When business owners decide to make a push towards serious online marketing, they’re faced with a plethora of choices. Do they market aggressively or passively? Buy ads or engage in search engine optimization? While any marketing strategy can work in the right circumstances, the nature of online business strongly favors passive options like search marketing.
“Inbound” Versus “Outbound” Marketing
Today, old-school marketers are finally catching on to the tremendous opportunities for advertising and marketing available online. They’ve divided up the online marketing world into two general spheres, called “inbound” and “outbound” marketing. The difference is in the approach a marketer takes. “Inbound” marketing is all about offering maximum utility to the ideal customer and trusting that the customer will come to the marketer. In contrast, “outbound” marketing is more of a hard sell – it involves aggressively pursuing the maximum number of customers and convincing as many of them as possible to commit to a purchase. While both approaches have their merits, online strategies like search engine marketing are particularly suited to an “inbound” marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization And Other Inbound Tactics
In the online arena, inbound marketing is all about maximizing visibility. Search engine optimization is one of the key ways to do this. Simply put, SEO is the process of tweaking a website’s content and structure to ensure that it is particularly noteworthy to search engines when potential visitors run searches for particular keywords. With well-chosen keywords and good SEO, any website can ensure that it lands close to the top of the search engine results page. Of course, a website that converts all of this added search exposure into paying customers needs to be both useful and memorable. This is why savvy “inbound” marketers do their best to generate quality content and encourage repeat visits.
Why “Passive” Marketing Makes Sense
Passive marketing techniques like those used in the “inbound” strategy can feel unproductive, especially to marketers who are used to a harder approach. On the Internet, though, going passive is a great choice. Competition is inevitable in all sorts of business, and it can get particularly cutthroat online. Online businesses are, by their very natures, contending in a global marketplace. An aggressive marketing stance requires constant vigilance, with active advertising and sales campaigns. These efforts must be constantly rotated to prevent them from becoming stale. In contrast, a passive campaign is relatively low-maintenance. While it requires tweaking and upkeep, the overall investment is minimal.
Centralized Efforts Lead To Efficiency
Employing an active, “outbound” marketing strategy online requires a lot of networking. Ads must be placed with other websites, leads must be generated and pursued, and trends and changes must be tracked constantly. If a marketer casts a wide net with this strategy, he or she will soon run into places where the marketing message must be adjusted to work in the particular place it is deployed. It doesn’t take too many different special cases to rapidly overwhelm a single marketer. This means that an “outbound” strategy is limited to a certain size by the total amount of resources available to it. In contrast, the consistent, on-site focus of an “inbound” campaign is much less labor-intensive. As it’s refined and perfected, there are few limits to its total reach.
Flying Solo Maximizes Profits
There’s another way that the centralized nature of “inbound” marketing suits the online marketplace: Minimal profit-sharing. So many of the basic tools of “outbound” marketing require partnership arrangements that they add significant (possibly overwhelming) complexity to all but the most modest of campaigns. Placing ads and signing partners requires a constant outflow of money. Part of the active monitoring required by “outbound” marketing techniques is a constant cost-benefit analysis to ensure that various agreements are still earning their keep. There is no need to worry about this balance with an “inbound” strategy – and no need to split profits with a horde of partners and associates!
It’s certainly possible to get good results from online marketing employing active, “outbound” techniques. However, “inbound,” passive marketing is surprisingly powerful on the Internet. It’s particularly well suited to the limited marketing resources of small businesses. Together with the global reach of Internet commerce, “inbound” marketing offers a great way to get big results from modest efforts.