What they don’t tell you about inbound marketing.
Simply stated, you interrupt customers with a message designed to get them to raise their hand. That’s the way they volunteer or say “yes” to begin a rewarding exchange of information accomplished over time, which builds trust that you can leverage into a sales relationship.
But the first step is still to interrupt the consumer. That’s one reason there will always be socially acceptable interruption marketing media. We need to get that initial attention.
— Seth Godin / Permission Marketing 1999
Why are you telling me this?
Current “inbound marketing” wisdom dictates that you consistently publish original long-form content that is irresistible to your target customers, who then seek out your wisdom with a desire to learn more. Customers come to you — That’s the inbound part.
Supposedly, if you do that long enough, your customers will gladly buy whatever you’re selling. That’s the theory anyway. Does it work? For a few. For most, not so much.
Let’s review the inbound process in a bit more detail:
- Your “authoritative” content gets shared by your social media buddies, driving your articles to the top of Google’s search rankings.
- There it’s discovered by more people, who visit your site eager to complete your popup form enabling them to receive more of your wisdom.
- Once they’re on your email list, you drip on these folks with daily drivel until they cave in and buy something from you — Typically an ebook, online course, blueprint (don’t ask), or “mastermind” weekend in Orlando.
- These super-satisfied customers become members of your “tribe” and promote your products and services to anybody who’ll listen.
- When you get enough followers-turned-promoters, you set up affiliate links to Bluehost on your website and make $20,000 a month in referral fees (seriously, people have done this).
Sounds good, let’s do it!
Hold on there Sparky. This all makes perfect sense, until you realize that this equation for success comes with a snag. A big one …
If you don’t rank well in Google, how do you ignite this bonfire of riches in the first place?
Good question. Unfortunately, the likelihood of you producing original, authoritative content that is soooo good that it rises to the top of Google search rankings is pretty slim. I’m sorry, but chances are nobody’s going to find your stuff. There’s already too much stuff out there.
So, how are you going to get noticed with this “inbound marketing” deal? You probably won’t. Not unless you start the process with “outbound marketing,” which was first described by Seth Godin as “interruption marketing” back in 1999. (Seth also coined the term “permission marketing,” a much more meaningful term than inbound marketing.)
Whenever you think you understand the “next big thing” in marketing, Google it and read what Seth Godin has to say. That’ll generally be the truth, and you won’t have to look any further. Seriously.
So, what is outbound marketing?
No mystery here, it’s advertising: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages, billboards, Facebook, direct mail, Google AdWords, blimps, whatever.
Good, old-fashioned, interruption marketing. Wanna get rich selling your wisdom on the web? Wanna be a millionaire “life coach” at age 24? Get out your wallet, and keep it out.
About Seth Godin
Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, and teacher. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 18 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn).
Though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!).
By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.
In 2013, Seth was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.
Updated: March 19, 2020 by Philip Papeman