Outbound marketing is the traditional way of doing marketing. This is textbook marketing that people learn from school. In this method of marketing, the marketer seeks out the potential customers. To do this, he uses traditional methods such as giving out flyers, making cold calls, posting advertisements in the newspaper, TV advertisements, public relations, trade shows, email marketing, text marketing and radio advertisements.
These are but some of the ways that an outbound marketer attracts the customer’s attention. The aim is to create brand awareness and brand recognition on the client base. The method is more proactive. It advertises to people who do not necessarily seek for the brand.
The result of this kind of marketing is usually quick. Since the business is not waiting for the customer to find them, they are taking steps to locate their clients. This means quick boost of sales for the company. On the downside though, not all companies can afford to post ads on the local dailies or promote their products on TV commercials. The cost of promoting through outbound marketing means can be prohibitive depending on the methods chosen. But the rewards can be commercially satisfying, if done right.
Inbound Marketing for the Internet
Inbound marketing is the new method of marketing brought about by the internet. The thrust of inbound marketing is to get found by potential clients. This means doing marketing efforts that will attract people who seek out the information, products or services they provide.
Inbound marketing is more concerned with the quality of information they are giving out. People who already have the mind set to look for products they are selling will come to their website due to the excellent information and content they are providing.
Inbound marketing levels the playing field. It does not require spending huge amounts of money for advertisements to be found. Marketers do the inbound marketing by blogging, guest posting, search engine optimization, social networking such as Facebook and Twitter and video posting. This method of marketing follows by the rule that ‘content is king.’
Optimized Inbound Marketing
A website that is properly optimized for search engines and contains informative and helpful content will most likely get inbound traffic from visitors seeking the information it provides. Visitors will frequently visit a site that provides them value. For instance, a website that helps people find the best travel deals will attract a huge number of visitors compared to a site that aggressively promotes a product.
As more traffic comes in, the ranking of the website will also go up. This means the site will be on the first page of the search engine results. When this happens, more and more people will be able to visit the site. This method of marketing is less expensive compared to outbound marketing. However, it might take a while to build a website from scratch and optimize it so visitors can find it. Also, maintaining a blog or website requires a huge amount of time. To be able to get excellent results in marketing, the best method to adopt is to do both outbound and inbound marketing at the same time.
Social media has completely changed the online landscape and the world and has propelled many companies to great success. Perhaps the segment that can have the most success is the small business that uses social media effectively. Social media presents ample opportunities that small businesses have not seen previously by any other media outlet, simply because of the massive potential consumer base available through social networks.
Right now, if there were a room of 100 people, 80 of them would in some capacity be connected with and through social media. Now, imagine you are a small business owner. You have ten people in your store. Eight of them are connected with and through social media. If you have a limited budget for marketing, where would you spend it? Would you spend it on ads on coffee cup lids or advertisements that ride around on the side of a bus? Or would you spend your money creating a marketing campaign on Facebook that has a potential audience of over 800 million users? That’s what I thought…
Increase in Audience Reach
Historically, small businesses could never reach the kinds of widespread audiences that larger companies and corporations could. Social media allows small businesses to reach consumers in other cities, states, and even countries. With social media, a consumer’s geographical location is not an obstacle as long as the product or service offered by the company can get to the consumer. Many of the setbacks and limitations small businesses faced in the past have been lifted as a result of the utilization of social media outlets.
Consider hiring a social media agency to help.
Increased Traffic and Sales
If a social media strategy is well thought out and executed there are countless opportunities for small businesses. Brands have great success on Facebook, based off of their clever and compelling designs that draw in new customers to “like” the brand’s page. The more “likes” a company or brand page has, the more traffic will come to the main site. There will also be an increase in the number of people in the audience that a company is able to “touch” through its social media interactions. Increased traffic to a company or brand’s social site will drive more traffic to its main website as well, and hopefully in turn drive up online sales.
Some important statistics:
- There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.
- Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website.
- Over 80% of all Americans use a social network.
- Over 80% of LinkedIn users are decision-makers in their organization.
- Twitter has over 200 million users.
- There are over 230 million tweets per day.
- Approximately 40% of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices.
- Nearly 23% of online time is spent on social networks.
(Statistics from the Social Media Examiner)
This means there is over 800 million audience members almost constantly available. Social Networks also provide a unique forum for consumer feedback unavailable anywhere else.
Avenue For Direct Customer Feedback
People feel comfortable to share their ideas and opinions on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A Facebook Group or Company Page offers a place for consumers to share news and feedback with companies in a way they normally would not. Companies are more likely to get information for a survey or constructive criticism through Facebook than if the company sent something via e-mail or regular ground mail. Consumers feel more compelled to give feedback and more like they are voluntarily interacting to help improve a company they like through social media outlets.
Greater Marketing Opportunities
Because of the large audiences a company page can accumulate through Facebook and other social media sites, the marketing opportunities are almost endless. With over 80% of Americans using a social network, it would be foolish of any small business to not take advantage of the opportunities that lie in social networks. Consider hiring a social media agency to help.
Important Small Business Social Media Statistics
- 78% of business executives surveyed said social media is critical for success.
- 50% of small business owners use social media.
- 45% of small business owners believe social media will be profitable in the next year.
- 4% of small business owners say they could not do without social media as a marketing tool for their company.
The bottom line: Small businesses need to take advantage of everything social media has to offer to help build their brand, increase sales and audience, as well as compete in the changing marketplace.
It’s not a fad. It’s here to stay!
A Deeper Look Into Social Media and Public Relations
By Ann Willets, Utopia Communications
To say that social media has revolutionized the public relations field is a bit of an understatement. In the past there were two ways to influence your target markets, either through advertising, which lacked credibility, or via the media, which provided credibility but little control. Getting a journalist to tell your story meant letting them tell it their way, which didn’t always benefit your organization.
However, with the advent of social media, organizations can reach more influencers – directly and at a lower cost – than ever before. They, in turn, can become credible advocates of your brand. The filter once provided by the media is off, and organizations can tell their stories in their own words. They can also tell it with audio, video and links to more in-depth information.
Interestingly enough, that doesn’t mean they’ll get their story out effectively. Very often, the stories an organization’s management team thinks are worth telling won’t resonate with their audience. After all, managers aren’t always good communicators (although you can’t always tell them that). So, the ability to strategically craft a message that will not only influence an audience, but lead them to action, remains a critical skill.
And, depending on who the audience is, you’ve still got to choose the most effective social medium to reach them. Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Or, are they reading Yahoo news? In the case of social media, all roads don’t go to Rome. Public relations professionals, who are trained to research, segment and develop specific messages for your target markets are uniquely suited to help guide you.
The social media platforms with the most value must be used by a client’s target audience and be a meaningful place for brands to connect with consumers and journalists.
We’re also beginning to see the downside of the social media rush that had big brands, organizations and corporations setting up shop on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare over the past two years. Several large companies are being hit with a new type of reputation crisis, one that emerges and spreads via social media channels. It’s pretty clear that new tools are required in defusing a crisis caused by damaging “news” that can break in just minutes from a Twitter feed, blog post or YouTube.
On the plus side, social media allows provides a channel whereby an organization can listen to its audiences like never before. In doing so, they may find ways to tweak their messages, products or services in a way that leads to better performance. Right now, Facebook is getting an online earful from its users in response to the changes its making. By monitoring the conversation, the company has an opportunity to either strengthen its user relationships or lose them to Google+. The outcome remains to be seen.
All in all, the advent of social media is a good thing. It allows for more conversations in more depth than ever before. Keeping on top of these conversations, ensuring that they are accurate and relevant and targeted to the most influential audience will keep public relations practitioners very busy for the foreseeable future.
For more information about how CMDS and Utopia can help, click here to get started.
Are you wondering what the next latest and greatest web innovation will be? Well Google+ is combining the best of content creation and sharing, information search, social media, and more into a revolutionary new site that is set to take over the web in a big way. We live in a social world, and the only way for many companies to survive is to adapt, and adopt social into their business model.
Google for many is their go-to search engine. The new +1 function of Google+ is now allowing users to both create and find content. This will, and already has, introduced a completely new level of interactivity. The impact of this change over time may be a change in how search results are compiled. While a user is logged into Google+ they are able to see search results based upon both what Google finds as relevant, and also results based upon what their friends and Google+ connections have created, commented on, and liked. If the user is not logged into their account however, they will not see results based upon any other Google+ members.
Some of the key functionality of Google+ is the ability to merge many of the best features of popular sites into one place. Google+ is linked with the user’s Gmail account and their e-mail, which will also be viewable in the same portal. With Google+ , users are able to create a profile just as they would on Facebook and add friends. These friends are categorized using “Circles” which can be set up anyway you like. Users can also “like” content, just as they would on Facebook. Google+ also offers a customizable newsfeed, called “Sparks” based upon categories of topics that interest you.
The ease of use is perhaps the best trait of Google+ . It is much more appealing and cleaner than many other popular sites.
If you still aren’t a believer now…Social media and all aspects of social have made an evident presence in the eyes of Google…and what Google says usually goes. Social tracking mechanisms have been implemented and are growing increasingly important in the collection of relevant site metrics. Google Analytics’ new social interaction tracking allows you to track Facebook likes, unlikes and shares from social plug-ins on your website, and you can enable these measurements by adding tracking code to your site.
Google Analytics allows users to see how site behavior changes as a user interacts with a social plug-in. The total number of social actions taken are recorded in addition to a report comparing the pages with the highest number of social actions.
These new updates to Google Analytics have also added the ability to track Tweets about specific URLs on your website. This tracking records social actions on your website from the Tweet button in a similar way to how Facebook and +1 social actions are measured.
These capabilities have major potential for marketers, for it allows marketers to gain much deeper insight into the motivations, social networking, buying patterns and preferences of their customers. With this information marketers are much more equipped to directly target their customers in a way that is best suited to their wants and needs.