People who talk about brand development usually don’t understand the power of inbound marketing or the concept that marketing’s main goal is not about the brand, but rather lead generation and revenue.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that keeping a brand consistent and having one that perfectly tells your story is important. But, I’m ready to graduate away from marketing that “gets your name out there” and into marketing that drives revenue.
For all of you who still want to talk about your brand, no worries. Today, I have three ways in which outbound and old-school marketing tactics are actually killing your brand, plus three ways in which inbound marketing tactics have the potential to elevate your brand to new and powerful heights.
Here are the three outbound tactics still in play today that are killing your brand.
You pick up the phone in your office, and on the other end, someone launches into a script. How do you feel? Good? Great? Bad? Yep, bad. Someone interrupted you with an uninvited call. Now, you have to either be rude and hang up or let the caller run through the script until he or she is finished, at which point you try to end the call as quickly as possible.
This is what happens when you use cold calling. It can’t be good for your brand, right? It's actually horrible. If you’re lucky, the person listening to the call never really heard the name of your company. If you’re unlucky, that person did hear it and won’t ever be doing business with you. Now, how many cold calls did your company make last month? 100? 1,000? More? Just stop.
Obviously, this isn’t as interruptive as cold calling, but it’s close. How do you feel when you’re standing over your trash can, throwing postcard after postcard and letter after letter into the recycling bin? Again, if they're lucky, you might not think anything of the companies sending you this stuff. Or, you might look at the names and think, "Why is this company mailing this to me? I never asked for it, and I’m not interested. I wish they would just stop." How many postcards, letters or other items did you mail out last month? 10,000? 100,000? More? Stop now.
If anyone can tell me about a trade show for which there are more attendees today than there were five years ago, please let me know. Comdex, South By Southwest and Inbound don’t count, so keep looking. Regardless, you drop $10,000 to $20,000 to be at the show, and this only includes your little 10x10 booth. By the time you get done with travel, entertainment, time out of the office and booth logistics, that price is even higher.
Finally, you have attendees coming to your booth. Are your people trained? Are they engaging? Are they giving away junk in the hopes of simply getting a card or ID swipe? How brand-building is that experience? You don’t have to answer that. What about after the show? Are you following up with every single lead? Are you turning any of those into new customers? You don’t have to answer that either.
Now, here are three inbound marketing tactics that are building your brand up.
Educational Content Creation
Instead of pouring money into cold calling, you start creating educational content that answers your prospects' most burning questions. You publish something new every single month. You share it with your entire community of customers, prospects, partners and friends. People read it, share it, talk about it and use it to position you within their own organizations. Better yet, they feel connected to your company. They feel like you understand their challenges and you just might have the solutions to help them. Does this sound like brand-building? It does to me.
Blogging On Your Site And Outside Sites
When it comes to positive impact on your brand, blogging and guest blogging are unmatched. First, blog articles are usually thought-leading. They have an opinion, a perspective. They’re educational and are written in a casual, conversational tone. These articles give people a chance to get to know you, your company and your company’s position on industry topics. In addition to being one of the best ways to get found, blogging gives you the ability to build a number of positive brand attributes day in and day out.
Today, a lot of clients are finding that social is bringing as many new visitors to their websites as organic search, if not more. That means people are looking for information on your company via your social media properties. This is great news. Now you can build your brand right on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Post pictures, start conversations, engage your prospects for their opinions, post educational information and tell your stories. For a very modest investment, you can touch a lot of people and help create all the brand attributes that are important to your company.
Look, I know not everyone is ready to dump the marketing tactics they’ve been using for years and start executing inbound, especially when they’ve never done some of the new tactics before. I get it. But, take some time to really look back at the results you’ve been getting from those three outbound tactics. Seriously evaluate how your brand is impacted by those tired and outdated efforts.
Then, look at how someone might feel about your brand if he or she read a new e-book, was part of a conversation on social or saw a thought-provoking blog on a community site.
Maybe you’re closer to an inbound marketing program than you originally thought?
Start Today Tip – Pull some numbers. How much money did you invest in your last trade show, and what did you actually get out of it from a revenue perspective? How many good leads did you actually generate? Do the same for cold calling and direct mail. There's probably a bunch of other outdated tactics that might not be performing as you’d like. The numbers tell it all. The good news: There are alternatives that cost less and deliver more real leads to the business. Start investigating today!
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