Is Inbound Marketing for You?

By November 6, 2013Inbound Marketing
Aspects of inbound marketing

 
I’ll admit it. I’m the poster child for those who are most resistant to change. Taking risks is as foreign to my make-up as a healthy choice menu is to KFC. I like the comfort of the familiar. Fewer ulcers and less stress, you know—all those things made my choice fairly easy.

For many years, I felt this way about having to change to the latest marketing strategies. Just when I thought I was arriving at a level of competency in one, the next new thing hit the streets. Pushing this analogy—why should I drive the Tesla when the tried and true Chevy still gets me from point A to point B?

That was exactly my reaction when our COO said that interruptive marketing was going away, and inbound marketing is the way to go. This relatively new kid on the marketing block takes more to implement than simply buying space in the right media venues. Why would anyone want to change from the good life of simply selecting a media plan and budgeting accordingly?

In one word, the reason is “change.” Customers are not the same as they were in the advertising era of Mad Men. They are much smarter and have more ways to shut off your marketing message than ever before. It’s only when they truly need your product or service that they look you up, and usually online.

For those unfamiliar with inbound marketing, its leading guru HubSpot defines it as a marketing method that “focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then covert, close and delight over time.”

This method of marketing requires you to understand the type of buyers who benefit most from your products or services. It helps you get to know the best customers who will help your business grow. After these are identified, you can create and communicate the content they need.

For example, let’s say you are a construction firm. You soon realize that many of your customers do not understand the construction process and would appreciate more information to help them through it. You could offer them a guide of your collected wisdom and experience. Make it available through your website, social media, and other sources with appropriate channels to respond. This not only shows helpfulness but also positions you as an expert in your field. Simply put, it builds trust between you and your most valued commodity—your customers.

When implemented correctly, inbound marketing has helped thousands of companies and not-for-profit organizations increase their leads, boost closing rates, and improve revenue. Forrester Research documents that companies that excel at the kind of lead nurturing associated with successful inbound marketing campaigns generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower costs.

However, certain types of organizations adapt to inbound marketing more easily. If you require instant leads/sales within the month, inbound marketing is not the best choice. It is not a quick solution to a sales downturn. Instead, it is a sustainable, long-term, and efficient method of generating leads.

Inbound marketing works best with organizations that already use a process in which sales and marketing work cooperatively. This partnership and lead-nurturing process are key to inbound success.

This kind of marketing will not replace personal relationships and networking. All the posts, blogs, and emails will not take the place of the confidence and trust associated with human interaction. This personal element is, in fact, a vital part of the inbound approach.

Finally, if your organizational structure is resistant to change and is fearful of the risk involved in implementing new strategies, inbound marketing is not for you. It requires a commitment and—just ask me—a willingness to realize that change can be good.

Is your company a good candidate for inbound marketing?

Think about the knowledge base your organization possesses. What areas do customers most frequently inquire about? Do any trends or topics need to be addressed? How can your expertise provide helpful assistance?

It’s time we take that new Tesla for a test drive.

Jeff Secaur
Jeff Secaur
Community Manager
Learn more about Jeff!
 

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