Need a yellow pages alternative? Many of us grew up using the Yellow Pages when searching for a product or service. Need a new tire? Painter? Electrician? Plant yard? We automatically reached for the Yellow Pages. It never failed to provide a list of businesses to call to learn about their offerings. Some merchants would patiently answer our questions going into as much detail as we asked. Others would politely say “Come on over, I think we have just what you need.” In this way we bought the products we needed and minimized the search process.
The Internet has changed all of that. Not the need for information, just the way it is delivered. In fact, the Internet is a greater source of information than the Yellow Pages could have ever hoped to be. The Internet is Yellow Pages, library, newspaper, movie theater, classroom and more rolled into one. And with advances in technology the Internet fits in my pocket. It even serves as a memory jogger when we can’t remember a fact we are groping for.
Inbound Marketing has transformed shopping
With the Internet as the base service, inbound marketing has significantly changed the way we shop for products and services. Whereas the Yellow Pages provided a list of businesses that provided the things we need, inbound marketing not only provides a list of businesses but also answers the questions we had for the merchant. In fact, inbound marketing brought us to the merchant’s website or social media page in the first place. The completeness of the content was the principal reason for the ranking in the search results that brought us to this merchants site. That content was why visitors came to the site, browsed its pages, and bookmarked it for a later return. The search engine duly noted these visits and suggested the site to other visitors. And over time gave the site its ranking.
Inbound marketing revolutionized the way the buyer and the seller do business. The seller has found a way to efficiently advertise and sell his product. He builds his website or social media in a way to deliver information to the buyer. He provides basic information at one level and greater detail at lower levels. By offering additional useful information the seller may learn the buyer’s email address and can continue to market to him. If the product is not a high ticket item, it may even be sold online.
Buyers have also benefited from inbound marketing
The buyer has also benefited from inbound marketing. He can do much if not all of his product research online. He can compare offerings of competing sellers. He may be able to find clients of the seller that he can call and seek a reference. And he can do all of this without having to schedule a meeting with the seller’s representative. Many people ask themselves why should I invite a company’s salesman to come tell me about a product when I can go online and find out for myself. If the company of interest has some information but I need more I can always call or ask for a sales visit. If a company does not have the information that I need I can look for a company that does.
This new approach to business places the burden on the seller to take full advantage of inbound marketing; if he doesn’t his competitor will. The seller must have a well designed website, attractive social media pages and effective email marketing to compete. These new requirements will add new marketing costs for the business. However, if this inbound marketing is done well it can reduce selling costs and increase unit volumes. Unlike his sales staff inbound marketing can be selling 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.