I've just slammed the phone down. It was a recorded message saying something about debt management. It's 7pm, I've just got in from walking the dog, I'm thinking about my supper. What makes them think I want my phone to ring for a machine to talk to me right now?

This is a classic example of outbound marketing, and frankly it sucks. Here are some other examples of outbound marketing:

  • Radio and TV, with those intrusive adverts that interrupt your TV shows and music
  • Spammy emails that land in your inbox without your permission
  • Adverts in paper based media channels like newspapers and magazines that are slapped in between the pages of an article you are reading
  • Those pesky, flashing, pop-up adverts that distract you from the stuff you are reading on-line
  • That telesales person on the other end of the phone that literally highjack's your time and doesn't allow you a word in
  • Direct mail that comes through the post with those 'amazing' offers

Basically, outbound marketing is all the communication that intrudes, imposes and interferes. It's the stuff businesses throw at you. It's the kind of marketing that you don't opt into, the stuff that literally interrupts you. If you don't enjoy this kind of marketing then why do it to your customers? Instead, why not consider inbound marketing? This is absolutely key. Stop outbound marketing and start inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is the complete opposite of everything I have ranted about above. You could describe inbound marketing as attraction marketing. It works because instead of rudely interrupting people you present them with content and solutions that they actually want. You know they want it because they choose to be part of it. Examples of inbound marketing are:

  • Social media — channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great because people choose to follow you, like you or link to you.
  • Content marketing like blogs and articles are great examples of attraction marketing because people can choose to read them by subscribing to feeds and newsletters for example. By giving people useful and helpful content you draw people in. You attract people who are interested in your given topic and who actually want to read you content.
  • Search Engine Optimisation — your ability to ensure you content is found on search engines is an example of inbound marketing because doing it correctly means people looking for your content and expertise can find it.

So this refreshing thing called 'giving people choice' is the kind of marketing that you should be adopting. None of this old hat trickery and wizardry — like the sealed blank envelopes that get me every time. The ones that come through the post which I have to open in case it's a random note from a friend. Know the ones I mean? But no, they are always stuffed with the ugliest of pointless leaflets that I scrunch up in frustration.

Implement inbound marketing in your business and you'll find that over time you'll build a following. I believe it's so much better to have a group of dedicated fans than an army of enemies. And, use inbound marketing correctly and you'll find out that a group of dedicated fans could turn out to be an army of fans that will champion you and buy from you.

AuthorSara Drawwater