The internet is changing the way customers perform research to address problems or implement solutions. They want relevant information when they search for a product or service. Consumers and B2B businesses find reviews and educational information before making a purchase. Companies who haven’t implemented a digital marketing strategy and plan will be left behind their competitors who have invested in online marketing programs. Marketing consulting firms are a great resource to help you to develop and implement your digital strategy and make sure that your marketing plans produce results that help accelerate the growth of your business.
An inbound marketing consultant has extensive experience and specialized skills to help your business integrate your marketing plan with your business goals while focusing on the most efficient methods. The experience gained from implementing many online marketing programs gives the consultant direct and relevant experience about techniques that work and those that don't. What's more, the internet is constantly changing. New competitors pop up every day and are not limited by geographical boundaries which means new competitors could pop up at a moments notice. A good consultant will not only understand digital marketing but also have knowledge about how to drive demand online and techniques to test and determine consumer behavior with your online content.
There has been a shift in marketing methods for online success. You can no longer simply wave your banner about your business, or just place static website pages (like a web page as a data sheet) on the internet and expect customers to come to you and engage with your brand. Your business has to shift its marketing tactics to account for how people are behaving online. They want information and are looking for answers to problems they have or interesting educational topics. You can provide this information through a methodology called inbound marketing to set yourself apart from the competition and nurture them until they are ready to buy.
Outbound marketing is the traditional method of marketing. A business sends out the message, postcard, direct mail and hopes to reach customers and gain their attention. Your company initiates the conversation, either through cold calls, radio and television advertising or email lists. Mainly, you hope and pray for leads to follow up from these outbound attempts and close sales. Some people refer to outbound marketing as "interruption marketing" because that is what it is. Let's be clear, we are not saying that sales should not pick up the phone and call prospects, that is an essential part of any business, but the efficiency of cold calling has significantly reduced over the past several years. To learn strategies to overcome sales outreach challenges, check out our Inbound Sales Enablement page for ways to improve the performance and efficiency of your sales team.
Inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing. Your business creates relevant and helpful information to attract customers that answers questions they have or explain techniques that address their problems. Instead of offering advertising that is flashy and intrusive, your organization allows your customers to find you through different channels, such as search engines, social media, all the while attracting them to your blog and premium digital content. Your business sets itself apart as a reliable and trustworthy organization, pulling in potential prospects and building a relationship with them. Once the engagement with educational content builds, all outreach by your sales teams become "warm" and much more productive allowing them to address the prospect's needs with your products or services and convert them into customers.
Inbound marketing is permission-based. One of the earliest methods of inbound marketing was the Yellow Pages back when the internet did not exist. Customers searched for your business by name or by category and they called your company or your competitor. Today, social media, blogging, eBooks, Infographics are just some of the tactics in the inbound marketer's toolbox that work. According to a recent Hubspot, study, 67% of surveyed B2B companies rated Inbound Marketing as a top three or a very high priority component of their overall marketing strategy.
Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” When you have a strategy for inbound marketing, every dollar spent (or internal action to support it) has a higher impact on a business operational results. You will get more for your investment by focusing on the highest payoff tactics for your business. We recommend aligning the inbound strategy with your most effective sales motions for each particular target customer. See our other articles about inbound marketing strategy.
Without a clear inbound marketing strategy, your competitors will dominate searches on Google or Bing and be more prominent on social media. Potential customers will find competitor businesses before discovering yours. The first position in Google search results, whether on desktop or mobile, gains the most click through rate versus positions lower on the page. Furthermore, search results on page 2 of search and later get negligible visibility and click through rates. See the graph below from Advanced Web Ranking to see how low the click through rates drop based on search position. This chart shows the impact by number of words in the search term. So what did we learn? It takes a targeted plan to make sure your business earns a position at the top of search results.
If you are devoting a lot of time and effort towards digital marketing without a plan, you are likely to spin your wheels and waste much of your marketing investment. The industry has changed a lot in the past couple of years. You need a marketing strategist who understands the opportunities available to your business and who knows how to target an online approach and select the best tactics to meet your goals and budget.
Technical analysts often focus on traffic to your site, instead of looking at conversion rates. Top marketing consulting firms will work on getting visitors to your site who want to buy your product or service and improve the conversions from visitors into leads. Please keep in mind that in order to optimize an online presence a business needs the right metrics. Check out our recommendation for inbound marketing tools that enable you to focus on what you want, to grow your business.
Your brand is the foundation of your business. When your business is able to clearly communicate what your brand stands for, your customers will understand the value you have to offer. It's like building an online personality that engage visitors and is similar to the best receptionist that greets each visitor warmly. Inbound marketing can help you uniquely represent your brand and differentiate your company. Read this great article about Inbound Marketing and Brand.
There are many techniques that can be applied to your online marketing program. A marketing consulting firm with experience in inbound marketing will know which elements to start with first to create a solid online foundation to build upon and then recommend the next steps to improve results over time. They understand that sometime you must insert paid search into the mix to generate immediate results and when to focus instead on optimizing the experience funnel your visitors enter to learn about your business.
Your digital marketing strategy is vital to your business, but you cannot simply throw information onto your website and social media pages without having a plan. You want to draw the buyer in and take them on a journey that provides confidence in their purchase of your product and engagement with your business.
A marketing consulting firm can help you take your business to another level by implementing inbound marketing in a way that works for your organization. Inbound Marketing is not the only area where businesses should evolve the way they engage with modern buyer. Sales must evolve the way they perform outreach to prospects too. To learn why, download the research report titled "Buyers Speak Out: How Sales Must Evolve in the Modern Age."
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering a complete complement of Inbound services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer online. Reach out to us to learn about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.