I’ve been speaking to many close friends and industry colleagues about the Government’s new ban on door-to-door sales ban in Ontario. The ban applies to many appliances and services industries that have long been sold by door-to-door salespeople, including sales of furnaces, air cleaners, water heaters, and many other items. Many business owners are concerned but even if you’re not in one of the affected industries, this might just be the first step towards enforcing a wider ban. Yet, I’m not the least bit worried about this new law and you shouldn’t be either.
Tactics such as door-to-door, along with telemarketing and direct mail are no longer the most effective way to market your business, and truthfully haven’t been for a very long time. If you want to use the latest strategies that give you the best possible ROI, you need laser accuracy. Those old tactics won’t cut it. Where you need to focus your marketing spend is in digital marketing.
“you need laser accuracy with your ROI and those old tactics won’t cut it”
The Move From Outbound to Inbound Marketing
When comparing door-to-door sales to online marketing, I find it useful to examine the distinction between outbound and inbound marketing. Outbound marketing covers most traditional types of advertising and selling such as print ads, TV commercials, phone sales, and, yes, door-to-door sales.
What distinguishes outbound techniques is that they involve putting your message in front of someone whether they want to see it or not. Outbound marketing is, by nature, intrusive. People are increasingly resisting this type of marketing. That’s why ad blockers are getting popular online and why people are willing to pay for streaming services without commercials, i.e. Netflix.
Door-to-door selling epitomizes outbound marketing. What’s more intrusive, after all than knocking on someone’s door while they’re having dinner. UGHH!
Inbound marketing, by contrast, is a process whereby consumers seek out information that they actually need. A good example is when someone does a search on Google, whether it’s to find a restaurant, plumber, hair salon, or digital marketing agency, like yours truly. The customer is putting forth the effort here, as opposed to having a message shoved into his or her face. As people get weary of aggressive advertising, they increasingly prefer the inbound approach. That’s why I always recommend digital marketing for businesses trying to reach a wider audience and engage more effectively with their existing customers.
Advantages of Digital Marketing, What Are They?
When compared to door-to-door selling as well as many other traditional marketing tactics, digital marketing has quite a few benefits. Most notably the last point.
We’re Always Connected
- People are now almost always near their devices. As more and more people carry around smartphones, the internet is the fastest and most direct way to reach them.
- Digital marketing is cheaper and faster. Traditional forms of advertising are expensive and quickly drain the budgets of smaller businesses. Print ads and TV commercials, for example, often cost thousands of dollars and responses are usually low. Digital marketing is much cheaper. It’s also faster because so many tasks can be automated. You can send out thousands of emails in the amount of time it takes to make one phone call or knock on a single door
- More targeted and effective. One of the traditional drawbacks of traditional advertising and selling is the low response rate. Display ads, cold calling, unsolicited direct mail, and door-to-door selling are all highly untargeted and yield poor results. Digital marketing lets you target your offers to people who are actually searching for your type of product or business.
- One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is that it’s easy to track your results with laser precision. Whether you use free tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, paid software, or let an agency such as mine handle it, you can find out exactly who is reading your content, clicking on your ads, sharing your posts, and buying your products. When you can measure results easily, you can make adjustments and improve your results faster. For example, you can test headlines, images, and copy until you find the formula that works best. Tracking your results in the offline world is more complex, time-consuming and expensive.
The Best Digital Marketing Strategies
As noted, people are starting to prefer inbound marketing practices, whether they even know what that term means or not. It’s important to note that inbound marketing is not synonymous with digital or online marketing though there’s quite a bit of overlap. However, there are certain online tactics that fall clearly into the outbound category. These include untargeted banner ads, bulk email (i.e. spam), and contacting people randomly on messaging services such as Facebook. These practices are untargeted and often annoy people. That’s why I recommend focusing on inbound digital marketing strategies, such as:
- Permission-based E-mail Marketing – As opposed to spam, this involves building an email list by sending people free gifts or a newsletter. This is a powerful strategy that gives you a growing list of prospects and customers whom you can contact whenever you want. In Canada you can’t even get away with unsolicited emails, you can read more on the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation here.
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media sites are another type of digital marketing that gives you the chance to provide your audience with helpful information.
- Blogging – One of the best ways to connect with a targeted audience is to create a blog and post articles to it regularly. This helps you build trust and credibility with your readers and establish your authority. It’s also good for SEO, as every blog post gives the search engines more content to index. Readers will typically find your blog through the search engines, so you’re reaching people who are specifically searching for information on your topic.
- Pay-per-click Advertising – Some people mistakenly believe that all advertising is outbound marketing. However, pay-per-click (PPC), including Google AdWords and Facebook advertising, is actually inbound because it’s based on keywords. People see these ads after doing searches, the same way they might find your blog.
You Don’t Need Door-to-Door and Other Outdated Selling Tactics
If you’re worried about the door-to-door sales ban in Ontario, there’s no reason to be. I hope you’ve absorbed some of the reasons why digital marketing is such a great opportunity to reach today’s customers. This new law didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a response to public outcry against intrusive selling tactics and vulnerable people getting ripped off. People no longer appreciate being interrupted by door-to-door salespeople, phone calls, junk mail, and other such practices. Fortunately, you no longer need these techniques. You can reach people using far more effective and less costly digital marketing strategies.
To learn how nvision can help your business grow with digital marketing, contact us.