Guest post by Nick Rojas.
Being at the forefront of marketing sometimes requires shifting resources away from old practices. That’s why 52% of outbound marketers say their marketing efforts are “ineffective”. In fact, inbound marketing is starting to be used more than outbound marketing.
“33% of inbound marketers and 31% of outbound marketers rank outbound marketing practices, such as paid advertising, as the top waste of time and resources,” per HubSpot in 2016. (More recent research shows most B2B marketers aren’t satisfied with their current mix of inbound vs. outbound tactics regardless of last year’s focus.)
What is Inbound Marketing?
Brian Halligan, the co-founder of Hubspot, first conceived the term “inbound marketing.” Inbound marketing is a growth strategy utilized by marketers to increase brand awareness and drive traffic. Inbound refers to the consumers coming to the business rather than vice versa. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing places the user’s interests first.
Rather than bombarding potential buyers with banners and TV ads, inbound marketing approaches and connects with prospective customers through useful material and content. This places the power with the buyer rather than the seller. By placing informative material and content throughout, a potential consumer can receive relevant information based on their specific searches.
Here are some commonly used tactics when getting started with inbound marketing:
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps make your online content presence more visible and discoverable during search queries. The more relevant the information is to searches, the better the chance it will have to be ranked higher to be seen. Having good software architecture to optimize website navigation experience and search engine optimization could also improve your inbound marketing. Other key components, such as keywords and links, are just the tip of SEO tactics that can be used in your inbound marketing.
Producing high-quality, useful, non-promotional content is a great way to market and educate potential consumers of your products or services. This valuable, top-of-the-funnel content can rank well in search and drive relevant website traffic. You can incorporate high-quality content by using blogs, news articles, videos, descriptions, and web page copy writing. It is also important to optimize for keyword phrases with a good balance of high monthly search volume and low organic SEO competition.
Building and maintaining an active social media presence gives you a chance to promote content to current customers and help generate new leads. This can be done through either paid, organic, or a combination of tactics. Your business can purchase social media ads, promote pertinent content on your own channels, or form relationships with industry influencers on social networks.
Traditionally associated with outbound marketing, a well-crafted inbound marketing email can attract highly qualified leads. Not to be mistaken for spam, the key to an inbound marketing email is to send valuable content with relevance to prospective customers. This can open up the potential of two-way communication through other channels, depending on the content of the email. The right email with the right content can pull a lead further along the B2B marketing funnel.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Demonstrating return on investment (ROI)” is vital for B2B marketers when justifying budgets as well as evaluating the relative success of their campaigns.
Marketing ROI is generally much higher in inbound marketing than outbound marketing. Hubspot researchers have stated that “46% of marketers reported that inbound marketing gave a higher ROI”. These techniques usually result in increased lead generation, higher traffic, and sales revenue growth. The exact metrics depend entirely on how much was invested in inbound marketing and how many leads/goals you received/achieved.
Inbound marketing can be more cost-effective than outbound marketing. By using inbound marketing, you can increase sales while staying within your current marketing budget. It is less expensive than traditional outbound marketing because of the tailored target demographics. Rather than broadcasting to a mass audience, inbound marketing targets content to their specific audience and entices that audience to come to them.
If done correctly, inbound marketing can generate cost-effective marketing leads through SEO, social media, content, and email initiatives. Although the process may appear daunting, higher ROI, more leads, and business growth should show the potential of inbound marketing.