Most of how we’ve learned to market and win clients are based on the notion of stealing customer attention from something else, of getting in their way or getting them to focus on our message long enough to cause them to do something.
The music stops playing on the radio, football games take timeouts, entire pages of newspapers carry no news, and highway scenery gets replaced with huge billboards of (hopefully) compelling information. We do all this, and more so that we can interrupt potential prospects and customers to tell them something we think is important.
If we’re looking at marketing in general, I think most of you who have been responsible for bringing in new projects will agree — it’s getting harder.
And maybe instead of saying it’s getting harder, we can say “traditional” marketing is getting harder. These notes might ring true to what you’re experiencing in the office now.
Networking events are not as fruitful as they once were. They are filled with non-clients, non-referrals, competitors, and so on.
It’s getting harder to have face time with those decision makers in companies, and I’m talking about actual meetings, not through an app.
It actually requires the dedication of a full-time person — not someone who is already balancing a hundred things on their to-do list, to just add this to the mix.
Both young and small companies seem to have it harder than those who have been around for a while. Then we take a look at some statistics that further backs up this mindset:
- 86% of people skip tv ads
- 91% have unsubscribed from emails
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
What this is showing us is that we, as a society, are being selective about what channels we allow to come in. In a world where technology changes at a rapid speed, here’s what we know for certain: It’s easier than ever to turn off messages and advertising if you don’t want to see it.
- We pay the extra $2.99 for an ad-free app
- We use a newsreader to get our news stories without having to worry about print or online advertising
- We rigorously work and rework our Facebook feed to ignore ads better and promoted posts
- We pay for streaming television, or at least use our DVRs, to avoid commercials
- We pay for streaming radio, listen to music on Spotify, so we don’t have to listen to… what? Ads
Do you see a theme here? For all the time spent online — regardless of device — it seems we’re almost working harder to find ways to narrow our input and content, and we often seem to start with outbound advertisements.
People used to love marketing. What happened?
The answer is simple: We as humans have changed. In the 90s, office hours were centred on a standard work day. It gradually gets longer over time, but we still worked in a cubicle like most.
Now, if you’re like me, the day never ends. I was laying in bed last night at 10:30 responding to emails I didn’t have the time to earlier that day. We aren’t sitting in an office anymore, having people who want to sell us stuff schedule time with us to show us their new products or service.
Why? because we look things up ourselves. When you have a question or are looking for something specific, where’s the first place you go? Google. Who picks up yellow pages? What the hell is that anymore anyway?
Essentially this boils down to the fact that the client — or customer, or consumer — is in complete control of this situation. We as consumers can shut a channel off that’s reaching out to us. We can make all that marketing someone is doing and spending tonnes of money and time on very quickly go away.
To attract our ideal clients, we have to provide them with something they will LOVE.
This process, my friends, is called Inbound Marketing.
Instead of buying ad space (billboards, magazines, newspapers, online ads, etc.), buying email lists, or cold calling, inbound marketing focuses on creating remarkable content that pulls people toward your website where they can learn more about what you sell on their own time.
The inbound methodology has four main stages.
It’s centred around bringing people to your company through content creation, social media, blogs, videos, etc. You want to attract those ideal clients by creating content that is valuable and easy to find. What kind of pain points do your customers have? What kind of solutions do you offer to them? How can you help them by telling YOUR story?
Conversion happens when we allow those ideal clients to exchange their information, like maybe just their name and email, for a free piece of valuable content, like a downloadable form, or a checklist, or a webinar.
This is centred on lead nurturing techniques to help bring people further through the buyer’s journey to becoming an actual client.
Is all about helping those in your pipeline become promoters FOR you.
To run effective inbound marketing campaigns for ourselves and our clients, we use a software called HubSpot.
If you are looking for something new to try for your own business, inbound marketing is the way to go. Don’t overlook it. It will change the way your company generates leads.