The concept of inbound marketing has been rapidly gaining ground since 2012. If your knowledge of marketing is solely based around the outbound model, inbound strategies can sound a little alien. However, almost a decade on from its rise in prominence, many businesses have used inbound to achieve excellent results and growth.
While traditional outbound marketing certainly still has a place in raising awareness of your brand, it doesn’t play to the modern consumer’s enthusiasm to research and compare their options. Inbound incorporates this trend to build trusting, long-term relationships with potential clients across all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Remind me, what exactly is Inbound Marketing?
Put simply, inbound marketing aims to draw leads towards your platforms using informative, entertaining, and relevant content that is genuinely helpful to your potential clients.
Adblockers and skip options are making it easier than ever for prospects to tune out traditional advertisements, so having your prospects come directly to you, because you have great answers to their questions, future-proofs your marketing efforts and saves time and money.
Good inbound content answers the questions of prospects and gives them the information they need to make an informed choice.
While outbound marketing interrupts your prospect’s day through more invasive tactics like billboards and cold calls, inbound often looks more like attractive, engaging social media, accessible websites, and educational blog content. Because it’s something your potential customer has sought out,you get greater engagement (and no need to worry about those adblockers). .
Starting on a new marketing strategy can be a significant time investment so, below, we have laid out some of the primary benefits of using inbound. Read on to discover if it could be a good fit for your business goals.
Inbound reduces costs
In the majority of cases, inbound marketing costs less and offers a higher ROI than outbound marketing. According to a recent report by HubSpot, inbound marketing leads actually cost 62% less than outbound leads. They also found that businesses using mainly inbound marketing save over $14(£10) for every new customer acquired.
This makes sense if you consider the costs of something like a billboard advertisement or even a Facebook ad campaign, compared to starting a Twitter account or adding a blog to a website you already pay the hosting for.
There are instances where more money spent can lead to more efficiency or traffic headed towards your websites and social media. You may want to set aside some budget for search engine marketing, a CRM (more on those later), or outsourcing aspects of your content or marketing strategy to see how the professionals do it. Whatever you choose, there are a range of scales and options that you can choose from to suit the needs of your business.
Inbound attracts higher quality traffic
Assuming businesses adjust their SEO strategy to ensure that the right traffic can find them, inbound marketing is shown to attract visitors who are more likely to become leads and customers.
An early part of setting up an inbound marketing strategy is creating 1-3 “buyer personas”. These are profiles of several ideal customers for your product, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic (e.g. motivations and goals) details. Having these clear in the mind of your content creators allows you to aim their posts and keywords towards very specific audiences at specific points in their journey towards becoming customers. An example of this could be creating a video reviewing several different wedding venue options, aimed at attracting engaged young professional women at the “consideration” stage of their journey.
Focusing on particular subsections of the public means that the people who are drawn towards your content are the ones most likely to be interested in your solutions from the start. And that means that your traffic is already more likely to be a higher quality lead, more likely to convert into a lead in the first place, and more likely to fit your ideal customer profile.
Inbound increases trust in your brand
In decades past, potential clients would have to phone or physically visit several vendors to compare products and prices. Buying into the first deal that sounded reasonable was all many consumers had the time to do. Now, with a click of a button, anyone can access lists of your competitors, reviews of your products, and information about what additional features best suit their wants and requirements.
By being the one who provides that information, you can take control of the conversation and be seen as a voice of authority. The trick is to willingly talk about everything your prospects want to know – including pricing, alternatives, comparisons, reviews, and even the drawbacks.
If you provide content that is relevant to the kind of people you’re selling to, not only will they visit your site but they’ll return to it and share it with others – plus other sites may link back to your website to share the information further. If this happens, you will also become more visible in search engine results, as Google processes you as a credible source.
When your site becomes a space where your audience knows they can access unbiased information about your specialist area, they are more likely to trust you with their contact information and, ultimately, their business. Plus, talking about the drawbacks means people will self-select out of your funnel if they’re not the right fit – which takes us back to that higher-quality benefit, too.
Inbound educates your prospects
Creating relevant and educational content for your consumers has many benefits. For one, as we just covered, it means prospects see your business as a voice of assistance and authority, building brand credibility. If your free content was useful to them, then surely the content behind a paywall or form must be at least equally as valuable (and that content is where you start to capture lead information).
For another, it means that by the time your traffic become leads, they are more likely to already know about what you do, your USPs and why you might be an asset to them, smoothing the way for the sale. If those leads become customers, they may also have fewer misconceptions about what you can do for them, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction.
On top of that, if your content is unbiased and educational, you can expect your visitors to have more insight into the industry or sector as a whole, and probably more understanding of what they need in a solution. The more educated your audience, the easier the job of your sales team.
Inbound provides data and greater measurability
A large advantage when it comes to inbound marketing is how measurable it is – when you do everything digitally, it’s much easier to track all of your important metrics. With the use of a CRM such as HubSpot, you can find out which posts are doing well, which emails are being opened, where your website traffic came from, and at what point conversions are occurring. It also allows you to set goals in terms of leads, traffic, and revenue, and monitor how close you are to achieving them.
In summary, having access to this data helps you to analyse what’s working about the journey your buyers are making and where you need to make improvements. The record of interactions with your leads, and the information gained about them through landing pages, also allows you to identify which are most likely to become future clients. This means that you can prioritise your time around following up with the best-qualified leads.
Inbound adds automation and saves you time
If you’re worried about how much time it may take to create content and nurture leads, good news! Overall, your team will have much less admin to keep them busy.
When leads are being attracted towards you, you can start to use workflows in your CRM to automatically segment them and analyse their qualification as leads according to the criteria you input, meaning less time is lost on consumers who are never going to become clients.
Automation can also be organised to trigger emails to particular groups of your potential clientele when they reach certain milestones, so you only have to set up emails once instead of manually keeping track and touching base with different leads.
You would be amazed at how many day-to-day processes HubSpot can automate. This frees up time for your team to work on the parts of the buyer’s journey where the personal touch really matters - such as closing sales, creating content, and engaging on social or live chat.
Inbound is accessible to businesses of all sizes
If you’re a small business, even local outbound strategies like radio ads or distributing flyers may be beyond your current resources. In contrast, simple inbounding strategies like setting up approachable social media are often in the naught-to-low price range and can be done on a basic level with relatively little effort. As your business grows, the scale of your inbound marketing efforts can become more ambitious, fitting with the time and assets at your disposal. This could include outsourcing or hiring a professional to create your content and optimise your SEO, putting resources into creating more dynamic content such as video, and so on.
Because the traffic gained through inbound marketing is so easy to monitor and the costs of adding new content are low, it also gives you more license to get creative and find out what works in a low-risk way. An experimental advertising campaign failing to provide the return you hoped for can be financially devastating, but if you’ve tried a new type of post that has failed to create more leads, the idea can be refined or deleted at an early stage.
Inbound nurtures your leads and your customers
In most cases, only a maximum of 10% of your leads will be in the position to make a purchase immediately. This leaves you with plenty of leads who have shown an interest in hearing more from you before deciding on becoming a customer, so nurturing your leads is critical. Historically, this has been done through sending out strings of carbon-copy emails to leads, but research has shown that closer targeting can have a dramatic effect.
Because it works from buyer personas, inbound marketing means you can target specific subsections of your leads with content and offers which feel personalised, helping them to feel valued and stay engaged with your content. On average, prospective clients receive 10 marketing touches before converting to customers (this varies quite a bit by industry) so it's important to make sure they stick around for long enough to become convinced that your services are the right route for them.
Your CRM can help to monitor how long it's been since your leads last interacted with you and what they responded to, helping to guide you in the way forward to closing them. Additionally, they make it simple to implement tactics such as personalising mass emails, remembering what information your leads have already submitted, and making sure information is more easily shared between marketing and sales teams
Inbound marketing is based on three stages- attract, convert, close, and delight. Delight is all about going above and beyond for your customers. Delighted customers generate positive word of mouth, bringing in more leads, and are more likely to come to you again. Since research shows that consumers are more likely to trust each other than businesses, this is all great news for your enterprise.