So, with one headline we have established that you can win new business with inbound marketing, but how is this possible? Imagine the game of Taboo – we all played it. The whole goal of the game is to get the other players say the word without actually telling them what to say – you play around with words, give clues and direct them where you want them to go. Inbound marketing is just like that. You help the ‘players’, in this case ‘potential customers’ solve their problems and find the ‘Taboo word’, in this case ‘your products and services’ that they need.
The days of old marketing strategies like annoying people with constantly showing them advertisements or with one off campaigns are long gone. We all love being in charge – so customers should be the ones picking you. All you have to do is to provide hints and directions for them to follow.
To see just how poorly regarded the old outbound and email marketing strategies are, you just need to know that an open-rate of 25% is considered good while a click-through from these of just 2-3% is then considered outstanding. How can a business be successful when you only manage to get 2% of your audience to be directed to your website?
But really, it’s not difficult to see why. Achieving cut-through in a world of email or advertising overload is no easy task. In 2017, some 269 billion emails were sent each day; by next year it is predicted to grow to 293 billion. Against this tidal flow, any so-called ‘pushed’ marketing efforts must work double as hard to even get noticed, let alone be read and acted upon. Even those that do break through ever-more complex spam, ad blockers and filtering software have to do an almost impossible job – on the other end of the mail, someone must be considering exactly what they received, right then and there.
But things don’t have to be this way. At CorporateLeaders Communications, a B2B inbound marketing agency, we believe the best way to advertise your business is not by forcing your messages onto time-short, attention-short executives, or by interrupting them when it doesn’t suit them. We believe it’s far better to excite and inform prospective clients about your products or services by enabling them to find you – and doing so at a time of their choosing. Marketers call this approach inbound marketing.
So, long story short; what is Inbound Marketing?
It’s where prospects come in (and on their own) to you. Your content is consumed because interest has been aroused by compelling content, not by being pushed into reading them. Data from the Marketing Mix report found 45% of professionals it surveyed admitted they were interested in inbound marketing – arguably because when it’s done well, it’s prospects barely see it as being ‘marketed to’ at all. This is what inbound marketing is all about – the more invisible your efforts are, the better. Most professionals will want to keep up to date with the latest news, trends, and solutions, so when they find you (and are kept engaged by superb content), they’re seeing you as thought leaders or service area experts in a particular field – an association that will stick in their minds.
Why do you need an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
But while the inbound marketing route solves many of the problems of apathy, prospects won’t simply come to you by themselves – getting it right and getting a level of differentiation from competitors still requires a good strategy.
The bad news is that many small businesses still fail to have one – some 61% don’t have a strategic marketing plan in place at all according to the latest 2018 Marketing Mix Report. The better news however, is that companies clearly understand the importance of many of the elements inbound marketing needs – like good web development to keep people interested. This comes top in terms of marketing spend by 63% of businesses polled in the survey. Social media ranks highly too (at 29%), and another one regarded very important is search engine optimisation.
How can you use Inbound Marketing?
The key is to have a strategy that recognises what you want to achieve – and the model that’s gaining most momentum is the one being popularised by Hubspot – the inbound marketing and sales platform provider. It’s built around the fact that customer acquisition is a four-part journey – around the themes: Attract; Convert, Close, and Delight.
In this swift journey, you’re taking complete strangers and turning them into your customers, and even your promoters. But we’ll focus more on this journey after understanding who your ‘complete strangers’ are. (Though if you insist, you can click here to read more about the journey now.)
So, who is Inbound Marketing for?
Knowing your target is just as important as having quality content. After all, who will value and share your premium content if you can’t reach the right people that are interested in your topics? Otherwise it wouldn’t be any different than mindlessly buying Instagram followers in bulk – they may come to your page, but they won’t stick around, more importantly, they won’t be enthusiasts. You have to find the right people who need your services and who will appreciate your content.
Let’s get a bit technical here. There’s a strategic step to pinpointing your target audience called creating ‘buyer personas’ – specific profiles of prospects, tagged with data including how they come to your site (whether it’s through social media, paid advertising sites, organic searches, emails, etc.); what formats they engage with most; and how many visits they make before becoming customers. All this will help drive further modeling. It will also identify those who are less responsive to further inbound marketing techniques. Those who are identified as most receptive should then be targeted for any further inbound marketing campaigns – where content is amplified with additional content – such as having guest bloggers, or by creating infographics, and/or social media promotions.
What do you get out of Inbound Marketing?
While nothing is guaranteed in life, consideration of all these elements will certainly make any B2B inbound strategy far more of a predictable affair. B2B marketing doesn’t have to feel forced when the tables can be turned, and prospects can be encouraged to come to you. In 2017, an MIT Sloan research study on the ROI of using HubSpot and inbound marketing found that businesses were generating:
- 3.3x more visitors per month within one year
- 3.5x more leads per month within one year
- 79% of customers saw an increase in sales revenue within one year
As long as you deliver on your side of the content bargain, you’ll be much more likely to have a constant flow of interested, articulate prospects that will – over time – turn into valuable, and ultimately more profitable, customers.
Let us help you unleash your inbound marketing success.
If you would like to talk about how to unleash inbound marketing or want to hear more about how it can help you get found and generate more leads, schedule your free inbound consultation.