Smarketing Blog

Without Inbound Marketing, You're Fishing with a Hole in Your Net

Marketing without Inbound Methodology is like fishing with a hole in your net.If your small business is utilizing only traditional media to try to attract customers, you may be feeling like you’re fishing: you work hard to prepare for the day, find what appears to be a great spot, cast your line or net, and then...wait. However, if you’re not using inbound marketing to grow your business, you’re fishing with a hole in your net.

Traditional media include TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, billboards, and even online banner ads. You’re aware of the potential audience size for these traditional marketing tactics - a whole ocean, right? Surely you’ll be reaching your potential customers if you utilize these! Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way: patch that hole, sonar the lake for the ideal spot, and make the fish come directly to you using inbound marketing methods.

First, let’s examine the ways using traditional marketing media and methods can feel like fishing with a holey net:

Target your audience with the correct bait - not what you want them to be looking for.Your bait is wrong: You’re not offering what your audience is looking for; you’re offering what you want them to be looking for.

Problem: You don’t have an easy way to research your audience or to know what it is they’re looking for from your business. You don’t know what your website or store audience looks like. You’re making guesses at your audience based on who you’d like to appear in your store - but you haven’t researched or measured your target market to know if you’re spending time and money on the right areas. Worse yet, you’re guessing at the items, perks, or offers you’re making, hoping that your target audience is interested - but never really knowing.

  • Solution: Research your customers; provide them with solutions to issues they’re experiencing. Research will reveal to following: who your customers are, how to best reach them, topics that interest them, problems they’re experiencing, and solutions you’re able to provide.Inbound marketing is about a two-way conversation.

Inbound marketing is about having an engaging, 2-way conversation with your customers to meet their needs with your business. The first step is to research your desired audience - and then attract them by offering knowledge, solutions to problems, and answers to their questions.

You’re not using the right-sized net: It’s too broad - and not nearly targeted enough.

Without targeted content, you'll miss potential customers as they rush past.Problem: You’re spending lots of money to advertise, but your message is showing to an audience that’s too broad - so you’re missing out on many, many customers. Because of the cost of traditional media, your message often needs to be very general to appeal to the sheer size of the audience. It's not clear who your message is meant for, and therefore, it passes many potential customers by. Imagine it this way: the holes in your net are so wide, you can only catch one or two gigantic fish - but you’re missing out on all the smaller fish that are swimming through your net as a result.

  • Solution: You need a net built for your audience. You’ve completed your research, so you know the best ways in which to reach them. Now it’s time to do what we marketers refer to as segmenting: splitting your audience up even further to appeal to them as individuals, and to reach them in the way they respond to most.

inbound_marketing_conversation.jpgUsing inbound marketing campaigns, you’re able to speak more directly to potential and current customers who are already interested in specific things that you offer - and not all of those customers are looking for the same solution. Through digital distribution channels - your website, email contacts, and social media outlets - you can provide targeted content that solves issues experienced by multiple potential customers. All you need to do is provide the knowledge that your audience is looking for, and they’ll come to you for the solution.

Measuring the ROI of traditional media is very difficult.You don’t know you’ve caught the fish: Measuring the return on traditional media is nearly impossible.

Problem: You don’t know if the money you’re spending on traditional media is worth it - you don’t have a way to measure the return on your investment, and you’re not sure you have anything to show for the time and money.

  • Solution: You need a measureable tool on which to spend your money, and you need tools and channels with a high return rate.

While some digital media can seem like the answer to this problem (you can see how many people saw the ad, how many clicked on it, and even whether or not they purchased or filled out a form), it doesn’t completely solve the issue. Even though you may be targeting the "right" audience with your paid advertisements, the final issue here is timing: the audience just might not be in the market at that exact moment. In-your-face traditional media, digital banner ads and search engine marketing ads are disruptive and jolting, defeating the purpose of your market research and the 2-way conversation you were hoping for!

Inbound Marketing is about providing the solutiont to a problem through knowledge-sharing.

Enter: inbound marketing methodology. Inbound is all about attracting potential customers to your site as they’re looking for the solution you provide. They were searching for and reading about their problem, and then your content, your site, your solution shows up to give them knowledge and convert them to your product. The beauty is, they’re in control of the timing, and they have a positive decision-making experience. You’ve helped solve their problem, and they’ve rewarded you with their business. That's what inbound is all about! 



Topics: Inbound Marketing