In 2020, 300 million numbers were in the National Do Not Call Registry. These included business phone numbers, yes, you read that right. In the same year, there are over 5 billion active Internet users, and over 4 billion of these people are social media users. Interesting statistics that we will make sense of in this article when it comes to the matters of marketing and what they mean to your SME. What Is Inbound Marketing? It is a business methodology whose main target is to attract customers through the creation of valuable content and experiences that are tailor-made for them. Cold calling, on the other hand, refers to making unsolicited visits or telephone calls to people in an attempt to sell goods or services.
A few quick questions, what is your time worth? What worth do you place on your sales team time? What is the value of the old movie tapes today as compared to Netflix subscriptions? On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the likelihood of a manager having time to pick up their phone to listen to a stranger's spiel? That is in the rare occurrence, is the salesperson getting past the managers' gatekeeper?
Defining Inbound Services
If you have not experienced inbound marketing it's either because you may not necessarily know what it is and if you do but you are not familiar with inbound marketing then you probably just walked out of the world war II caves welcome to 2020 though! Inbound marketing services utilize customers' interests and need to help them through each stage of their buying and product consumption journey. The internet at a glance offers over 5 billion potential customers to your product or service these people can systematically organically reach you through open internet avenues such as Facebook, blogs, and search engines.
Before the world evolved into the era of texting and calling ID, hands down cold calling was a great if not the greatest way of getting leads for any business that existed then. Quick check though, when was the last time you answered a call from a number that you did not recognize? By any chance, you did answer what are the chances you went ahead to go and listen to a marketer introducing some product you were unfamiliar with? Truth is with growth in technology; more and more potential customers do not even pick calls up from unfamiliar numbers. This has led to many organizations investing in cold calling not getting any returns on their investment.
Over 30 million contacts that have blocked any cold calling illustrates how exasperatingly unwelcome cold calls have become over time. On the real, it would take a salesperson made of a mixture of both diamond and solid granite to continue pursuing such a mental beat down daily.
In this conversation, I could shortchange you if I do not discuss in depth the reasons why inbound marketing is winning.
Research by Smartphone Mobility indicated that Americans would rather receive text communication as opposed to phone call communication any day. This was attributed to the nature of Americans being busy with their lives. Americans are screening their phone calls even before receiving calls and are more likely to ignore or even block unfamiliar callers. Further, calling business clients is also with time getting increasingly difficult to take time to navigate operating systems, voicemails, and extensions just to reach one target client. Many Americans prefer not to share their direct lines and most likely share their work email addresses instead. For instance, a manager at a busy company such as Apple may not have sufficient time to read through their work emails and reply and still have time to read a 'cold calling' email.
As the old axiom goes, time is money, in the case of SMEs they surely need to conserve both the time and the money. Considering that an average sales representative makes 9 dials in an hour and consumes up to 6 hours to set up a single appointment, the single appointment may not materialize, cold calling wastes a lot of time. The interview may also take more time to materialize as the marketer is bound by the availability of the prospect. Moreover, the interview is not an assurance of closing a sale. The six hours could as well go to waste. Taking into account the input in terms of energy and resources, and the output in terms of success then an SME using Cold Calling as a means of marketing is wasting both time and money. The global industry statistics indicate that Cold Calling has an average success rate of less than 2% success rate. Successful business people will openly rate that percentage as a success in sales.
Cold Calling is Irritating
Cold calling is typically disruptive in nature. Cold calls will the recipient out of their possibly busy day and set their minds in a state of fleeting alarm. Questions such as why would someone call me to promote a product that probably doesn't even need? What profit does this engagement bring me? Indubitably, the world has been cluttered with brands due to everyday emerging technologies. Consumer's decisions are not just affected by the information that a marketer can provide about a product, but also heavily rely on the reputation the company has among the customers. Cold calls are a good way to tarnish a reputation that may have been otherwise created before.
Cold Calling is emotionally draining to the employees
Inarguably, even the assigned employees are well aware of how annoying cold calling can get. A high percentage of Americans especially, have been on the receiving end of a cold call the employees included. The employee is the first victim of a customer's backlash since they are the first line of contact with the customer. Constantly assigned cold calling employees suffer mental burnouts and fatigue and their performance dwindles overtime. It also leaves them with adverse psychological effects of rejection and the feeling that their efforts may have ended up futile despite the amount of work they had put in on a particular prospect. It is even more sickening for the client having to start the process all over again with another client that may also end up unsuccessful.
Uncertain future for Outbound Marketing
While it is given that Cold calling is the reason behind the success stories of many companies in the US and across the world, current and future times are uncertain for the use of this strategy. Currently, issues such as the rise of insecurity for starters have led to people turning a cold shoulder to unknown phone numbers. The same insecurity issues have led to minimum contact with strangers has, therefore, become an uphill task to even get an appointment to even get the opportunity to make your presentation to a potential client. Further, with the high volume of information on products and services across the internet customers are less likely to accept pitches from strangers on a product while they can get the information at the touch of a button.
In times such as now 2020, with the outbreak of Coronavirus minimal physical contact is encouraged, therefore for a cold calling marketer, it would be extremely difficult to just secure a single appointment with a potential customer. However, with inbound marketing, a company's marketer will continue to create content that continuously and steadily converts potential customers into real consumers with much ease and having not left the comfort of their home offices.
Inbound marketing reversing roles
Structurally, Inbound marketing leaves footpaths of your company's product and even the brand for many years, as the Internet never forgets. Information about a product that is stored in some servers online is never completely erased. The information could be in the form of blogs or videos that could be retrieved upon request. This, therefore, reverses the role of the customer instead of them being hunted, the customer hunts for the products they see online, and information they get from the inbound marketing and end up making the calls to the company instead of it being the other way round.
A company's sales reports could be favorably changed with the application of an effective Search Engine strategy. Wondering how on earth you will get information on the use of SEO or even learn how to use it favorably for your SME? I got you! I, myself is a seasoned marketer in the SEO field who could help with the lessons and formulation of an SEO strategy where you can start seeing results almost immediately. Thank me later will you!
Further, inbound marketing creates a chain of contact from the customer to the company and back. According to Henry Ford, a company's profitability is safely tucked inside its flexibility in accommodating customer's opinions in their products. Inbound marketing through effective social media, such information is imperative in the product or service development cycle.
Fact: Inbound marketing strategies have notably out-produced cold calling in the recent past. Under what circumstance could it be otherwise? In the scenario of inbound marketing, there is a trail of generated leads that is organic and simple to target. In the digital age of marketing, inbound marketing naturally does not only tailor leads it also simplifies marketing. In this era, intrusive persistent calls will not cut it while competing with well-honed messages that are fashioned and antiquated in the race of production of real results.
Inbound 89% success rate vs. Cold calling 2% success rate
Contrary to cold calling, inbound marketing provides a head start for the sales teams through the warm list of prospects who through the various means have shown interest in products. This ensures that the marketers only have to travel halfway to meet the expectations of the client unlike in cold calling where the marketer has to start by introduction. For some clients it is the requests they make for others it's downloading a resource from a website; this is the major reason behind the high success rates.
Inbound marketing is not limited to one or two forms of reaching the prospective client. It is a mixture of several ways that bring out an unparalleled synergy.
This is one of the means of inbound calling. An organization ensures that various articles are written regularly and posted on their respective websites. This helps marketing in various ways; one is increasing the SEO ranking of the site that ensures easy visibility to the prospective clients. The other very important way is the explanation of the products and value the client can get from them. That creates a demand for various products too. Moreover, blogs encourage the readers to also subscribe and by so doing the organization gets the emails of the customers and could easily reach them.
This is another successful means of reaching the client. Through regular posts and product posts, customers easily access information on a given product and can interact with the company, make their orders, and even give their opinions about the product or service.
Conclusively, it is a no brainer that for a company or an organization to make sales then they have to devise the most efficient means to reach their customers. The product's perception is also important in the market, a significant role that is left to the marketers. Companies set aside larger amounts of dollars today to ensure that the marketers continue to ensure the organizations run profitably. However, the marketing strategies adopted by the marketing teams can either ensure that the company thrives or it suffers a downward trajectory. In this day and age, the Internet offers over 5 billion potential customers a glance for any product that is online. Inbound marketing strategy utilizes the Internet in its marketing and therefore exposing a product to an infinity market. While cold calling was a strong marketing strategy 2 decades back, it has been overtaken by time and its success rate has immensely dwindled. That is as a result of the change in the lifestyle of people and the availability of information. Social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. These sites make inbound marketing even cheaper but more effective by all metrics. For an organization seeking to make profits in the year 2020 and the foreseeable future, investing in inbound marketing strategy would not only be profitable but would also increase the brand's visibility.