It’s trendy. It’s measurable. It’s attractive—both as a business marketing strategy and to potential leads. Yup, we’re talking about inbound marketing.
Standing in contrast to traditional methods, inbound marketing centers on creating and sharing valuable content that interests and captures the attention of your intended audience. Inbound marketing attracts, converts, closes, and delights your ideal customer market.
Think of it this way: Inbound marketing appeals to buyers through your education and interaction. Traditional or “outbound” (also dubbed as “interruptive”) marketing appeals to customers through your sparkle and/or repetitiveness. Customers come to you instead of you going to them.
Inbound uses a combination of written and media techniques to create one uniform campaign that establishes you as a leader in your industry and as a solution to your customers needs. Examples of content formats include: blogs, ebooks, calls-to-actions, landing pages, visual content, and social media.
Let’s dive into these a bit:
- Blogs drive traffic to your landing pages using calls-to-action that take readers to premium content offers. From there, you convert visitors into leads.
- Ebooks can educate potential customers, establish your industry expertise, and move leads through the inbound process.
- Calls-to-actions (CTAs) are lines of text or images that provide clear action steps, and are instrumental in increasing conversion rates while guiding the visitor through the process of becoming a customer.
- Landing pages are how individuals become leads by providing their basic information on your website. Great care must be taken to drive traffic to landing pages to achieve optimum conversion rates—giving you the greatest return on investment possible.
- Visual content, such as video or imagery, increases effectiveness by attracting the eye, encouraging viewers to linger and engage.
- Social media allows customers to interact with the relevant and interesting content you post. Consistency in posting prevents your customers from forgetting about you.
The debate of whether to fully use inbound marketing generally brings about a lot of “how” and “why” questions:
Why should any business consider inbound marketing?
- Inbound marketing delivers 54 percent more leads than traditional outbound marketing. —WebDam
- It costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing. —Demand Metric
How does it attract customers?
- 68 percent of people spend time reading about brands that interest them. —Demand Metric
- 57% of all buying decisions are made before a person ever contacts a company’s sales force. —Half a Bubble Out
- 80 percent of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content. —Demand Metric
- Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. —Business 2 Community
- 6 out of 10 say that after reading a custom publication, they feel like they know more and feel better about the company. —The Content Council
- 60 percent of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. —Demand Metric
- Two-thirds of consumers say the information provided by custom media helps them make better purchase decisions. More than half say they are more willing to buy another product from a company that provides them with custom media. —The Content Council
How does it measure success?
- 60 percent of B2B marketers use web traffic to measure success —Demand Metric
- 63% of marketers use website traffic as an indicator of content marketing success. —Content Marketing Institute
How does social media fit?
One of the best techniques to proclaim your message and attract customers is through social media. At 212 Media Studios, we like to say that it’s word of mouth on steroids. When combined with your marketing strategy, social media is a powerful way to:
- Expand your brand.
- Connect with people.
- Encourage them to buy your product.
- Allow them to interact with your story.
- Give them what they want, where they want it.
Check out these stats to see why social media works so well today:
- The most common content marketing tactic is social media, used by 87% of marketers. —Content Marketing Institute
- 78 percent of small businesses attract new customers through social media. —Relevanza
- Top indicators of content marketing success are traffic, quality leads, social shares, and SEO. —Content Marketing Institute
- 61 percent of Generation Y checks social media before deciding where to go when “going out.” —Relevanza
We’ve experienced this kind of success with our clients. For example, “Cardinal Services came to us with only 500 likes on Facebook,” says Dustin Hickle, 212’s Marketing Strategist and Social Media Director. “Within a year, our social media strategists grew it to over 2,550. Additionally, whereas they usually received only seven likes on a picture, they now get an average of 40. They used to reach 165 people per post, but now regularly reach over 1,000. We also added Twitter to their social media strategy, as it connected to followers who might actually volunteer or donate to them.”
Additionally, our social media work for Cardinal Services is credited for the increase in the number of volunteers and helping keep employees up-to-date. They have also seen an increase in overall giving, specifically coming from online donations.
A previous study by BlackBaud and NTEN and CommonKnowledge put the value of a Facebook like at $214.81 for non-profits and organizations that are fundraising. This calculation is based on total revenue received from a supporter over the 12 months following their acquisition. In our Cardinal Services example above, the growth in awareness is worth over $400,000!
Using inbound marketing, either in combination with or as the only strategy, benefits many companies. However, it isn’t for everyone. “It’s a good idea to have a method for capturing leads on your website no matter what your business does,” says Hickle. “But for industries in which partnership decisions are made strictly on the cost of an RFQ (request for quote), the value of inbound marketing is limited.
Your business may not work well with inbound marketing if you’ve already constructed excellent brand awareness over the years. “Think of companies like Apple, Microsoft, and McDonald’s—they’ve built their brands over the decades with strong marketing and advertising efforts,” says 212’s Chief Marketing Officer, David Phelps. “Starting an inbound marketing program may not add the level of value to them as to a smaller, younger, and less visible company. Every business is different, and every marketing need is different.”
We get that you’re busy doing what you do best, trying to run your business. Implementing new marketing strategies like inbound is probably on your “someday” wish list.
You’re not alone—and that’s where we come in. Remember, 62 percent of companies outsource their content marketing (Demand Metric).
212 Media Studios offers a variety of social media packages, each with a personalized strategy for your business. Every plan is crafted individually. We determine, highlight, and target the social media platforms that are ideal for you and your clients. While one platform does not fit all, we know how to use and optimize each of them. We take the time for you to strategize and implement your plan. All you have to do is approve it and give us some information.
Often, and depending on the kind of business, a mix of outbound and inbound marketing can be the perfect formula to draw in customers. As a full-service marketing agency, 212 Media Studios can also help in this area—inbound marketing is just one type of expertise that we offer. Check out how we can strengthen your marketing efforts here.