For the most part, marketing is a relatively simple idea. We develop a product, identify the audience, and then sell it to them based on the benefits it provides. The way we usually do this is through advertising methods like radio, newspaper, and television.
But, I challenge you to think about this scenario for just a minute. Your customers are sitting in their living room enjoying a show, when your ad suddenly interrupts them right in the middle of doing something that they enjoy. Not cool, right? We all know from experience that this type of advertising is annoying, and generally not very effective. Seriously, when is the last time a TV ad caused you to jump up and run to the telephone?
The point is that by interrupting our customers with push marketing, we are doing the exact type of marketing that we hate. And, we are taking the gamble that they will be interested in buying our product at the very moment and place in which the ad appears. Obviously, this is not an ideal scenario for anyone.
Content marketing is a type of marketing that looks to solve this problem. Rather than going to the customer with advertising based on continuous interruptions, content marketing brings customers to you by creating and distributing relevant and valuable content. With content marketing, you are looking to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience that will be highly likely to turn into a profitable consumer interaction.
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling to them. Rather than pitching your products or services by interrupting them, you deliver information that helps them in some way. Content marketing is built on the belief that if you provide ongoing valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
Another way to look at content marketing is inbound v.s. outbound. Content marketing is inbound, which means that its primary goal is to bring customers to you through value-driven content. Outbound marketing is where your message goes out into the world hoping to happenstance across one of your prospects.
Inbound marketing looks more like a blog, PDF, or a social media profile. Outbound looks a lot like a direct mail postcard that immediately gets crumpled up and thrown away. In today’s market, inbound success is sky rocking because it costs less, and because it is more likely to convert viewers into loyal fans. You see, outbound usually focuses on a onetime sale, where inbound is far more focused on long-term loyalty.
A few facts about Outbound vs. Inbound
- 44% of direct mail is never opened. That’s a waste of time, postage and paper.
- 86% of people skip through television commercials.
- 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.”
- The cost per lead in outbound marketing is more than for inbound marketing.
The big question is: Why should you use outbound techniques to ‘buy’ one time sales when consumers aren’t even paying attention? Wouldn’t your time and money be better spent developing a long term relationship with customers that are already paying attention to what you do?
For many of us, the answer to that question is pretty simple. Smart businesses are investing the time and energy into better marketing techniques now, because they know it will pay off in the long term. Developing content that your organization can give away can be a challenging prospect, but a true assest in the long term.
For more tips on building a content strategy of your own, read up on promoting with a purpose – creating value for your customers.
This post is excerpt from Todaymade’s 20-part Social Media Marketing Training Course, a one-on-one training system for your business or organization. You can learn more about our training here.