Push Marketing … Pull Marketing… Which is Better?

There’s been some debate lately about which type of internet marketing is more effective … "Push" marketing or "Pull" Marketing.  The answer may surprise you.

Some definitions may be in order. "Push" marketing is where the marketer sends his or her marketing message directly to the prospect.  This would include methods such as email, telemarketing, etc.  "Pull" marketing, on the other hand, is where marketers attempt to attract prospects to their site through some other means, such as a blog or article, and then present the marketing message only when someone visits. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages over the other.

With the advent of Web 2.0, there has been a tremendous emphasis on the merits of "Pull" marketing.  Pull marketing, by it’s very nature, feels much less "salesy" and softens the natural resistance that most of us have toward someone trying to sell us something.  Pull marketing works by building a foundation of trust and credibility first and then allowing the marketing message to come across as more of a recommendation from a trusted source rather than as an overt sales pitch.

The driving force behind Pull marketing is content.  Quality content attracts visitors who are interested in the information you are providing.  Since the visitor is the one initiating the contact (by visiting your website), she is much less resistant to any marketing messages presented. This is assuming, of course, that your marketing is crafted in an effective manner that comes across as a "recommendation" instead of a sales pitch.

While the current trend is decidedly leaning toward the merits of Pull marketing, the virtues of Push marketing should not be dismissed too quickly.  Push marketing is much more "direct" and can be incredibly effective in connecting with potential prospects.  Would you rather market to the internet at large or have a targeted list of people who know who you are, like you and are interested in what you’re marketing?  In my opinion, the list is a clear winner.

The use of opt-in forms to build a targeted email list is absolutely essential to success in internet marketing.  Through prewritten messages in an autoresponder and the ability to "broadcast" to your list, you can quickly build a strong relationship and build trust.  As with Pull marketing, this element is essential.

The use of SPAM and "Blast-Your-Ad-To-Ten-Million-Emails" types of Push marketing methods are a nuisance and a waste of everybody’s time and money.  Don’t even think about trying this.  It doesn’t work and it could potentially get you in a lot of trouble.

The truth is, the most effective marketing on the internet is a combination of both Push and Pull methods.  Every blog should have an opt-in form to your autoresponder so that you can build a "list."  Every article you write should have a reference to your webpage, which should also have an opt-in form. 

Once people subscribe to your list, you should be consistent in sending them informative emails that work primarily to build trust and credibility.  Bombarding your list with an ongoing litany of sales pitches is a mistake and will result in people UNsubscribing faster than those opting in.  Quality content is still king, regardless of which method you use.  If you take this approach, when you DO send out a marketing message to your list, there will be a much higher response.

So build a marketing strategy that includes BOTH "Pull" and "Push" methods and you’ll soon find yourself succeeding as an internet marketer.