Jason Falls will be conducting a workshop at the 2017 CEDIA® Business Xchange. Here's a preview.
Whether your home technology business is large or small, there are three ways you attract customers. Understanding just what kind of business you own helps you optimize how you approach everything from sales to customer service – in other words, your marketing.
In terms of marketing, your business can be classified as:
1. A Relationship Marketing Business
2. An Outbound Marketing Business
3. An Inbound Marketing Business
These classifications aren’t mutually exclusive – your marketing can feature elements of each and the most successful businesses certainly do – but grasping where you are on the continuum of each is critical to understanding where you spend your marketing resources. A Relationship Marketing Business
Most small businesses begin by selling to people they know or capitalizing on recommendations and referrals from people they know. This is a Relationship Marketing Business. You don’t rely on advertising much, but likely dabble in some sponsorships and business networking groups. You know most of your customers personally (or can immediately trace who referred them to you).
This type of business doesn’t need a robust marketing staff, sales people, or fancy software or campaigns to be successful. But this type of marketing only goes so far. At some point you reach your relationship limit and need more. An Outbound Marketing Business
When relationships run dry, most small businesses turn to advertising to create more awareness that presumably drives people to consider their business. One can support the local sports teams, buy into a direct mail program or even do some advertising on a local radio station or in the local newspaper. This type of proactive outreach and sales is called Outbound Marketing.
This type of business needs someone to focus a lot of their attention on marketing (and perhaps sales) because you need to create resources and manage media buys. Plus, you need to know you’re getting something in return for those investments. An Inbound Marketing Business
The Inbound Marketing Business is a newer type of marketing. Also referred to as a lead-generation business, Inbound Marketing means a business provides something of value to its prospective customers in exchange for that customer’s permission to market to them.
The term “Inbound” comes from the notion that people are looking for resources, answers and solutions online.If you’re providing that content, they’ll come to you rather than you going to them.
In today’s consumer-driven and digital-first environment, Inbound Marketing Businesses typically see better ROI.
Perhaps you write blog posts, post YouTube videos or even prepare home entertainment optimization tips in a downloadable flyer on your website. But to get the content, people have to connect with you or hear your marketing message as an integral part of the content.
The Inbound Marketing Business requires staff and resources devoted to creating content compelling enough for prospects to give you their contact information. It also requires a certain amount of effort to measure what works and what doesn’t so you can continually optimize what you’re doing. But it may not require as much financial commitment as Outbound Marketing. What Type of Marketer Are You?
So which type of business is yours – or has your firm blended these different approaches? In today’s consumer-driven and digital-first environment, Inbound Marketing Businesses typically see better ROI. And you would be surprised how simple it is to evolve from Relationship Marketing to Inbound Marketing.
Think of it this way: How many customer questions do you answer every day? Whether it’s in person or via email, probably at least a dozen or so, right? Tomorrow, write them all down – then either post the questions and answerson your blog or Facebook page or pull out your phone and answer the question on video and post to those social channels.
Congratulations! You just moved from Relationship Marketing to the beginnings of Inbound Marketing.
We’ll dive deeper into these types of businesses – and how simple they are to explore – at the CEDIA Business XChange in March. See you in San Antonio!
Register for the CEDIA Business Xchange here
About the author:
Jason Falls is a pioneer in online content marketing and has been named by Forbes as a “Top 10 Business Leader to Follow.” He’ll be presenting a workshop at the 2017 CEDIA Business Xchange entitled “Moving Beyond Referrals to Lead Generation.”