Is your marketing pointing in or out?
Any business that deals with high dollar values, long sales processes and research cycles and knowledge-based products can benefit from inbound marketing.
Through the creation of (mostly) original content - blog posts, case studies, podcasts, enewsletters, social media content, white papers, videos, photos – a company can generate leads, enhance brand visibility, and promote expertise.
In a nutshell, how it works:
1. Attract traffic
2. Convert visitors to leads
3. Convert leads to sales
4. Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
5. Analyse for continuous improvement
The opposite of Inbound Marketing is Outbound Marketing that employs tactics such as cold calling, direct mail, advertising, sales brochures, and telemarketing that are sent to prospective customers. Inbound on the other hand, draws the audience in with its visible, easy to find, interesting content.
In its research report, 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot revealed that nearly 60% of marketers have adopted inbound marketing strategies and more than 80% of those executing inbound marketing have integrated it into broader company goals. People are also investing more in inbound, as budgets for this strategy have grown nearly 50% in each of the past three years.
Furthermore, 41% of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable ROI, and a whopping 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing.
I have been doing a bit of content creation for one particularly switched on organisation who have had a number of inbound marketing programs on the go for some time and the results (ROI) have been staggering (marketing results with a dollar figure ... how delicious!) An added bonus is the feedback they receive on the assets (article, White Paper, Slide Show, Infographic) is usually really positive and many of their recipients have expressed how much they look forward to receiving them.
In short: not only are Inbound Marketing pieces conversation starters, they are educational and incite targets to begin the research/purchasing process. In shorter: they're totes brilliant.
Rules for Inbound Marketing Pieces:
- Educate and inform – don’t sales pitch (save that for your brochures)
- However, include a one-line call to action that invites those interested in the topic to contact you directly to find out how their business can benefit from the topic to hand.
- Keep the messages simple, the jargon to a minimum and throw in some juicy words to keep it beguiling (ie. using words you don’t read every day makes the piece more interesting)
- Pick topics that are relevant to your expertise
- Keep the layout reader-friendly and vary it (lists are great, so are infographics, as well as short, easy to digest paragraphs.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss how your company can use inbound marketing to attract and retain customers and enhance your brand.
(See what I did there?)