Depending on your age and/or mindset, you could be skeptical about the concept of Inbound Marketing. To many, it’s still a newfangled marketing approach.
But given its growth and success in recent years, business owners and leaders who are frustrated with their (slow) growth and/or marketing platform inefficiencies should explore Inbound Marketing as a methodology.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a way to market without being intrusive -- without pushing products or services in the face of the strangers you would like to turn into customers. The methodology is based on attracting visitors by providing helpful information (gobs of free content), converting them into leads, nurturing the relationship until the lead becomes a customer and, ultimately, making the buyer so happy they serve as promoters of your brand/product/service.
This approach makes sense for a number of reasons:
- Buyers want to be in control. We want to research and educate ourselves -- online, naturally -- before we talk to a salesperson.
- What worked in the past doesn't work well today. As buyers we don't want cold emails or cold calls that are all about the seller. (Don't you screen cold calls?)
- A warm lead is better than a cold lead. If a buyer reaches out to you, they already have some interest in what you offer.
- Inbound helps build trust. If your audience sees that you continually create useful content, and you operate in a professional manner, they will have more respect for you from the start.
- It shortens the sales cycle. By the time you and the buyer connect live, they are already warmed up to the idea of what you offer.
- You’ll get a lot of mileage from your content. Once your content is posted, it's evergreen and available to prospects 24/7, as opposed to your salespeople serving as the sole source of information.
- It's less expensive. While it is a big investment early on to launch an inbound marketing program, it's still less expensive than hiring outbound sales reps who can't accomplish the same results.
Who Needs Inbound?
Inbound Marketing isn’t right for every company. Nor is an Outbound strategy. In this post Brafton’s Dominick Sorrentino explores whether a mix of the two approaches – he refers to them as Push and Pull Marketing -- is what we all need. And while (spoiler alert) he says we ideally need both, he also acknowledges the impressive metrics of Inbound.
If you’ve heard some of the incredible success stories of companies that have migrated to an Inbound marketing methodology, it’s understandable why you’re looking into it. As you do your research, consider the factors below to help determine if it is potentially a good fit for your business:
- If traditional ways of promoting your products/services are no longer as effective as they once were
- If the selling cycle for your products/services takes place over one month or more
- If your clients and prospects are active online – reading, downloading resources, engaged in social media – in an effort to educate themselves or explore solutions to problems
If the pros of Inbound are starting to add up, the next step is to have a chat about your business with an Inbound Marketing specialist. There are a healthy number of them around the globe (ahem), which means help is readily available.