Ah Spring! When a young man’s mind turns to thoughts of …... Baseball?
Well in the Midwest, it appears that Spring has finally sprung, and with it, of course, comes the end of the school year. And, with the end of the school year comes Prom Dances (really expensive Prom Dresses), limousine rides and graduations. The graduations, of course, are both High School and College. And, other than the graduation party, the biggest graduation event is the commencement service, when the long awaited diplomas are handed out.
Isn’t it strange that the final ceremony for four years of academic pursuit is called a commencement instead of a termination? Of course we know the reason for that is because the focus is not on what has been done, but rather, on what lies ahead; the opportunities that the past four, five or six years of study has prepared the graduating student to pursue. It heralds the beginning, or commencement, of a new phase of life.
For many, these years in school have been a time of learning, both academically and socially. It has been a time of building relationships, some of which may last a lifetime and others that will quickly fade away. It has also been a time of experimentation and learning what works and what doesn’t; what behaviors are rewarded and which are not. Hopefully, this has been a time of effective preparation for a successful future.
So what bearing does a graduation ceremony have on promoting your business?
Quite a lot! My guess is that you have been experimenting with different ways of promoting your business, possibly using radio or TV spots, print media ads, direct mailers and other outbound marketing activities. During this time, you may have learned what does seem to work and what does not; what is an effective use of your marketing dollars, and what is not. Or, you may have come to the conclusion that nothing seems to work very well, and you cannot relate any particular marketing, sales or advertising endeavor to any defined business growth. In essence, you have been going to school on your own dollar for a number of years trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Well, maybe it’s time to take that step up and “graduate” to incorporating an inbound marketing approach. You have probably learned that outbound marketing is expensive and is difficult to accurately track the source of your leads. With inbound marketing, not only do your leads leave a trail as to where they came from, they can also be directed to different locations on your site, depending on a number of different factors. (Examples: how often they return and where they are in your sales funnel.)
And, inbound marketing is generally less expensive than outbound marketing. To demonstrate this, take a look at this very recent piece by Jan Beery regarding the return on investment of email marketing vs. Direct Mail, and this previous one about marketing, sales trends, and business growth.
If you would like to see more statistics about how inbound marketing works, take a look at Katie Gutwein’s blog, Why We Got Serious About Blogging (And Why Your Business Needs to Too), and Nicole Fassl’s, Social Media: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize (Once there, make sure you click on the “check out these statistics” link.)
To gain some further insight into using inbound marketing to promote your business, you may also want to look at, 7 Ways Sales Reps Can Succeed With Social Media, and Five Major Functions of Inbound Marketing: Is It Really Worth It?