A few weeks ago, while still digesting the information from Social Me Workshop #7, I started thinking about the fact that Bulgarian companies are adopting the social media channel mainly to keep up with their competitors, gain a large number of fans, which they then communicate to in a one-way manner. It disappoints me that this is the major motivator for them and that they are not using the right methods for communication, though it’s not surprising at all. Keeping an eye on your competition is a great practice, but I wish companies in Bulgaria saw the benefits of inbound marketing and understood how opening up a two-way communication channel could transform their marketing for the better.
The internet is revolutionizing marketing, not to mention the world. It gives people an easy way to find information that they want, which is unquestionably changing their behavior. People pay less and less attention to billboards, TV commercials, direct mail and other traditional ads. On top of that, these are often seen as intrusive. Think of all the advertising messages that bombard each person on this planet every day. How many do you think get through? Our e-mails have spam filters and our brains have developed them too. We are tired of having products pushed into our view by outbound marketing techniques and this definitely makes it less effective. See the infographic below:
As you can see above, inbound marketing strategies rely on attracting people’s genuine interest by offering them something of value, instead of trying to buy some of their time. Examples of inbound marketing are Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM), blogs, e-books, podcasts and infographics.
Because communication is two-way in this approach, a relationship is built; because marketers provide value, consumers are educated and both sides feel happy; because the product is found by the customer, the whole marketing strategy proves more effective in two main ways:
- Inbound marketing brings low cost leads – it costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Mashable)
- Inbound channels produce higher quality leads – SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound sourced leads have a 1.7% close rate. (Hubspot – which is a great example of inbound marketing in itself)
The benefits of inbound marketing can be illustrated in many more numbers and facts. If you are interested, you can check out the sources I have cited above. To further illustrate my point that companies need to transition into inbound marketing, I leave you with a video describing a clever social media campaign. It actually uses a billboard, but in a much different way. The idea of providing value to the customer is unquestionably there; so is the two-way communication and so is the relationship building. It’s all very much real. Make it real and give to your customers. Enjoy!