“If you build it, they will come.” Sorry, Kevin Costner, but in the world of online marketing and lead generation, it’s not enough to simply build a website. Yes, inbound marketing delivers a below-average cost per lead versus outbound strategies. However, in order to benefit from these cost savings, your business needs a concrete online lead generation strategy that drives traffic to your website and boosts conversion rates.
Inbound marketing works for B2B
How so? Let's look at the quick facts here.
- 54% more leads are generated by inbound tactics than traditional paid marketing. (HubSpot) Tweet This
- 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. If you think inbound marketing is not for B2B companies, you are definitely mistaken. (Content Marketing Institute) Tweet This
- 93% of purchase cycles begin with online research, making SEO a VITAL piece of marketing strategy for businesses across all spectrums. Sufficed to say, if you rank in search engines poorly, chances are you're not getting found by your target market. (Marketo) Tweet This
- 451% is the average increase in qualified leads, experienced by companies that use marketing automation for lead nurturing. (Annuitas Group) Tweet This
- 62% less cost per lead is the average savings inbound marketing businesses experience compared to their traditional marketing counterparts. (CMO) Tweet This
You got my attention, now how do I pursue inbound marketing effectively?
1. Create – and follow – a clear strategy.
Don’t leave anything to chance. Whether your goal is to build an opt-in email list or increase trial subscriptions, every aspect of your inbound marketing strategy should reinforce this goal. This starts by knowing your company’s current marketing ROI, clearly defining your goals and KPIs and putting tracking elements in place to enable you to adjust your inbound marketing strategies accordingly.
According to Hubspot, one out of three companies fail to calculate overall marketing ROI. If you don’t know your current ROI, this makes it difficult to establish clear goals for future performance. Use these numbers to develop a clear strategy. Where is your business today? Where does it need to go?
2. Track your performance.
One of the biggest differences between inbound marketing and traditional marketing is the ability to measure and analyze every step of the way. When it comes to measuring the success of your inbound marketing strategy, analytics are your best friend.
Start by establishing a clear bottom line. How are your inbounding marketing pages currently performing in terms of click-through rates (CTR) and conversions? In order to improve your strategy, you must first know what’s working and what’s not. Only 15% of marketers tie inbound results directly to the number of customers generated. Don’t let that happen to your business: use metrics and delve into analytics to measure the pages on your site that assist in conversions and improve the pages that are underperforming.
3. Nurture your leads.
Inbound marketing enables you to convert leads at any given moment in the marketing funnel, and nurture the ones that aren't quite ready to close the deal. Create campaigns leveraged by workflows and content to foster the relationship between you and your target market. Take advantage of predicitive lead scoring tools so you can track the progress of prospects and leads along the way and implement the best possible strategy for nurturing depending on where they are in the buyer's journey.
Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry by discussing things that matter to your audience and proactively engaging with your prospects, wherever they may be on the buyer's cycle.
4. Make it about the customer. Every time.
Offer value. At the end of the day, inbound marketing is all about bringing value to a your leads and prospects. Traditional “outbound” marketing (e.g., TV ads, direct mail pop-up ads, search spam, etc.) tend to be brand-centric and intrusive to prospects.These tactics are all about being louder, bolder, and flashier. Driven by budget and repetition, the ads bring little value to a customer’s life.
Inbound marketing takes a different approach. Inbound marketing earns attention organically by creating and distributing content of real value. From blogs, to free whitepapers, to active social media campaigns -- these tactics work when companies make it about the customer and not about them. Don't hound your prospects; let them come to you.
The Magic of Inbound Marketing
Effective inbound marketing campaigns start with content-rich, customer-focused material and a streamlined marketing funnel. For success, however, companies must understand that inbound marketing is not a separate channel like email or TV advertising, but a holistic approach to building long-term customer relationships. By integrating this approach into all aspects of your company, you not only generate more leads (and customers), but you also turn your customers into promoters.
For years, outbound marketing strategies were the only true option for reaching new customers. This meant big marketing campaigns with an equally big price tag – squeezing out many small business owners. Inbound marketing is a cost-efficient, organic, and effective alternative, but as with any business pursuits, sucess happens when your business understands its marketing goals and creates a clear strategy for achieving them.