by John Eberhard

In my last article I described what “inbound marketing” and “outbound marketing” are. Here’s a fast recap:

Basically, “inbound marketing” can be defined as placing information about your company in an area where people will see it when they search for information about your products or services. This means search engines. The “inbound” part of the term refers to the fact that people are actively searching for you.

Outbound marketing is defined as more traditional marketing, where you place an ad or send out direct mail or send email. It’s also called, by the buzzword people, “interruption marketing” due to the fact that you are typically interrupting something else the person is doing to get out your marketing message. They inbound marketing gurus use the term “interruption marketing” as a sort of demeaning term, as they typically believe outbound marketing is a wave of the past.

Proponents of inbound marketing say that it is the wave of the future and that the advent of inbound marketing has changed the basic nature of marketing. It works better than outbound marketing. Some proponents go so far as to say that outbound marketing is dead.

Except that there are some flaws in this design. There are gaping holes for certain types of businesses, holes you could drive a space shuttle through.

What do I mean? Let’s explore.

  1. The Local Business in a Very Competitive Market

Let’s say you are a local business in a very competitive market. One example is dentists. I have yet to see any market in the U.S. where there less than hundreds of dentists, each competing for business. Other types of health care practices are very competitive too. Another type is computer consultants.

So let’s say you have a dental practice. You can’t really use pay per click advertising because there are so many guys competing, it drives the bid prices up. Plus, unless you are a specialist of some kind, it is hard to make your practice stand out from the others.

You can and should put up a Google Places page, but in any given city, you will be competing with up to a hundred or more dentists. So depending on how many competitors you have, getting onto page one can take time.

How about organic search engine optimization? Once again, even for local keywords like “dentist Glendale” you are going to be competing with hundreds of other similar businesses. And getting to the top of organic listings takes time.

So if you are a local business in a competitive market, and someone tells you that inbound marketing is the wave of the future and that you shouldn’t or can’t do outbound marketing, they just haven’t looked at your situation closely enough.

The fact is that like in investing, you have to diversify. You can’t put all your eggs in the inbound marketing basket. You can put up a Google Places page and you can do some organic SEO on your site and some link building, but you better not just leave it at that. Another great vehicle for local businesses is paid advertising on Yelp. You need to also do some outbound marketing actions like direct mail, display advertising in local magazines and newspapers, or email marketing. And carefully track the results, i.e. where your leads are coming from.

  1. The Business Selling Low Ticket Items

Let’s say you are selling books or CDs, i.e. items that don’t sell for very much.

You can’t do pay per click advertising (PPC), because it is just too expensive. You could have done this 7-8 years ago, when not many people were doing PPC. But now there are lots of people doing it and that drives the bid prices up. So if you tried to do PPC advertising to sell a book, you’d lose money on every sale.

If your business is local in nature, you can put up a listing on Google Places. You can do SEO to your site and do link building, but as mentioned earlier, it’s going to take time to build up organic rankings, and Google is attacking link building actions.

I think social media marketing is a good medium for low ticket items. Also, on your web site you should work out how to give away some item for free and make people give you their email address to get it. Then send them regular email selling your products, or an email newsletter.

I’ve seen a very successful tactic recently where authors write a multi-part book series, then give away the first book in the series on a site like www.bookbub.com or a similar site. I personally have found some great free books on BookBub and then bought the rest of the books in a series on Amazon.

Next week in Part 3 of this series I will discuss how the whole idea that all you have to do anymore is inbound marketing, is a complete bill of goods. Further, I will dissect the major premise of Google that you shouldn’t do any link building and all you need to do is create and put up great content.