If You’re Thinking Outbound Still Works, Think Again
I get it. I’m an extremist when it comes to inbound marketing. Every day, I reiterate why interruptive, outbound marketing sucks and why strategic, inbound marketing is the way to go.
So, I must have an agenda. I want you to buy inbound services from our agency, right?
Well, what if I’m correct? What if there comes a day when all you do is inbound? Then what?
What if all of your cold calling, direct mail, pay per click, print ad and trade show efforts start to deteriorate at such a dramatic rate that you’re left with no way to connect with prospects? And what if that day is tomorrow, not five years down the road?
Here are some alarming data points to consider if you still think outbound is going to get you to your goals.This data is courtesy of TapInfluence:
- 198 million people globally are now using ad-blocking software.
- Standard banner ad click-through rates have dropped to .12% across all platforms.
- Mobile banner ad click-through rates are only at .14%.
- Ad blocking as an industry grew 41% last year. (Check out the app store on either Apple or Android devices, and see the huge collection of free and paid ad blockers for mobile phones.)
- 56% of the display ads are NEVER seen by humans, yet people pay for these ads anyway.
- The result is a projected $10.7 billion in lost or wasted ad revenue for 2015 alone.
Your Prospective Customers Don't Want To Be Interrupted
Friends, you can no longer rely on marketing strategies that involve forcing your way into your prospects’ world. And if you continue to try this route, you’ll accelerate the waste of your precious marketing dollars and ruin your prospects’ perception of your brand.
Again, don’t take my word for it ...
As some of you may be aware, fantasy football is a huge industry today, and the daily fantasy leagues (where you join tournaments or compete against others for the best score and a chance to win money) have invested millions to interrupt us online, on the radio and on TV. Now, they’re feeling the heat. The Wall Street Journal ran this article last week, highlighting the backlash.
Between the two big guys in the field, they’ve spent $150 million in TV and Internet advertising over just the first few weeks of the NFL season. They’re flush with VC-backed money and spending like sailors on a weekend shore leave. The executives say it’s working, but do they really know?
It's possible that the novelty of betting on fantasy football, the site experience itself and the thrill of winning would be enough to drive the same or similar growth with half the investment – but how would they know that? The fact is they don’t know. And maybe they don’t care. They have the money, so why not spend it in such a competitive industry? After all, who’s going to suggest any alternatives? The ad agency? No. The sites selling the banner advertising? No. The TV networks? No.
In fact, the media companies desperately need this revenue. As the article mentions, it's helping them fill the gap caused by steadily declining advertising revenues.
It's Unnecessary To Waste Money On Marketing That Doesn't Get Seen
John Wanamaker, a fellow Philly boy, is well known to have said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” He said that in the early 1900s. It’s a little scary that this industry that has made so little progress in over 100 years.
Fortunately, if you’ve been following this blog and you understand inbound, you know there is a movement to quantify all aspects of marketing and sales. This movement is almost primarily focused on small to medium-sized businesses that have had to be more diligent about what they spend and where they spend it. Still, there’s no reason why bigger businesses couldn’t adopt the same prospect-friendly marketing philosophy.
Stop interrupting me while I try to watch football, listen to a sports talk show or update my fantasy lineup. Why not earn my attention instead of renting it from the TV, radio or website companies? Is this such a novel idea? As a prospective customer, I’m much more likely to buy from a company that's working hard to earn my trust by helping me, and a lot less likely to consider one that's constantly yelling at me to buy from them.
Worse yet, I’ve become so annoyed with the abundance of advertising that I’m blind to these ads and doing everything in my power to get away from them. This includes changing the station (which hurts the media outlets in the long run) and actively becoming part of the ad-blocker nation. I already run Ad Blocker on my Chrome browser, and I’ve recently downloaded an ad blocker on my phone.
There Are Inbound Marketing Options For Outbound Marketing Companies
I’m about solutions, too, not just criticizing an overzealous advertiser or two. So, here are a couple of inbound-oriented marketing tactics that would cost a fraction of what this massive advertising effort does.
Refer A Friend – Whom do I trust the most? My friends and family. If someone I know told me about these fantasy football betting sites, I’d be much more likely to check them out. And if my referrer and I got an incentive for joining, I’d be much more likely to convert. Higher conversion rates for less money? Sounds like a plan.
Email Marketing And Lead Nurturing – Maybe this is already being done; I’m not saying it isn't. But, instead of marketing to everyone, target those people who have actually visited your site. Give them an offer beyond "play for free" or "matching dollars in your account." Offer a guide or special player evaluations to help them with the more traditional fantasy football games. Once you have their email addresses and they’ve opted into hearing from you, they shouldn’t be upset if you start emailing them, assuming you do it on a reasonable schedule: weekly, not four times a day.
Help And Educate (Instead Of Selling) – Somehow (I actually do know how), these two companies have found their way into my social media streams, further interrupting my feed of pics and posts. I know marketers ruin everything, but can’t we try to refrain ourselves from ruining social media, too? Instead of selling me on the service, help me with my own fantasy teams. I get it, I’m the perfect prospect, but if you help me win my games, I'll be more likely to return the favor and visit your site or try it out once or twice.
Does this focus on “earning my attention” take more time and require more planning than the “interruption" angle? Yes. Can you run both simultaneously to reduce waste? Yes. Does inbound provide a better and more positive long-term experience for your prospects? Definitely! So, before you get your checkbook out and start buying people's attention, take a breath. Consider how you might earn that attention instead of interrupting prospects so many times that they can’t possibly not know you.
Start Today Tip – Just take a beat. No matter what you have planned for your marketing and sales strategy going into the fourth quarter of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, now is the time to at least investigate other options. There are more inbound marketing, inbound sales and pure inbound agencies and experts than ever before. These people and organizations are better equipped to evaluate your goals, recommend inbound programs and commit to very specific, quantifiable measures of success. It’s worth a conversation, right?
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