Hubspot’s release of new inbound marketing data paints an extremely favorable picture for the future of inbound marketing, and ultimately for businesses that are interested in cutting back on paid online advertising. And at a time when organizations are focused on getting return on investments, inbound marketing delivers the results in budget. The compromise? It’s a process and you can’t expect results overnight. Unless, of course, you create a campaign that goes viral.
So what is “inbound marketing”? Entrepreneur.com contextualizes it like this:
With the growth of social marketing, marketers now must invest in adding a new kind of value. Enter “inbound marketing,” a type of marketing in which brands spend resources to create content, conversations and valuable resources that draw customers to their products or websites without paid marketing.
What Are The Potential Benefits Of Inbound Marketing?
With inbound marketing, the focus is more on developing credibility organically, rather than paying for leads. So why would you do it? Believe it or not, 44% of direct mail doesn’t even get opened. It wastes your time and money (think stationary and postage). Ninety one percent of email users have admitted to opting in to receive mail from a company and then unsubscribed later. Eighty six percent of consumers who watch TV say they fast forward through commercials. Eighty four percent of the 25 to 34 year old age group say they have exited a website because they found an Internet advert obtrusive or irrelevant. And, equally importantly, the cost per lead in inbound marketing is cheaper than in outbound marketing. On average, an inbound marketing lead costs 62% less than an outbound lead to generate.
Hubspot says inbound marketing is the way of the future because it presents a sustainable business model by building traffic and growing leads on a monthly basis. The inbound marketing company’s data shows that customers had access to twice as many monthly visitors within six months. This figure increased to 3-5 more in the first year and seven times more within two years.
But, as any business owner will attest, the proof is in the sales, not necessarily in the web traffic alone. Hubspot staff writer Ginny Soskey reports:
Within 6 months, customers were generating 2x more leads every month.
Within a year, they were generating 6x more leads… and they kept on growing.
After two years, they were generating almost 33x more leads every month.
The data reflects something equally significant: businesses that adopt a long term development strategy can expect exponentially improved results over time. Organizations also need to take note in the shift that has occurred on the consumer end. Outbound marketing’s efficacy has declined in recent years because consumers, and particularly those online, have more control over the information they receive, and this changes their behavior considerably.
So what constitutes an effective inbound strategy and how do you take advantage of your results? Understanding that inbound marketing is a relationship building process that occurs in the lead stage of the sales cycle is the first step.
Great Content Is What Gets Conversations Started
Inbound marketing shouldn’t be seen as separate to your social media strategy. Great content should be suitable for your website, blog and social media pages because these are the networks that have the potential to take it viral.
A content specialist writing for Moz.com says:
Vary the types of content you produce. A report from MarketingProfs / CMI suggested that the brands that are most effectively using content marketing are, on average, using 14 different ways of creating content, opposed to an average of eight ways used by less effective brands.
Of course if you are just starting out, you will have to invest in some A/B testing and market research to find out what gets your target audience talking and sharing. Popular content for social sharing and high engagement levels includes ebooks, podcasts, white papers, infographics and blogs.
Know Your Channels Of Distribution
Sharing content on the relevant channels: networks (like Facebook and Twitter), aggregator sites (like Reddit.com and Digg.com) and bookmarking sites like Delicious.com expands your market reach and gives you valuable backlinks to your web content.
Over the last decade and a half, social media channels have grown in terms of their social influence. They present powerful channels through which to showcase valuable content and offer solutions for getting leads. They provide extended networks that complement the rest of the traffic being driven to the site.
Also remember that these channels are valuable sales tools. Forty one percent of business to business marketers and 67% of business to consumer marketers say they have acquired new customers through Facebook. Forty two percent say they have acquired a new customer using Twitter and 57% say their company blog has generated customers.
Understand Lead Nurturing
Marketing automation offers businesses the opportunity to develop their customer relations and increase their chances of converting a sale. As well as presenting you with more leads from your website, inbound marketing also suggests that you nurture those leads to increase your conversions by feeding them content they find useful and informative; an extended brand engagement that is mutually beneficial. The data also tells us that it is cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
It’s All About The Conversions
Landing lots of traffic on a page is one thing, converting the traffic into sales is another thing altogether. Being able to convert your online user takes the insight of knowing what the user’s problem is, and the skill of demonstrating how the product or service can solve it. In order to achieve this, landing pages need persuasive copy and a call to action that stands out on the web page.
Use Your Data And Re-Strategize
It is important to take the data you can extract from your campaigns to build future growth strategy. Take note of the most popular content and learn to re-purpose it to get more mileage from your efforts. Understand what motivates your end-user and test your approaches continually to improve your results.