The internet has blurred the lines of communication and has brought about the most change, and whilst it has brought accessible new communication channels to everyone it has also broadened the options so much that it can sometimes be confusing.
Today marketing is often categorised as “outbound” or “inbound”. But what does it mean?
Outbound marketing is mostly what you would view as “traditional” activity, for example, PR, print advertising, radio, billboards and direct mail, that is focused on pushing out marketing messages to an audience regardless of whether they want to see them or not.
Inbound marketing encompasses digital activity, such as social media, blogs and opt-in emails, that focuses on pulling in customers through generating interesting content. Rather than pushing out messages to prospective customers, you create valuable content that makes them want to interact with you and find out more.
The internet and social media has changed the way that people search for information and make ‘buying’ decisions. Prospective customers turn to the internet for information which is where inbound marketing becomes important and why it can and should link directly with your outbound strategy.
Using inbound and outbound marketing together to create an effective marketing communications strategy. What do you need?
- A search engine optimised website that makes you visible online. It should be built properly to technical standards that meet the requirements of the search engines and should allow you to add or change content easily. It can provide you with tools to capture information on your audience so that you can market to them and will be central to your sales strategy.
- Content Marketing. We have truly entered a time when content is king. Regular, interesting and relevant (search engine optimised) content is important for the long-term performance of your website, and to connect with the right audience. It supports your site by reinforcing the messages that you want to communicate to your audience. That same content also provides you with materials to use in other marketing channels.
- PR has developed as the digital landscape has changed. At the core though, PR is about generating awareness for your brand in the media and should be focused on telling your story, BUT it needs to link with your inbound strategy. This means that PR will target online publications, be shared using social media, published on your own website and used in email marketing.
- Social media marketing. Social media is important whether you are a sole trader or a multinational corporation. The accessibility of social media channels makes it really easy to get started, however, to really use it to your advantage it is important to develop a clear strategy and activity plan. When done properly it will provide a big boost to your website visits whilst also becoming an important way to communicate news.
- Email marketing. Email marketing is a valuable tool for disseminating news and content to existing customers and prospects (with new data regulation rules now in force people must have given their consent to receive these so you already know they are interested in what you have to say). Enewsletters can be used for profile raising and positioning tools, but with sales messages integrated that point to specific landing pages developed within your content marketing thread of activity.
- Measurement. Analytical data will prove what is working and what isn’t working. It helps with day-to-day decision making and longer term strategy and budget allocation and should be considered in detail at the outset of a campaign. Continue to do the things that work but always be willing to try new things.
If you’re looking for help with your marketing strategy please get in touch, We’d love to hear from you.