Almost every day, I shake my head at just how ineffective outbound marketing can be. I mean, does anyone ever actually listen to radio ads with a pencil in hand to jot down a phone number to call?
Do those glossy direct mail inserts I get every week from roofing companies really bring in business? Even if they do, I know that a whole lot of them end up in recycling bins — and most of those radio ads prompt listeners to change the station.
Inbound marketing is the antidote to all the questionable marketing strategies out there that have been tossed in the trash or left behind when someone changes the channel.
Instead of blasting your message to a wide swath, you can attract potential customers who are much more likely to buy from you.
Think about it:
If you’re a roofing company, would you rather annoy 10,000 homeowners with junk mail or focus on the 50 people in your area who just Googled: “How much does a new roof cost?”
If you can concentrate your marketing efforts on these folks — the ones who are most likely to become new customers — you’re much more likely to generate leads.
And that’s where inbound marketing comes in.
Below, I’ll cover:
- The advantages of inbound marketing (including statistics)
- What it takes to achieve success
- The benefits your business can experience when you go all-in on inbound
Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Advantages of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a digital marketing strategy in which a business organically earns the attention of its ideal buyers.
In other words, these businesses don’t pay for this attention with ads (digital or otherwise). The audience finds the business through a search engine or social media — allowing the company to avoid competing for attention with traditional outbound marketing and advertising campaigns.
This sounds amazing, right?
Instead of duking it out for the attention of ideal buyers via traditional, outbound approaches, we earn the love and affection (and money) of our ideal buyers. They come to us, without us having to chase them.
Inbound marketing sounds simple, but businesses get it wrong every day.
How to do inbound marketing right
To attract that audience, you need high-quality content that they can find. This content could come in many forms: blog articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, ebooks, or something else.
But the operative word here is quality. Your buyers have questions. If a potential customer is searching for something specific in a search engine, you want to provide the relevant content that answers that question and helps them move forward in their buyer’s journey.
Inbound marketing benefits statistics
As you look through these numbers below, keep in mind that while the terms “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” are used interchangeably by the marketing industry, they are not the same.
Content marketing is a tactic underneath the larger inbound marketing umbrella. Video marketing, content promotion via social media and other channels, and email marketing are other examples of inbound marketing tactics.
Now, some stats.
Your target audience is already using the internet to do research before a purchase
- Almost 75% of consumers start their buying journey with a search engine. (Forrester)
- A majority of B2B buyers say they engage with 3-7 pieces of content before connecting with a salesperson.
- Early-stage buyers enjoy listicles, infographics, blogs, and videos.
- Mid-stage buyers prefer assessments, research reports, and case studies.
- Late-stage buyers prefer case studies, third-party reports, and assessments.
(Demand Gen Report 2022 Content Preferences Survey Report)
Companies are committed to inbound marketing
- 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing as part of their overall strategy. (HubSpot)
- The five most common goals for inbound marketers are:
- Creating brand awareness
- Building credibility/trust
- Educating audiences
- Building relationships with existing customers
- Generating demand and capturing leads (B2B Content Marketing 2022 Report)
- About 66% of marketers expect to increase their content marketing budget for next year. (B2B Content Marketing 2022 Report)
- 55% of marketing teams create all of their video content in-house. (Wyzowl)
Inbound marketing is effective
- Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. (HubSpot)
- 83% of online tech buyers found their vendor via Google search. (MarketingSherpa)
- 87% of marketers say video content has increased traffic to their website.
- 81% say that video content has helped increase sales.
- 88% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
(State of Video Marketing 2022 by Wyzowl)
Inbound marketing is a long-term strategy
- After five months of consistent inbound marketing strategy execution, the average cost per lead drops 80%. (Eloqua)
- When inbound marketing tactics are executed properly, they are 10 times more effective for lead conversion, as compared to outbound methods. (Gartner)
But you can only achieve those numbers with inbound marketing if…
You’re willing to put in the work. To go all-in on inbound marketing you need to believe (and commit to) the following six things:
- You understand that, more than anything, no matter what industry you’re in, you’re in the business of building trust. Unbiased, educational content wins the day every time.
- You can’t just blog about anything your heart desires. You need to focus like a laser on the top five inbound marketing business blog topics that are proven to drive traffic, leads, and sales. On top of that, you need to master search engine optimization.
- Your marketing team shouldn’t be the ones coming up with those topics in a vacuum. The best inbound marketing strategies are built upon the foundation of a revenue team, where the sales team drives the direction of content. Through sales, you can use insights from your existing customers to appeal to your potential customers.
- All the inbound content you create then needs to be used by sales through a process called assignment selling, which will help educate buyers and shorten the sales cycle.
- You’ll need to embrace video with a strategy that focuses on the seven types of sales and marketing videos that get results.
- Your website needs to be easy to use, with self-selection tools, transparent pricing pages, and a learning center that helps your website traffic find its way around.
Embracing a true culture of inbound at your company is like getting in shape. It takes time and commitment.
That’s when you see the real benefits of inbound marketing:
You don’t truly see the long-lasting, transformational results with your business through inbound if you don’t commit to doing it the right way. You have to be aligned, top to bottom, with everyone in your company bought-in on inbound as a way of doing business.
Full team alignment
With the inbound methodology, marketing and sales teams can finally hold hands and take long walks along the beach because:
- Sales and marketing teams are fully aligned, trust each other, and have mutual respect. They have an open line of communication, meeting at least once a week.
- Sales understands and sees the value of their role in creating content that drives qualified traffic, leads, and sales.
- Salespeople are more fulfilled and happier in their roles.
- Marketers see more value in their work, taking pride in the direct connection between their inbound marketing strategy, what they produce, and the revenue generated for their company.
Content creation is seen as a collaborative endeavor
The sales team heavily influences the editorial calendar, as well as the priority of which content gets produced and when.
The content being created by your company attracts better, more qualified prospects and customers.
Your team creates content for buyers already in the sales process, not just for attracting new visitors and leads.
The impact on sales can start immediately
It can take a while to attract visitors from search engine results pages, but your content can help your sales team immediately.
When you create content with your customers in mind, that content can be leveraged by salespeople to answer questions and build trust.
Your sales team is able to close more deals faster, because the content you’re creating is empowering them to educate their buyers faster and spend less time with bad-fit prospects.
The sales team is clued in to what new content is being produced and how older content is performing.
In short, the real benefits of inbound marketing aren’t just wins for marketing. True inbound marketing is a sales-focused, full-company initiative where everyone wins, and you can see the results in your bottom line. Heck, even your customers will love it.
Your buyers will find your content with search engines, consume your content, convert on your landing pages, and enter your sales funnel with fewer impediments than ever before.
The purpose of marketing has evolved over the course of many decades, but particularly in the past 10 years, due to advancements in technology and changes in consumer behavior.
Instead of chasing nebulous goals like brand awareness, the purpose of marketing today is to generate revenue for a brand, company, or organization. Marketing professionals and teams achieve this through the execution of strategic digital activities that drive traffic, qualified leads, and sales in direct collaboration with their sales team.
That’s right. Inbound marketing is the true way forward if you want to be successful with today’s modern buyer because it is a buyer-first marketing strategy.
Does inbound marketing actually work, though?
This all sounds great, in theory, I know. But the proof, so to speak, is always in the pudding. So, here are a few inbound marketing success stories that will illuminate the true benefits for you:
California-based Dalinghaus Construction:
You can read the full case study here.
Massachusetts-based Berry Insurance:
You can read the full case study here.
Georgia-based Dental ClaimSupport:
You can read the full case study here.
These companies embraced inbound methodology and are now considered go-to resources in their space for their ideal buyers. What’s more, their success was so immense that they each had to grow their services and sales teams — and set new business goals.
Are you ready to write your company’s own inbound marketing success story?
If so, I recommend you get started with our inbound success playbooks and our free course, The Digital Sales and Marketing Framework for Today’s Modern Buyer.