July 9, 2015

Why is Inbound Marketing so Important?

thumbs-upWhether you have separate teams dedicated to marketing and new business development, or you have one person responsible for both, you need to start an inbound marketing program. What makes inbound so important?

Let’s start with something everyone (especially our b2b clients) realizes: The buyer’s journey has changed. There’s now this Zero Moment of Truth—the moment when a person identifies a problem and then heads to Google to research a solution. If you don’t come up on that first page, chances are your competitors do, and they will snag that lead and eventually that paying customer.

With an inbound (or content) marketing strategy, you focus on being found online during search (by SEO, paid digital media, etc.), driving traffic to your website, having a way for those visitors to convert to leads, then having workflows and automated emails set up to nurture those leads until they are deemed ready for a call from sales. Google puts it this way: “A brand that answers questions at just the right time scores a double win: It helps improve a consumer’s life and stands to gain a competitive advantage over brands that don’t.”

Benefits for the marketer

We all know how important—and how difficult—it is to show the ROI of your strategies. You need to be able to prove the value of your marketing to maintain or increase your budget from year to year. With the right inbound strategy and software, that is now much easier. Inbound helps you lower CAC (customer acquisition cost), track better CPL (cost per lead), show the worth of the marketing assets you’ve created and provide a higher ROI—because the assets you create continue working long after you’ve published them. Inbound marketing costs about 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. Think about it, if I asked you to tell me which direct mail piece you sent out produced a higher ROI, could you?

With inbound, you’re not looking for leads—you’re marketing to leads who are looking for you. You can track each time a lead interacts with you via your website, social media or emails, instead of guessing how many times someone saw your billboard or opened your direct mail piece. The right inbound software enables you to set up campaigns and link keywords, landing pages, social posts and blogs, so you can track how many leads turned into customers from that specific campaign. All of this helps to show the real CAC. You now can see what  is working and how everything is working together instead of having 10 different platforms to create touchpoints with leads and trying to guess how they all are working together to create a new customer.

That same software also lets you see the holes in your strategy. If something isn’t performing like you think it should—maybe one of your emails has a really low open rate or click-through rate—chances are you need to change your copy, or what you are offering isn’t valuable to the lead. You can constantly update your strategy to make sure it’s working as hard as possible for you.

For the new business team

One big thing inbound does is save time—especially if you’re both the marketer and salesperson! Automated workflows are set up to help move the buyer along the sales journey. This isn’t 100% set-it-and-forget-it, but automation means you don’t have to follow up with every single request and interact with what could be a very cold lead. Another advantage is the additional information you can collect during this automated nurturing process. The new business team is now contacting leads who have been deemed SQLs—Sales Qualified Leads. These leads have interacted with your organization in some way, showing interest in your products or services. You’ve been able to gather the information you need to make the first personal outreach a welcomed conversation rather than an interruptive cold call. Think about all the time you’ll save by calling someone who you know has the job title to make the purchase decision, has the budget to afford your product and has already walked through a product demo—all info you’ve collected during the inbound nurturing process. Sounds a little better than calling John Doe at XYZ and having him put you straight to voicemail.

To recap: Inbound strategies can show the ROI of marketing, save time, and lead to better calls that are more welcomed and conversational.

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