In content marketing pretty much everything we write has the central aim of obtaining and developing leads. But transforming a prospect into a definite, interested lead isn’t easy, particularly when B2B customers have become increasingly cynical about any form of advertising or paid media. A recent study by contentplus.co.uk found that 70% of business decision makers prefer to get company information from an article rather than an ad.
There’s a great quote by Benjamin Franklin: “A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” Which we think is as true for marketing as it is to the insect population!
Metaphorically speaking, if you think of your customers as flies, your advertising copy as vinegar and your inbound content as honey – you might see where we are going with this. Let us explain…
The vinegar trapOutbound activities such as emails, direct mail pieces and paid advertising can help build awareness for brands and products. However they can leave a sour taste in your prospects’ mouths: too much of it and they’ll start to become hardened to your messaging. Choosing to go down the outbound route could actually lead to the ‘flies’ buzzing off elsewhere or avoiding companies altogether.
Just a spoonful of honey helps the content go down. Clever inbound strategies can give customers what they want and attract them to a brand without beating them over the head with a big stick. Utilising your existing content and your copywriting capabilities to ‘tell’ not ‘sell’ is becoming increasingly popular in the B2B world. Here’s a great little table (courtesy of Hubspot.co.uk) to show you the difference between ‘honey’ and ‘vinegar’
|Print advertising||Blogs, eBooks, white papers|
|Television advertising||Viral and information videos (hosted on your site and YouTube etc.)|
|Email blasts||Feeds, newsletters, RSS|
The right mix some companies just use inbound strategies and they’re successful at it. Yet we believe that when you use outbound in the right way – a well-crafted (both in design and content) direct mail piece, an interesting trade show stand or a short cold call campaign, you can get results. Developing plans that have a dash of vinegar and a glob of honey will really help to elevate your brand.
Honey’s sweeter, but harder to get rightOften marketers are wary of inbound, they think it means having to spend a lot of time writing stuff that nobody reads and tinkering with social media. Yes, you probably need to create (or find someone to create) content that attracts people to you, such as blog posts, videos and guides. But without these you could be missing out on a lot of leads – in fact, a study in B2B Marketing found that a regular blogging spot (of up to 15 posts per month) can increase traffic fivefold.
Creating inbound collateral also means you have a steady stream of content coming from your site. This will push you up in SEO results – particularly if you ensure that all the metadata and tags are present and correct. Plus, the very nature of inbound makes it more cost-effective – think about how much time, effort and money it takes to produce a direct mail piece – then, think about how long it takes to produce a blog article. Measure for measure, the ROI you receive from an interesting blog post could far outweigh the ROI of an email blast, a prime-time advertising spot or by posting a flyer.
We definitely suggest investing in a little time and effort to create a little honey. When you see how many flies you’ll catch – you’ll know it’s all been worth it.
What are your thoughts on inbound vs outbound? Let us and our readers know, below.