In the past, business marketing was very simple and specific – not because it was better, necessarily, but because it was limited. You had few marketing options available: You could advertise in the yellow pages (which made sense because everybody used the yellow pages); purchase billboards or newspaper/magazine ads; or buy commercials on local TV and/or radio.
But as Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changin’. We live in a digital world dominated by the internet now, and you need a more appropriate marketing method: inbound marketing. It’s a tremendously effective and exciting way to engage your audience, create leads and boost your business.
Here are some of the differences you can expect between being an inbound marketer and a traditional marketer:
This is one of the greatest advantages inbound marketing has over traditional marketing, which is why it leads off. With traditional marketing, you had to follow the old Ron Popeil slogan, “set it and forget it.” Once an ad was out there, you had no ability to change it (unless you wanted to incur an entirely new expense). For example, a yellow pages ad is released once per year – which means you’re stuck with the same messaging for 12 months. If it doesn’t work, you’ve just made a costly mistake.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is immensely adaptable. Your website can be changed entirely, all you need is the technical knowhow (and if you invest in marketing software like the Hubspot COS, you can do it yourself very easily). Messaging can be changed mid-campaign – don’t like the responses you’re getting to emails? You can try something new.
- Fit for the times
Ask yourself a question: when was the last time you opened up the yellow pages? Can you remember? I can’t. Do you even know where your copy of the yellow pages is? Now ask yourself another question: the last time you needed a business address or phone number, how did you look for it? I bet it was online.
I have just illustrated another major difference between inbound and traditional marketers. With inbound marketing, you’re using a strategy fit for the times. People are looking for local businesses online in overwhelming numbers. With inbound marketing, you get to capitalize on that.
- Relationship building/tracking
With traditional marketing, you have no idea how effective your marketing methods are. Sure, you might notice an uptick in business, or you could ask customers how they heard about you, but it’s a very inexact science.
With inbound marketing, you have many tracking tools at your disposal – especially if you invest in marketing software. Not only can you track who opens your emails and the click-throughs, you can also track your relationships with website visitors. For example, with HubSpot’s contact database feature, you can track every time a specific contact visits your site, how long they spend on each page and how they’ve interacted with your business online. That kind of information will allow you to create messaging specifically tailored to your leads, which can help your conversion rates.
With traditional marketing, you’re always beholden to others: whether it’s the yellow pages, or TV/radio stations, you have to depend on someone else to give you the marketing medium. If you want to use their platform, you’re going to have to pay for it. And although it’s unlikely, they could veto your ad, or they could end your contract with them abruptly.
With inbound marketing, you get complete autonomy. No one controls the internet, so you can use whatever message you want for as long as you want. That kind of freedom allows you to try new things and make mistakes, without incurring significant costs.