If you are searching for ways to generate more leads for your business, it’s more than likely that you’ve come across the term “inbound marketing.” It has quickly become the most effective method for doing business online.
Despite its overwhelming success, many small business owners have no idea what it is, let alone if an inbound marketing strategy can help build their business.
What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is a proven marketing methodology for the digital age. Inbound marketing focuses on the development of quality content that pulls people toward your company and product. This modern-day approach to marketing attracts the targeted traffic to your website by creating relevant content aimed at your buyer personas, or fictionalized representations of your ideal customers. The goal is to develop qualified leads for your sales team so you can improve conversion rates.
For a more thorough overview of inbound marketing, visit Everything You Need To Know About Inbound Marketing. This article covers a lot more topics and how you should use them in your business.
To answer the question of whether an inbound marketing strategy can help build your business, you must first analyze the state of your business to better understand your needs and goals.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Change is difficult and ALWAYS begins with a little introspection.
Take a few moments and work through these questions to determine the state of your business and your perspective as a business owner.
Go slowly and really answer them honestly.
- Do your products or services require a level of education before a purchase is made?
- Do you have a sales cycle that is longer than just a few minutes?
- Do your prospects spend time researching your industry and businesses like yours before making a purchase?
- Do your prospects spend time on other industry sites, or association and trade sponsored sites?
- Are your salespeople telling you that they are having difficulty connecting with prospects?
- Are your competitors’ websites ranking higher than yours in Google, Yahoo and Bing?
- Are your customers saying to you, “I didn’t know you had that service or product?”
- Are you finding that traditional advertising like print, trade shows, yellow pages and direct mail are showing diminished returns?
- Are your prospects spending time on social media outlets like LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups?
- Is the price of your average order above $500?
- Do you want a steady stream of leads over a period of time?
Reviewing Your Answers
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then inbound marketing most definitely is a good fit for your business.
Answering no to several of them does not mean an inbound marketing strategy will not work for you, however. You may need to look at the questions a little more deeply, since it can be easy to answer a question based on how you think a strategy is working rather than basing your answer on data.
If you answered NO to all of the questions, then it’s highly possible that inbound marketing isn’t right for you. There are absolutely some industries for which it is not right because of short sales cycles, small average price per order, high customer volume, etc.
However, even if you answered no to all of them, I would challenge you to review your prospect's buyer behavior. You might find things have changed.
Why Your Answers May Change?
According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. That means most buyers will do their own online research in the early parts of the buying process BEFORE ever speaking with a company representative.
Another study found that 51% of shoppers who participated in the survey use Google to research a product they are considering purchasing online.
This is because, whether you believe it or not, more and more people are actively doing research via the web, using social media and downloading information on the products and services they want, before they call you.
That’s why it’s important to reach a targeted audience through high-quality, valuable content and strategies like search engine optimization, blog posts, email marketing, call to actions, eBooks and other inbound strategies.
Inbound Marketing Lets You Market To Your Ideal Customer
The more targeted information you can provide to potential customers to help solve challenges they have or provide a solution to a problem, the better chance you have of establishing a level of trust, confidence and ultimately a sale.
The goal of content marketers should be to attract, engage and delight prospective customers, and to solve any pain points they may be experiencing. Think of it like the movie, “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they will come. Create brand awareness that targets your buyer persona, and customers will come.
If you are selling trinkets or low margin, low-cost products, then inbound may not be for you. Pay per click (Google AdWords) marketing or social media advertising may be a better marketing option. By reviewing your business analytics, you can decide which type of marketing is right for your business.
Our article, PPC vs Inbound - Which One Works Best?, in a recent article that compares these two strategies.
Buyer behavior has changed.
Whether you are a B2C, B2B or an e-commerce company, the change in buyer behavior will hit your industry sooner rather than later, if it hasn’t hit already.
Stay abreast of what’s happening in your industry, so you don’t get left behind. Inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and you may find yourself running to catch up to competitors that have already adopted it.
If inbound is right for your company and you delay, you may find yourself so far behind that you may never catch up. Not sure if you should hire an inbound marketing agency? Talk to our inbound marketing agency today, so we can help you start your journey with inbound.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!