There are plenty of different ways to market your small business, but they all fall into one of two categories: inbound or outbound. With outbound marketing, you have to go get your customers; with inbound marketing, you convince them to come to you.
Pretend for a moment that you’re selling peanuts. You want customers to buy them by the pound, so you plan to convince them of their nutty goodness with free samples. You send your most personable employee out to the streets with instructions to give every single person they meet a small bag. Except not everyone wants peanuts. Some people are allergic. Others don’t like nuts. A select few are incredibly annoyed by having the peanuts foisted upon them. This is an example of outbound marketing. While it certainly has its uses, it’s got its downfalls, too. Your employee didn’t convince everyone to try the peanuts because not everyone wanted to try them.
Now imagine the same scenario, only this time you place a “free peanuts” sign in your shop window. The people who aren’t interested in peanuts will walk right by, saving you the time and energy of marketing to an unwilling audience. The people who do want peanuts will flock to your shop, try your products and hopefully buy some. This is inbound marketing. You’ve narrowed your target audience, marketed your product to them directly and come up with an enticing way to get them into your shop.
You can utilize inbound marketing to your small business website, too. The trick is to give your target audience a reason to visit. Whether it’s quirky, creative blog posts, helpful hints or awesome contests, you’ve got to convince customers that your company is worth caring about.
When you take your message to the streets, be prepared for some people not to listen. However, when you invite your audience in, you’ll find that your ROI increases dramatically. Inbound marketing is about sharing your message with the people who are eager to hear it.
Still confused about how the whole inbound and outbound strategy works? Give Mischa Communications a shout! We can answer your questions, and help your small business come up with a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both!