“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.
9 tips for planning your inbound marketing.
It’s been a few years now since brands realised that people were becoming increasingly annoyed by ‘intrusive’ marketing. What arose (primed by the advances in technologically assisted connectedness), was a method of attracting people to your brand rather than invading their space with an irrelevant message.
This ‘new’ approach was called inbound marketing and appeared to be a logical way to proceed, mainly because consumers have never had it so easy to be able to switch off irrelevant brand communication.. Of course, it was, and is, a back to the future scenario because the rationale for smarter marketing hasn’t changed, just the methodologies available.
In fact, inbound marketing is flying so high nowadays, it’s like there is no other way of marketing. It has become king of the marketing castle. To confound matters further, there are many practitioners out there proclaiming that traditional marketing is dead because ‘content marketing’ has taken over.
Before we proceed, let’s clarify one thing – in our opinion content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. It is the lifeblood of an inbound strategy without which, there is no hook for people to listen to your brand communication.
Well, to all you marketers and organisations out there, you’ll be pleased to know that traditional (outbound) marketing is not dead. It is alive and well. It still has a part to play in a focused marketing plan. Here is a table outlining sample activity that may form part of your detailed marketing plan, depending on the target audience and business goals.
|Traditional / Outbound / Push Marketing||Inbound / Content / Pull Marketing|
|Radio or Television ads||Website – SEO|
|Outdoor advertising||Social Media|
|Tradeshows or Exhibitions||Blogs|
|Direct Mail||Whitepapers or eBooks|
|Flyers, Circulars or Inserts||Email campaigns|
|Outbound Call Centres||eNewsletters|
|Banner or Display ads||Podcasts, Webinars or Video streaming|
A brief summary of the above table is that – outbound activity is an attempt to ‘buy’ the attention of the targeted audience whereas, inbound activity is an attempt to ‘earn’ their attention. Of course, both methods have their pros and cons but the essence of success is a mix of both, that will provide measureable results.
9 tips for planning your inbound marketing.
Although almost everyone is talking about embracing inbound marketing, it is not as easy as having a few social media accounts and blogging every now and then. It takes commitment, perseverance and some creativity to achieve measureable results. These results will be based on a business plan and should culminate in increased leads, conversions and sales.
Here are our tips and timesavers when planning your inbound strategy.
- Invite, don’t interrupt. – Use social media, blogs, articles, newsletters etc. to engage with your audience.
- Help, don’t sell. – If you know your audience well, you will know what they want – give it to them.
- Humanise, don’t automate. – When you get the leads, you need to nurture the relationships.
- Be relevant not incidental. – Blog a lot of relevant content, as regularly as you can.
- Measure, don’t guess. – You can be smarter about your marketing by knowing what works.
- Be visible, not hidden. – Use SEO to increase the likelihood of being found in searches.
- Talk directly, not generally. – Use email selectively and customise content for recipients.
- Spark conversation, not self-promotion. – Use social media as a ‘social medium’ not an advertising channel.
- Entice rather than pay. – Short, consumable content that educates or entertains will work.
Stay or Go? Content marketing In-house, or outsourced?
The first thing to emphasise here is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The fact is, that it totally depends on your business objectives and of course your budget. It may also be the case, as it is with some of our own clients, that a combination of both is the more suitable.
Some of the main arguments we hear against outsourcing are:
A) can outsiders capture your brand voice? Our answer is yes they can – there are many very talented writers out there who are extremely creative and professional enough to avoid the content becoming just more advertising copy.
B) Our own marketing dept. / person can write a blog – yes they could, but different audiences require different approaches / channels, and we would ask “do they have the time and expertise to adapt”?
C) In-house people understand the brand guidelines better – at the end of the day, content that connects with people is what counts not content that adheres to company rules. Of course, if the agency is not producing what it promised it is also easier to terminate their contract than it is that of an existing staff member.
Accordingly, we encourage organisations to outsource in the following four situations:
-You don’t have the time to do it yourself.
-You don’t have the expertise in various content types.
-Keeping up to date on trends is too much of a chore.
-Your marketing needs to be smarter, in order to grow your business.
Every time we discuss this topic with clients or prospects, we offer them a trial period of six months with O’C&K. In that way, a company owner (marketing manager) can gauge the time and effort that is required to manage an inbound strategy and supply quality content. Thereafter, they can decide which route adds more value to their business operation.
Six months is not sufficient time for an inbound strategy to kick-in but at least it will show the volume of effort involved.
One other alternative, referred to above, is to outsource one element of your marketing plan. This could be writing a blog, a white paper or an e-book, managing an email or social media campaign, all of which could be once-off projects as part of your overall engagement strategy for clients.
Let’s face it, you are in business to grow your company and improve your revenue. Outsourcing some or all of your marketing, can help you reach your business objectives. Sometimes, expanding your internal marketing department or hiring an intern is just not a good use of your resources.
If you do outsource, it means that you could use the savings to drive growth while in the knowledge that your marketing activity is playing its part in your success.
We would say that though wouldn’t we?
Because that is what we do..
If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page. Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers. Jim – O’C&K