The internet has not only revolutionised how we buy things, it has also changed the way products and services are marketed to consumers.

However, far too many business owners are still too dependant on increasingly inefficient marketing methods such as telesales, classified ads and printed flyers.  As more and more business is transacted online, these methods frequently just don’t work as well as they did in the past.

These inefficient methods tend to require businesses to push their message ‘out’, earning them the name ‘outbound marketing’. This form of marketing involves distribute your message out to as many people as possible, in the hope that potential customers out there will receive it.

Outbound Marketing is becoming less and less effective

The problem with that strategy is that outbound marketing is becoming less and less effective, partially as a result in the use of the internet. Instead a new form of marketing has emerged. It is called inbound marketing and although people have been using inbound marketing techniques for almost 20 years as outbound marketing has become increasingly ineffective, inbound marketing has increased in importance.

Table: Outbound marketing and inbound marketing compared

Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing

Cold-calling

Direct mail

Printed flyers

Radio and TV advertising

Telephone marketing

Traditional advertising
Trade shows
Seminar series

Unsolicited emails (spam)

Blogs

Content marketing

eBooks

eMail newsletters

Physical products

Podcasts

SEO

Social media marketing

Video

Whitepapers

Inbound marketing involves attracting and earning people’s interest online, instead of paying money to attract their attention. It is a powerful formula because customers are more likely to buy from people that they know, like and trust and inbound marketing methods can achieve all that and more.

The problems with hiring Inbound Marketing services

There are 3 things that you need to know about inbound marketing before we go any further:

Cost – expect to pay a minimum of £200 – £300 per week for the services of a reliable and professional inbound marketing service. This is possibly less than the cost of a full page weekly ad in your local newspaper, but it is still a significant sum;

Speed – inbound marketing requires a long term investment as it takes time to generate results. If you need website traffic urgently you should consider paid traffic options such as Google AdWords or BingAds;

Guaranteed results – there are unscrupulous web design firms that will promise that their Inbound Marketing techniques guarantee you first page search engine rankings. These companies will fail to deliver on that promise. Be very wary of companies making these sorts of claims as ranking consistently well over weeks and months will be both challenging and expensive (and almost impossible in the most competitive niches) unless you are operating in a small local niche or your product or service is unique;

Two questions you need to answer before hiring a SEO company to manage your Inbound Marketing

If your company has a website but it is not using inbound marketing techniques then there are two questions you need to answer. The first is are you prepared to see inbound marketing as a long term investment. If you are in urgent need of website traffic/ leads this might not be the best strategy as inbound marketing takes months of effort before it begins to be effective. The other is that inbound marketing is not cheap, so do you have a budget of £1,000, or more, each month, to invest in this form of marketing? It is only when you can confidently answer yes to both of these questions that you should consider hiring a SEO company to help with your Inbound Marketing.

“Make Me Local have made me social and I couldn’t be happier. Whilst they do all the hard work they make you feel involved, which is important to our business. Their expertise, knowledge and level of service is amazing but the real bonus is just how friendly, knowledgeable and patient they are! It’s Twitter without the Twit!”
Rhys Jones - Blueberry Pictures

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