A Proven Method of Attracting Visitors to your Website and Converting them into Potential Clients
Inbound Marketing is a very popular online marketing method of attracting vistors to your business with valuable content. It involves creating a piece of content such as a web page, blog article, eBook, slideshow, infographic, video, or anything really. Then sharing this valuable content freely with the world.
The idea is to attract people to your business and establish authority in your realm of expertise. Typically, these people come through channels like search engines and social media. Meaning, customers find you – you don’t find customers.
Once you’ve drawn people to your content, then you would focus on converting visitors into sales leads, turning leads into customers, and customers into evangelists. Essentially, building a list of qualified prospects and clients.
“Inbound Marketing” is a term coined by Hubspot in 2005. In the grand scheme of all the marketing tools available, Inbound Marketing is a fairly new arrival in everyone’s toolbox.
Proof that Inbound Marketing Works
“Really? Do customers just come flocking to my doorstep?”
Well, Inbound Marketing isn’t some magical marketing technique that let’s you sit back on your laurels and watch the sales roll in. But there is proof that it works if you put the time and effort into practicing it.
Here’s some real world statistics about Inbound Marketing from a study performed in 2013:
- 79% of companies with a blog report a positive ROI with their Inbound Marketing
- SEO is one of the top lead generation sources, with 25% finding it produces a below average cost per lead.
- Email marketing produced above average lead conversions for 27% of companies in 2013.
- The average website conversion rate for those practicing Inbound Marketing is 12%. Twice the amount of those who don’t: 6%.
- Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing.
Bare in mind that these statistics were produced by Hubspot, a major proponent of Inbound Marketing. None the less, this is in line with our own personal experience here at the devEdge Internet Marketing office. In fact, we’d be more favourable with our stats in the areas of lead generation and ROI.
Don’t Toss the “Outbound Marketing” Baby Out with the Bath Water
We’ve now established that Inbound Marketing is viable and quite effective. Does that mean we should redirect all of our marketing dollars into it? Of course not!
There is an absurd debate going on in the marketing world of Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing. This is just the silliest debate because both methods are valid. However, some heavy supporters of Inbound Marketing continue to state that you should cease all outbound marketing activities (like direct mail, advertising, cold calling, etc…).
Inbound Marketing is just a new tool for inside your marketing toolbox – not a replacement toolbox.
As the old adage goes: “Don’t toss the baby out with the bath water.”
Where Inbound Marketing Falls Short
If you plan on practicing Inbound Marketing then you need to know a few of the less glamorous things about it. No marketing technique is without it’s drawbacks.
- Plan on spending a lot of time creating content around your area of expertise. You can, of course, hire content creation out. But only to a certain extent (you’ll still need to review everything and largely generate the content topics). ROI estimates for Inbound Marketing rarely include the value of your time.
- It takes awhile to really start rolling. Don’t expect to create some content today and watch the leads roll in tomorrow. It can take months before you might see the impact of your efforts.
- Inbound Marketing only targets people researching or already seeking your services. In other words, if people don’t know that they need your offer – and they’re not even searching for a solution – then you won’t ever grasp that portion of your market.
Point number 3 may sound weak because it’s tough to sell to someone who isn’t aware of the problem. However, it’s still your job to tell people what the problem is. Or, realize that a person may not perceive the problem to be important enough to spend time researching it online. Inbound Marketing doesn’t reach out to people by its very definition.
The bottom-line is that you need to counteract some of the weak points of Inbound Marketing. Good news is that there is another highly proven and effective marketing technique that does just that.
What is it?! Well, stay tuned for part 2 of this series where we delve into Direct Marketing.
What are your Thoughts?
No doubt you’ve got some thoughts and experiences with Inbound Marketing. Has your Inbound Marketing efforts paid off for you? What has your experience been like? Leave your thoughts below.