today. Newspaper advertising is the print ads that you see in your local, daily or weekly publication. These ads are an excellent way to reach out to a large number of people, whom you miss out on through inbound marketing.
Make sure your ads are error free and also has your website URL to drive people to your website and make an impression with exceptional content. You could also entice them to land on your website by offering them coupons or freebies etc.
How Merging Both is the Best Model:
With so much of marketing happening around it's no wonder people are zoning out most of them. However, if you use your marketing strategy tactfully it sure can make an impact.
Did you know? In the year 2010 Pepsi decided to shift their advertising budget to pure inbound and focus more on social media? Though they received an enormous response in terms of likes and followers, their sales went down compared to their rival CocaCola.
Just imagine the impact they might have had if they had allocated their budget to traditional method as well? Inbound marketing is helpful in the long run but incorporating a balanced marketing mix is the key to generate lead successfully.
When you integrate your inbound marketing with the global outreach of outbound marketing, they augment each other. It can work if you use email newsletter and telemarketing that are timed and relevant. It can work if you use the print ad to create awareness. It can work if you promote the content your audience wants to read via PPC, etc.
One of the world's leading SaaS-based CRM company had everything under its belt, be it web pop-ups, email templates, telephony integration, advanced sales, and marketing automation, but it still faced challenges. Why? When team at Fractional CMO analyzed the problem, we figured the website had broken SEO process, no content marketing, high acquisition cost, low web traffic, and the 'web to lead' ratio was below industry par. Our next step was to find a solution.
We focused more on website optimization, content creation, SEO, Email Marketing and Paid Ads. The outcome was unbelievable, Revenue for the company increased by 200%. The brand is now recognized as top 10 CRM's by 3 product review website.
Most startup these days rely heavily on inbound marketing as they are sold to the idea of nurturing leads with this means. However, leveraging inbound and outbound marketing strategy can deliver you results and success in a short time!