HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing agency and proponent of inbound marketing tactics recently released the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. In the 164-page document, data gleaned from nearly 4,000 marketers shows that inbound marketing is a real thing, and is growing steadily across all industries.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing, sometimes known as content marketing, is a marketing strategy in which brands seek customers through customized and relevant information and content. Rather than using disruptive marketing, inbound marketing uses a “pull” versus “push” method – in other words, it’s a customer-focused strategy.
Through the inbound cycle, the brand or marketer uses valuable content and information to follow the lead through the pipeline. And it doesn’t end there. Successful marketers know that they have to engage with the customer after they’re closed to induce loyalty and promoter/influencer-type behavior.
It’s important to note that while some marketers *think* they are using inbound methods, sending emails, tweets or posting blogs and status updates that only aim at pushing a product, service or event is still outbound marketing. Helpful Hint: Try cutting “the pitch” out of all of your messages and aim to help or nurture instead.
Ideas for inbound marketing:
- White Papers or eBooks
- Video (*if filled with value – not advertising and selling)
- Social Media (*if filled with value – not advertising and selling)
- Email (*if filled with value – not advertising and selling)
ROI & Inbound Marketing
Chapter Two of the Report asks the all-important question, “Why Invest in Inbound?” Some of the Key Discoveries HubSpot found were:
- 34% of the leads marketers generated in 2013 came from inbound marketing
- Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the funnel than traditional, outbound leads
- 41% of the marketers surveyed said that inbound marketing produces measurable ROI
- 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI from their efforts
It should be noted, as with other forms of marketing, ROI is still a grey area with marketers, with 34% saying they did not or could not measure ROI on their inbound marketing efforts – although nearly half (41%) of the marketers surveyed were able to produce some sort of ROI.
The idea behind inbound marketing being so successful is that the customer, in a way, has already decided on your company or brand. By nurturing them through the sales funnel with advice and guidance, you have gained their trust and earned authority. And when they’re ready to make a purchase, you should be top of mind.
It’s clear that there is a major shift in marketing. The early adopters of inbound marketing have had the advantage with the swing from traditional marketing to inbound marketing – but there’s still time to join the Consumer Revolution and embrace the “pull” method.
It takes a clear strategy and commitment to the customer to accomplish inbound marketing. And unlike social media and other online and “free” tactics, inbound or content marketing will take a proper budget and tools to effectively market to your potential leads.
It’s time intensive, yes. But if you carefully craft your messages and posts to information that is valuable to your would-be customer, you’ll start to see an effective strategy take shape.
And if you can’t do it on your own or in-house, consider these expert inbound platforms:
What have your experiences been, both as a consumer and as a brand/company, with inbound marketing? Let me know in the comments below!