Inbound marketing is an increasingly sought-after service, but why? Well, inbound has many benefits but primarily, it can be a highly effective way to increase the traffic to your business’ website, and also convert that traffic into customers.
The virtual marketplace is crowded with companies vying for the attention of online shoppers, but effective inbound marketing solutions can help you stand out and speak to your target audience, bringing them into your sales funnel.
If you’re still not convinced, read on for 10 ways inbound marketing services can promote your business:
1. Inbound is more effective than outbound marketing
Outbound marketing will (probably) always have a place. Adverts, posters, billboards and direct mail can achieve some brand exposure, but this marketing method is a little old hat. It relies on shouting your message to anyone who’s there to listen, hoping it sinks in, and that people act on it.
It’s an interruptive strategy too and one that is as likely to annoy someone as get them to buy into your brand. This is backed up by data from HubSpot. Notably, today 86% of people skip TV adverts, 44% of direct mail is never opened, and online, 84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a website because of irrelevant or intrusive advertising. Outbound, therefore, is decreasingly effective. In fact, according to the 2018 State of Inbound report, 30% of marketers believe outbound is the most overrated marketing tactic. It’s also worth noting from the same report that 46% of inbound marketing teams’ budgets increased in 2018, showing that inbound definitely has something going for it.
Inbound marketing is not intrusive or annoying because it aims to get customers coming to you, by offering genuinely helpful, educational content that helps them understand or solve a problem. While outbound is analogous to marketing with a megaphone, inbound can be seen as marketing with a magnet. This creates a form of marketing that is much more helpful, human and authentic than outbound, and this makes it more effective. Being able to target your ideal customer prevents you from wasting resources trying to sell to people who couldn’t care less. Inbound marketing leads are also qualified when they arrive on your website, and they cost less than outbound leads, but we’ll get deeper into financial benefits later.
2. Inbound services allow you to target customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey
The three stages of the buyer’s journey are awareness, consideration and decision. All consumers move through these stages on their way to making a purchase or signing up for a service.This is beneficial because it allows you to target prospects at all stages of this journey, whether they are trying to understand their problem, consider their options to solve it, or decide on the solution and its provider.
By creating useful content for every stage of your ideal customer’s journey, you can encourage them to visit your website and share their information with you, bringing them into your funnel. Your team can then share more useful content with your visitor and answer any questions they have to help them continue moving through their buyer’s journey. Create helpful content for every stage and you will have greatly increased your chances of attracting and converting visitors. If you’d like to see this theory in action, check out these real examples of inbound marketing to see how it should be done.
3. Inbound can help you continually build your audience & your visibility
The inbound marketing methodology has four stages: attract, convert, close and delight. The aim of this strategy is to turn strangers into delighted customers and promoters. This methodology commonly uses different inbound tactics for the various stages, in order to build your audience and your brand’s visibility.
Inbound marketing relies on the right combination of tactics at the right stage to attract visitors, engage them and turn them into customers. If you can do this well, your inbound marketing strategy could continually build your audience, and who wouldn’t want that?!
4. Inbound marketing offers a human experience
As we have already mentioned, the human element of inbound marketing is one of the things that makes it more effective than traditional outbound marketing. The whole idea behind inbound is to help people, whether that’s by helping them understand their need for a certain product or service, or by supplying them with a range of ways to satisfy their needs.
Of course it’s still marketing so it is a commercial exercise, but it’s a two-way street. Companies benefit by attracting and selling to customers, but customers benefit by finding the best available solutions to their problems. And it’s this reciprocal element that allows inbound to offer a valuable, human experience. This helps you as a company to gain trust and credibility, which is essential for referrals, reviews and testimonials. When it comes to online business, your reputation really matters!
5. Inbound gives you qualified leads
Another reason it is so effective, is because the leads that arrive at your website are more qualified. This means they are the kind of people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. But how do you achieve this?
The answer is the content that you create. Because you target customers throughout the buyer’s journey, content can be aligned with the kinds of products or services you offer, allowing you to attract prospects who are likely to become leads or customers.
6. Inbound services can save you time
It’s trite but true that in business time is money. So if you can get things done quicker and more efficiently, then of course you should. Inbound marketing services can help your company do this by utilising automation. Many tools and software let you automate repetitive tasks. Here are a number of jobs you can automate to save valuable time:
- Marketing emails
- Social media posts
- Monitoring of brand mentions
- Email workflows
- Campaign reports
There are numerous other normally time-consuming tasks that you can automate to save yourself and your business time, which could be used more efficiently – such as nurturing leads, which also takes less time with inbound marketing.
This is because, as we have said, inbound marketing delivers qualified prospects, so once visitors engage with your website and become leads, they are already qualified. This means less time for your marketing and sales teams filtering out unsuitable leads, and more time for them to focus on those that are likely to become customers. It also reduces the time from a prospect becoming a lead to them becoming a customer, because they already know what they want and that it’s something you can provide.
7. Inbound marketing services can save you money
Because inbound is a form of online marketing, it often costs less to implement than traditional outbound marketing. This means that inbound can save you money and offer a higher ROI. It also means it’s more affordable for small to medium-sized companies. Let’s dig deeper into how inbound is an economical way to promote your business:
The 2018 State of Inbound report found that 53% of marketers believe that inbound gives a higher ROI than outbound marketing. Only 16% of marketers believe the opposite to be true. The points below also contribute to a better ROI overall.
Cheaper to implement than outbound
Outbound marketing – which often involves tactics like TV and radio advertising, print ads and billboards – is usually more costly to implement, which can be scaled more easily to businesses of different sizes. But inbound is often cheaper also because it attracts customers to you, and as we’ve said these prospects are qualified, which improves your closing rate when compared to outbound or unqualified leads.
Cheaper to generate leads than outbound
We mentioned earlier that inbound marketing leads are 61% cheaper to acquire than outbound leads. That’s quite a saving and one that marketing managers can’t ignore. This is one of the reasons that inbound is being spoken about more and more, as you can see in the Google Trends graph below, showing the increased interest in the term ‘inbound marketing’ over the past five years:
8. Inbound allows for integrated campaigns
Inbound marketing campaigns often involve an array of different tactics being used to attract, engage and delight users. Inbound allows you to promote your brand across numerous different complementary platforms, from SEO to PPC, blogging, social media and more. Some marketers use these channels independently of each other, but integrating these efforts is the best way to ensure that you are conveying the same message to users across the virtual landscape.
These disciplines are most effective when they are planned to support and boost one another. This increases your brand and campaign exposure, and gives you a better chance of getting prospects onto your website. For instance, if you’ve written an ebook or white paper, you could promote it with social media and even a PPC campaign. You could also publish a section as a blog post and offer the full download as a call to action within that post. Integrated campaigns allow you to align the components of your inbound marketing strategy to provide a valuable user experience and to create engagement from your ideal customers. Using a CRM (customer relationship management platform) also allows you to easily measure and review the success of your marketing channels.
9. Inbound gives campaign visibility to your whole team
When a prospect engages with your website content your CRM can record this and all subsequent communications. This is invaluable to lead nurturing as it gives everyone in your business – whether in marketing, customer service or sales – the same information to work with. Anyone who picks up the lead has an overview of where that visitor is on their buyer’s journey, the content they have engaged with and how, and the questions they might have asked.
This level of campaign visibility makes it easier to guide your lead smoothly towards a purchase or sign-up, and this should benefit your customer service, helping you create delighted customers who will hopefully become brand promoters.
10. Inbound is measurable
Again we return to the CRM, which really is an essential tool in any form of marketing or sales, especially when it comes to measuring the success of your endeavours. The CRM is the hub of your campaigns and it can record the following and more:
- How your content is performing
- Where your revenue is coming from
- Which landing pages or forms are getting conversions
- All communications between your team and your leads
Having this data available makes it simple to review exactly how your inbound strategy is going, and to highlight any areas that need improvement. It’s important to set milestones and goals when starting a new campaign – which could be to increase website traffic by 25%, or double your monthly leads, for example. Such goals will help you monitor the success of your work and alert you to any issues, but of course you can tweak and improve campaigns continually, even if your initial efforts are successful.
Hopefully this article goes some way to explaining why inbound solutions are increasingly in demand today, and how the services of an inbound marketing agency or consultant really can be beneficial. Outbound is not dead and gone, but if you operate a business online and want to attract, engage and delight the modern consumer, then getting on board with inbound is a must.