When I chat with a lot of salespersons today about how they create leads and fill the top of their sales funnel, many said they do these by attending trade conventions, workshops, sending e-mail blasts to bought lists, internal cold calling, contracted out telemarketing, and marketing.
These traditional techniques are called “outbound marketing” where a salesperson pushes his message out everywhere hoping that a lead will see his message and respond.
However, I think outbound marketing methods are getting less and less efficient with time for 2 reasons.
Firstly, your typical man today is swamped with over 2000 advertising and marketing messages per day and one is always figuring out more and more innovative methods to block them out, consisting of caller ID, spam filtering and etc. And sometimes we are so used to ads that we develop Ad Fatigue or Blindness.
Secondly, the expense of finding out about something brand-new or searching for something brand-new utilizing the web (online search engine, blog sites, and social networks) is now much lower than going to a workshop at the Marriott Hotel or flying to a trade convention in Las Vegas for example.
Instead of doing outbound advertising to the masses of individuals who are attempting to block you out or who are not interested in your services at the moment, I strongly encourage you try doing “inbound marketing” where you assist yourself to “get found” by ready buyers who are currently looking for the services that you provide.
In order to do this, you have to set your site up like a “center” for your market that draws in site visitors normally with online search engine, the blogosphere, and social networks. I think most online marketers today invest 90 % of their efforts on outgoing advertising and 10 % on incoming advertising and marketing, and I suggest that those ratios flip.
One example I can come up with is the following scenario.
While walking along the streets or visiting a mall, sometimes a sales person would approach you and asked you if you want to sign up a credit card.
Imagine you are the sales person, how many passers by or visitors would you need to “interrupt” to try to convince them to sign up? And the fact is that most people don’t like it. The customers are visiting the malls with their loved ones to relax and have a good time, not to sign up credit cards.
Now, say you are the same salesperson but you are not chasing after customers. Instead, the potential customers saw your booth, your offer and approach you themselves to ask about your offer. Aren’t these the “better targeted” customers which you will want to engage with? These are the people who raise their hands and say they are interested in your credit card. You will have a higher chance of closing the deal with them, isn’t it?
This is what I meant by Inbound Marketing.
SEO is one of the most common form of Inbound Marketing today where you can reach out to prospects who are actively searching for your products or services.