Reason #2 - Outbound Strategies are Less Effective
This article focuses on the 2nd reason listed in Inc.com's 10 Reasons Inbound Marketing is Necessary in 2016. Outbound strategies are not as effective as inbound.
A few years ago, we could rely on techniques like e-blasts, cold calls, and flyers. It was relatively easy to create an outbound message that grabbed the attention of a target audience. In the past people weren't as wary of sales efforts as they are today. Because they are constantly disrupted by outbound sales efforts, people seldom return cold calls and seek to eliminate unnecessary or irrelevant information immediately from their inbox. Also, many marketing-related emails never reach their intended target because of spam filters. In the development of filters to eliminate emails about physical enhancement medications, many important and desired emails are also sucked into a black hole.
For example, this year I have been involved in marketing the Society of Marketing Professionals Services' (SMPS) 2016 Pacific Regional Conference. Located in sunny Palm Springs, California, we had expected registrations to exceed those from the previous year's conference in Seattle. However, we ended up being just short of 2015's registration number. Members of the Planning Committee wanted to find out why, so they contacted several of the conference's regular attendees whose absence this year was noted.
The most common reason was that they didn't know about the conference. They had received none of the 30+ emails sent to our mailing list announcing the conference, providing updates, and highlighting events. I'm not surprised because mine is one of the email addresses that blocks almost every message sent by SMPS.
According to Reason #2 from Inc.com's recently published article, 10 Reasons Inbound Marketing is Necessary in 2016, outbound strategies just aren't as effective today as they were even five years ago. People receive so many messages that they automatically dismiss all messages except for those sent by someone they know, describes a topic they are interested in, or relates to their "real work".
On a normal day I receive over 200 emails into my business and private email accounts. Most of these are from friends, groups, Google alerts, or service providers whose feed I have subscribed to receive. However, with so many entities sending emails daily, or multiple times per day, I read only a fraction of what I receive. And I'm one of the rare people who really like to read. I know many firm leaders who are so numb to email that they won't read anything they don't identify as being directly relevant to their daily work.
In order to help those of us mired in oceans of email, sorting services are popping up in recent versions of Outlook. Messages now arrive into either my "focused" or "other" folders in my mobile in-box. "Clutter" started sending me messages a couple months ago listing those emails it has determined to be unimportant to me. I now have messages automatically forwarded, filed, declared junk, or trapped in my spam filter. I wish there was one that would make sure I never missed a client message.
The digital alternative to the "my dog ate my homework" excuse is "your spam filter deleted my response."
When firms, agencies, associations, or individuals focus on inbound marketing strategies, their odds of being noticed increase significantly. Inbound offers a variety of new, effective techniques that can help AEC firms grow and become more profitable. With inbound you can start conversations, promote long-term growth, turn cold leads into warm ones, create a digital body of knowledge that demonstrates expertise, built trust, save time, and even spend less money.
To reach more people, organizations need to rely more on inbound marketing. The challenge for many groups, especially those that rely predominantly on over-worked team members to handle their marketing efforts, is to effectively integrate new inbound and social marketing strategies. This requires integrating social media, webinars, ebooks, videos, newsletters, research studies, and other tools into their marketing mix. This is important for attracting prospects as well as keeping existing clients informed.
Organizations like the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), that specialize in inbound, content-oriented marketing strategies, are reaching new audiences and growing substantially. However, in industries that have been slower to adopt inbound strategies, like the AEC industry, 2016 could mark a turning point because what worked before, simply doesn't work today. It is time for change.
Note from The Goose
Want to learn more about how your firm can implement inbound strategies?
DB Creative Communications is a consulting firm specializing in content marketing strategies that will elevate you, your team members and/or firm into a visible leader. Deborah Briers, CPSM, MBA, provides insight, content and a plan for implementing inbound marketing strategies that focus on delivering client benefits, not generic services.
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DEBORAH BRIERS, CPSM, MBA