Since marketers first flopped onto land, the art of attracting customers and building market share has been an evolving one.
What used to be the norm for marketers—practices such as outbound calling and even mass mailings—are the great lumbering dinosaurs of the digital age. They’ve been replaced by e-mail, social media and, in recent years, mobile marketing. If you’re still dialing up customers with your rotary phone while getting your shoes shined at the Five and Dime, you’re way behind the times.
In that spirit, the always entertaining HubSpot crafted an article with three tips from Charles Darwin, the famous biologist who crafted the theory of survival of the fittest. Like the Galapagos finch he so intently studied, you’ve got to evolve a different shaped marketing beak to ferret out the delicious customers hiding in the nooks and crannies of your particular island.
That metaphor might have gone astray. Regardless, let’s tackle the tips.
- Remember your buyers evolve, too. You’re not selling to a user base that particularly enjoys being spammed to death. In fact, HubSpot suggests that your customers hate being swamped with jargon and irrelevant e-mails. What a surprise.Instead, what customers want is information, when and how they want it. That’s where blogging and social media come in. You can post or link to valuable information and consumers can digest it as they want. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your company’s name in there or links back to your website, but it means you’re not shoving it in their faces. In today’s environment, that’s basically a no-no. We covered that topic on BizEngine in February.
- Outbound marketing is a fossil. In keeping with the spirit of not smashing your message in customers’ faces, it’s becoming increasingly clear that outbound marketing is dying. HubSpot shows that decline by noting research that more and more customers are leaving websites because of intrusive or obnoxious advertising, and fewer businesses are investing the money in trade shows each year.What to take away from this? You don’t have to kill all your outbound efforts, but your company needs to recognize the changing landscape and begin shifting your efforts. As consumer patience wanes, so too does your chances of reaching them effectively with methods they find outdated or annoying. Social media is the flavor of the moment, and it’s time to evolve opposable thumbs and start working with those platforms.
- Companies are doing better with inbound. HubSpot points out that for many companies, switching to inbound is saving money and generating traffic. The key is to provide something of value to your customers, no easy proposition for a department full of traditional marketers. But the shift has to happen.Patience is needed to make a major change, but your company needs to retain a sense of urgency about building content. Ask yourself what your customers want. Is it advice for how to save money or use your products? If it is, tailor your blog posts and website help pages around that, and Tweet and Facebook links from other sources that offer that kind of advice. The first thought in your mind at all times should how to slowly but surely evolve your marketing model to fit what customers are looking for.After all, it worked for the Galapagos finches.
Are you using inbound marketing, or thinking about it? Tell us about your experiences!
Photo credit to Gabriela Ruellan at http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Cyanocorax