Marketing used to be simple. There was a set pattern to follow, and as long as you went with the flow, you’d get the business. In 2013, the marketing tactics of yesteryear just aren’t working anymore. Inbound marketing is quickly becoming the industry standard, and traditional methods don’t deliver results. So, what has changed? And more importantly, how has it changed? Why don’t the proven tactics work? Let’s take a look at a few specific marketing types.
Advertising and Promotion
Traditional methods of advertising and promotion, whether print, radio, television, outdoor or even the early days of digital, all had a single focus: to "push" information at consumers in an effort to convince them to buy.
With the arrival of an interactive World Wide Web that enables user customization of just about everything, consumers no longer accept being bombarded with sales information. They’ve declared, "Enough!” and slam the door on anything they don’t actively choose to view.
With inbound marketing, you are pulling consumers in with your information instead of pushing the information out to them. To draw customers in, you have to use integrated platforms such as:
- A carefully-planned marketing strategy with a pre-determined ROI
- A website optimized for SEO that uses Internet best practices
- Active social media profiles
- Regular publication of fresh, quality content such as interesting blog posts
- Tracking of website traffic stats
If you’re now looking for effective ways to promote your business, you have to find out what consumers want and give it to them.
Trade shows used to be one of the most reliable ways to generate sales leads. In recent years, however, these events have witnessed problems like declining attendance, an increase in the number of shows that target the same audiences, outrageous registration fees and staffing issues.
It’s possible to make trade shows work, but you have to change up how you participate in them. Ways to do this include harnessing the power of the digital age to:
- Make the trade show an integral part of your marketing strategy and not just a stand-alone event
- Choose a show that has a tight niche focus
- Shift pre-show marketing to the virtual world by reaching prospective attendees through social media, blogs and community forums
- Pre-qualify visitors to your booth so that you don’t waste time on non-buyers
By setting your objectives for the trade show, you can choose quality over quantity in leads because you will have the information you need to do so.
Cold calling was one of those areas of marketing that worked according to a formula: “The man (or woman) who made the calls got the orders.” There was a 1-in-10 success ratio, so for every 10 calls you made, you could reasonably expect to get one sale.
That's not true any longer. Nowadays, it takes 8.4 attempts to reach a person, with only two percent of calls resulting in a meeting. If a third of the meetings turn out to be sales opportunities, and a quarter of the opportunities result in deals, you’ll have made 1,000 calls to get a single sale.
It’s just so much easier to spend that time creating demand through inbound marketing initiatives:
- Separate the prospecting and selling functions to give each the time and attention they require
- Assign the right resources to each, so that demand creation introduces, engages and nurtures the prospects until they reach the buy stage of the sales funnel
- By sending in the sales staff to close the deal, you can be sure that potentially lucrative deals aren’t lost because a sales person is busy nurturing a “better” lead that might never come to fruition
Marketing by Mail
The modern version of direct mail is called email marketing. It works fairly well if you use it correctly, but the market has abused the option somewhat, and spam has become a big problem. Even when you are sending marketing emails to subscribers who have opted in to get them, you can no longer use the old tactic of bombing your contacts with a huge number of messages.
To make email marketing work for you, it’s necessary to follow certain guidelines for a flawless campaign:
- Create a powerful, distinct subject line for each message
- Personalize every email by using variable fields like the subscriber’s first name
- Keep the content short and provide links to read the rest online
- Include good calls to action so that the reader can easily find out what to do for more information
- Design a user-friendly layout that loads quickly
Don’t use outdated tactics. Find and follow the best practices in online marketing, and you'll see a difference in your success rate.
* Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net