Traditional marketing methods such as broadcast emails, magazine, radio and TV ads, and web banners are fast losing their appeal.
They are expensive as compared to other methods. And we ignore those ads, fast forward past TV ads on our DVRs, buy advertising free radio, use sophisticated spam filters and caller ID, and delete most broadcast emails.
We walk through exhibit halls and rarely remember escalator ads, wall ads and other forms of screaming logos. In fact, research shows that most traditional advertisements don’t cause attitude and behavior change.
Getting Found Instead Of Finding Customers
So how does an organization attract new customers? How do they get repeat business if the traditional methods don’t work?
We have to get smarter about it! We have to change the way we think and approach lead generation. We must think in terms of getting found instead of finding customers.
People are still searching for solutions to their problems. They are still buying products and services. They are still trying new things. They have just changed how they go about doing it.
In order to get found by potential customers, you must put yourself in the path of people looking for your type of products and services. You start by creating a robust and ever changing online presence. Then you create spokes from that presence that allows both online and offline people to find you.
What’s great about this approach is that the leads and referrals are usually of higher quality and willing to pay premium fees. These people have consumed your content and education. They recognize you as a leader in your field.
Lighting Candles On Dark Paths
John Jantsch says, “Think of it [this process] as lighting candles along dark paths so weary travelers can discover you in the dark.”
Those candles represent the helpful information and content that you share in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They represent the free white papers and reports that you distribute via your web hub. They represent the daily education content that readers have grown to value and love on your blog. They represent the magazine articles that you write that provide useful, relevant information and highlight your expertise and experience. They are your free Webinars where like minded individuals gather to learn and discuss your content. They are your presentations that provide relevant, practical takeaways for your participants. They are your online community gathering spaces where you answer questions, share experiences and tell stories that guide others.
You can no longer take out an ad, send an email, and start working the phones. You have to provide a well lit online path where customers can find you. You have to lure them to you with valuable, useful, helpful information.
Some call these strategies inbound marketing, pull methods and content marketing. Regardless the type of organization, it’s time for you to employ these strategies and become a beacon of light to weary customers.
What types of inbound marketing methods have been successful for you? What types of content marketing appeal to you?