Inbound marketing is important, and we tell all our clients to take advantage of it.
But, unfortunately, not every customer is looking up everything your company offers.
When you only rely on inbound marketing as a strategy, you only capture people who are already far down the funnel. This means you aren’t filling the rest of your pipeline with people who are unfamiliar with your brand. It’s the difference between casting a net and hoping for the best and spearfishing for the tastiest catch.
Pure Inbound Marketing
There is a lot of research on inbound marketing, and it seems that everyone has their own definition.
They all pretty much agree that it is driven by content, but that it’s still not the same as content marketing. They also say that pay-per-click advertising isn’t a part of inbound, but isn’t that what you’re doing when you buy keywords allowing your business to come up when people are looking for a product or service?
All this contradiction gives me a headache, so for the sake of this blog post, I’m going to use Hubspot’s incredibly vague and general explanation:
Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive.
This means potential customers find you via social media, search engines, and blogs.
Okay, nice and simple. Headache is subsiding.
So overall, pure inbound marketing uses targeted content to provide information to customers in hopes that they will be interested enough to contact your business. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s not really proactive in getting the potential customer to make a purchase.
A good inbound strategy doesn’t just rely on people searching for you; it incorporates ads, smart search keywords, content offerings, etc. to make people want to come to you or to get people to notice you even when they’re not searching for you.
By relying on this strategy alone, you’re missing out on the highly qualified leads who need what you offer but don’t know it yet (and despite its apparent omnipotence, Google won’t know it either).
Resist the Allure of Pure Inbound
When a business first worms its way into the public eye, some get blessed with an influx of clients who are interested in the next best thing: their service.
Many companies are suckered into a false sense of security, reliant on the natural inflow that is unknowingly unsustainable in the long run. They are woefully unprepared when their hype is gone and the public moves on to the next new thing.
When we say relying on inbound alone could keep you in the poor house, we really mean it when we say poor.
Inbound marketing can be stupid expensive, sometimes to a point where it’s not even worth it. Oli Gardner, co-founder of Unbounce and a landing page expert, came to the conclusion that 98% of ads are a complete waste of money.
That plus the cost of buying a domain and key search words seems kind of counterintuitive, especially considering there’s no actual guarantee the potential customer is going to chose your business after being exposed to all that content.
It lacks that extra oomph from someone actually reaching out and handing them the product saying, “This is what you should be purchasing for your business and here’s why.”
The Importance of Outbound
Outbound outreach is an effective marketing strategy when it comes to keeping your pipeline full because you are never dependent on people searching for your product. A lot of companies have difficulty setting up effective inbound marketing campaigns because the competition owns your key search words or have dominant SEO positioning.
These companies get distracted spending all their resources developing inbound marketing strategies as opposed to directly targeting those hundred-some companies they want to do business with.
Outbound marketing takes the initiative with the potential customer. Good outbound combines directly contacting warm leads AND proactively contacting cold prospects through cold calls, email campaigns, and trade shows.
These are all good ideas in theory, but unless you are able to thoroughly research your market and create highly targeted and personalized campaigns, you could still end up with nothing.
Balancing Inbound and Outbound
If you rely on only inbound, you’re spending all your time and money casting a wide net of content, keywords, web optimization, and publicity. It’s exhausting and often takes a dedicated team to handle well.
Outbound lets you utilize your inbound efforts efficiently. Gather the content net you’ve been curating and turn it into your spear to deliver targeted, relevant content to the right people at the right time. Outbound doesn’t wait; outbound acts.
You need both compelling content and direct contact if you want to expand your client database and still close deals.
There’s no place for purebred marketing methods these days. A truly successful campaign incorporates many different complimenting strategies and outreach methods that work together to increase your touches, brand awareness, and public appeal.