To get the full picture of the beauty and origin of inbound marketing, let’s have a quick look at what used to occupy its place before. That’s right, it was the ‘traditional,’ often referred to as ‘interruptive,’ ‘push’ or ‘outbound’ approach to sales, constituting promotional strategies created before the Internet came about. As we all know, conventional sales techniques attempted to reach out to customers through traditional means -- including radio, television, print, cold calling, and email -- by focusing on the one and only premise: to make people buy. Even though these old-fashioned marketing tactics may still be effective today, they come with numerous significant drawbacks.
To begin with, from the company’s perspective, traditional sales tools are expensive and purchasing advertising for radio, television, or print may be costly. Furthermore, the relationship between the brand and the customer is a one-way street - simply put: receiving feedback or response isn’t a priority and consumers have no say. Indeed, the philosophy behind this model of communication is to disseminate the ‘message’ (or product) as much as possible for it to be bought by the potential customer. Bombarding consumers’ inboxes with automatic and one-size-fits-all emails -- which often causes frustration -- is a case in point. Last but not least, since traditional marketing’s audience are widescale, measuring results such as conversion rates and ROI becomes very challenging.
Solving sales problems with inbound marketing
Times, however, have drastically changed. Consumers started to be aware of companies’ tricks and intentions. They have grown more cautious, tending to gather their own information about the product or service they are interested in and favoring the use of reviews. And when the days when shiny ads capturing people’s attention were finally gone, inbound marketing dawned.
Inbound marketing is opposing to traditional marketing approach. Its goal is to create specific content, targeting customers and attempting to raise curiosity and awareness of the brand, perhaps gain customers’ loyalty in the process. Since customers started paying attention to great web content, brands began creating and telling their stories via various interactive approaches to enhance the consumer experience.
Up until now, it seems that inbound is the only viable solution to the sales problems that previous sales tools couldn’t fix. Firstly, unlike traditional approaches to sales, inbound strategies have been enabling businesses to generate their content either for little cost or free of charge. This may be represented through Facebook. Easy and quick to engage in, the social network provides hundreds of opportunities to brand companies’ products and engage regular and new customers. Secondly, and most importantly, inbound attempts to employ a two-way communication model between provider and consumer which is growing more significant in the business world.
Nowadays, hundreds of prominent brands invite their customers to an ongoing dialogue about their needs and desires, which contributes to developing direct and long-term relationships with customers. Finally, another benefit that must be taken into consideration is the fact that results are much more trackable. Now brands can identify and study their demographics, and, as a result, reach out to their target audiences easier than they were able to in the past.
“Talk with” instead of “Talk to”
Inbound has opened our eyes to the fact that the more we progress through the age of increasingly wised-up customers, the more we realize that they don’t want to be ‘talked to’ but instead, they want to be ‘talked with’. Pushing sales messages out isn’t the case to succeed any longer, we’ve realized that the point is to do the opposite, to offer our customers the opportunity to chat with us. Customers demand attention and value, they want their buying journey to be nurtured and they want to feel appreciated. One of the ways that brands can achieve this today is by being there for their customers, being available to communicate with them one-on-one through the channel they use most.
Many successful businesses today understand the importance of being present in a place where customers are, and of course, put their best foot forward. You’ve probably already guessed what this is referring to. Yes, messengers. This is because messaging has become a significant part of almost every individual’s daily life to the point that it has transformed the way everyone communicates across the globe. In terms of inbound marketing, we may claim that it’s also a free, easy to use, two-way communication and of course may be very engaging.
Messaging apps have already started improving customer service, enhances engagement and sales. In case you’re still doubting that chat apps are already revolutionizing the business world, or would like to discover how to interact with customers via messaging apps, or simply learn everything about Messenger-Based Sales, then you should check out our book Delivered for free.
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