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Inbound Marketing: As CEO, Here’s What You Need to Know
There is no question that the internet has fundamentally changed society, the economy, and even basic human behavior. Never before has so much information been available so quickly to so many. Got a question about any topic under the sun? Just “Google it.”
We’ve all heard it innumerable times: “content is king.” And that still holds true, now more than ever. So much content is now available – as much as 4.6 billion pieces of new content are produced daily – that consumers and businesses now do a significant proportion of their purchasing research online.
This sea-change in information-gathering has exponentially increased the value of any business’s online presence. It is now more important than ever for companies and organizations to focus their time, energy, and budgets on optimizing their websites, online profiles, blogs and other internet opportunities. The reality is this: if you’re not found online, you don’t exist.
And that’s where Inbound Marketing comes in.
If you’re in business, it’s hard to avoid hearing about Inbound Marketing. That’s because it’s highly effective at achieving visibility and thought leadership to create a competitive advantage for firms of all sizes.
So what exactly is Inbound Marketing? It’s a sales and marketing methodology that uses content to attract and engage a target audience, encourage a relationship, and convert leads into customers. Unlike traditional marketing tools such as mass media advertising that push messages out to a mass audience, inbound marketing draws prospects in – capturing their attention and interest with content that provides valuable information to them. Rather than hoping to stimulate a passive audience into action, Inbound Marketing garners the active attention of prospects already interested in what you have to offer. Their online searches have led them to your content which piques their interest because it has the potential to satisfy their wants and needs.
In short, the benefits of Inbound Marketing include:
Cost-effectiveness Whether you’re an SMB or a large enterprise, Inbound Marketing costs approximately 70 percent less than traditional advertising. That means even a small budget can pack a big punch.
Longevity The goal of Inbound Marketing is to build relationships with prospects with the goal of converting leads into customers. By engaging prospects in an ongoing dialog, you’re creating a number of “touch points” in the relationship over a period of time – far different than the hit-or-miss, short-term impact of traditional outbound marketing programs.
Broader or more focused area of impact – your choice One of the beauties of the internet is that it knows no geographic boundaries. Your content is available to a target audience down the street and around the globe. You can even tweak various aspects of your inbound campaign to attract slightly different audiences based on their interests and locations. That kind of focus and segmentation is simply not available with mass media.
Immediacy Nothing approaches the immediacy of the internet. Post a promotional offer to social media and watch the “likes” and reactions pour in. That kind of real-time input enables you to quickly modify and optimize your campaign in response.
Greater visibility and awareness The right content enables you to demonstrate your expertise, building visibility and brand awareness with your target audience. The internet is the great equalizer – you can appear to be an industry leader offering more value than competitors twice your size if your message resonates with your audience.
Even if all the clients and prospects to whom you need to market are already in your database, Inbound Marketing can be an influential and ongoing contributor to your sales and marketing efforts. Smart marketers use content, social selling, and their online visibility as experts and thought leaders to impact the decision-making and purchasing process of existing as well as new customers. The right content, available any time online, can influence purchases -- even when you’re not actively marketing.
And because Inbound Marketing fosters ongoing customer relationships and conversations, you can actively “listen” to the marketplace and respond to industry trends and activities with new offers, promotions, and product/service upgrades to encourage both new and repeat sales.
More measurable metrics.
Unlike traditional marketing methodologies that have an indirect impact on a business, Inbound Marketing is highly measurable. It is a quality and quantity metrics-driven methodology. With Inbound marketing you can create a “marketing funnel” similar to a sales funnel and track the journey of visitors and prospects through it. The data it can provide will enable you to tweak your marketing campaigns to yield higher conversion rates and turn more leads into sales.
Your Inbound Marketing efforts can provide valuable data from a wide range of metrics including:
- Leads generated
- Visit-to-lead percentage
- Lead-to-marketing qualified lead (MQL) percentage
- Leads presented-to-leads worked percentage
- Leads worked-to-leads connected percentage
- MQL-to-opportunity percentage
- Opportunity-to-customer percentage
- Lead-to-customer percentage
- Average deal size
Try getting all that from a traditional advertising campaign.
Achieve greater efficiency through automation.
All of this looks like a lot of work, right? Fortunately, there’s automation. Many of the Inbound Marketing steps and processes can be effectively implemented with marketing automation tools. For example, behavior-based lead scoring enables sales and marketing to identify which prospects are engaging the most. Based on their actions, automatic email-nurturing gives prospects the information they need when they need it since automation never sleeps. Automated user-engagement monitoring alerts your marketing and sales teams whenever social engagement occurs with your company, your content, or your competitors. Automation enables your team to focus on high-value, human-touch elements to improve the ROI of your marketing investment.
The most effective and cost-efficient sales and marketing solutions are both measurable and easily scalable to provide the best results and ROI. The Inbound Marketing methodology has been honed to a best-practices process that addresses the needs of the modern buyer, providing valuable, actionable information when, where, and how the buyer wants to receive it. Unlike traditional methods that push relatively inflexible, generic messages out to an apathetic audience, Inbound Marketing enables you to open a dialog with interested prospects who have found you based on online searches to address their wants and needs. In short, they are already predisposed to engage with you.
Just as important, Inbound Marketing provides you, as a decision-maker and stakeholder, with the ability to monitor, measure, and analyze marketing campaign results using data gathered from a wide range of metrics based on your specific requirements. The insights this kind of real-time information can provide are invaluable for driving business growth and profitability. As you as a CEO take your next step to research the impact of Inbound Marketing on businesses, please consider downloading the research report (The State of Inbound 2017) that provides insight into how businesses around the globe have gained benefit from Inbound.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo