The message in outbound marketing is essentially unclear and usually misleading. Because there is very little room to work with, either a few seconds of a radio spot or in a newspaper ad, it has to be because the goal of outbound marketing is always to stand out. The relationship with the prospect is compromised in order to do this! If you think about it, what other way is there to get someone to see your loan product in a quarter page ad at the bottom of an article about diversity at the Oscars? Should you get lucky enough to know where the ad will appear, then you can try to make the message fit the audience, but this almost never succeeds. More often than not, you’re giving the exact same message to both sexes, aged zero to one hundred. It’s all misdirection. A magic trick like pulling that shiny quarter out of the kids ear.
But with inbound marketing, the message is useful and specific. Instead of being forced upon you, the message is instead offered up ready for you to consume whenever it is convenient for you. The message is all about quality content that educates and engages. It is written to help the consumer answer and solve their problems. Not very long ago marketing professionals would advise their clients to create big sales with deep discounts and then advertise them to mass audiences. The current thought process at the time was that more consumers would then look for the product, and the lost product value was made up for with the increase in customers. Today the reality is that instead of advising our clients to advertise on all mediums or slash prices we instead encourage them to offer something of much greater value — thought leadership (and we offer the discounts, if we need them, to our loyal brand ambassadors… as a reward for subscribing).
Today, high quality content is the cornerstone of your interactions with customers and how sites achieve top rankings.
The concept that quality content is the best way to attract customers, links, and social interaction is what inbound, or content, marketing is all about. With inbound marketing, the focus is on creating strong website content, email marketing campaigns, social media updates, and more. You build your brand and your visibility with high-quality, reliable content and landing pages that are precisely designed. Content should use compelling copy and strong calls to action to move prospects through the buying funnel.
In inbound marketing, content refers to a wide range of imaginative, creative tools that your business generates in order to educate, attract and delight customers, including but not limited to:
- Web page content
- Articles and guest posts
- E-books, white papers, and reports
- Blog posts
- Social media updates
- Tips sheets, brochures and product FAQs
- Videos and micro-videos
- Pictures, infographics, and animated GIFs
- Sales pages
At the heart of effective content marketing is deciding which types of content are right for your customers and right for reaching a specific business. One of the best ways to find your voice in the market is by experimenting, on your site as well as in the wider digital landscape. Don’t be afraid to attempt many different formats until you discover the approach that’s right for your own specific situation.