Get more leads, and you can make more sales. That's the first rule of successful marketing. But
what is the most effective way of getting those leads, and how can you be sure that they are the right quality?
Unfortunately, we live in an era where the effectiveness of marketing has reached an all-time low. Research conducted by the Fournaise Marketing Group concluded that $65 out of every $100 spent on marketing had no discernible effect on consumers. Marketing departments, like everyone else, are under pressure to demonstrate a better return on their investments.
And with marketing budgets being squeezed, it's more important than ever to spend your money wisely.
Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing, the traditional marketing strategy, has been used for decades, but is it still working for your business? Studies show that almost nine out of ten people don't watch television adverts. If you send out direct marketing via letters, emails or cold calls, the return on investment is potentially worse. Two-hundred million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the Federal Trade Commission's "Do Not Call" list. And more than 90% of consumers have unsubscribed from email marketing lists due to spam.
So what's the alternative?
Inbound marketing is the cost-effective, non-intrusive way to generate those all-important leads. It relies on content to attract the attention of customers that are actually in need of your services, as opposed to firing out your messages scattergun through print ads, cold calls and mailing. The premise is simple: reach out to the customer in fun and engaging ways, and you can capture their interest and educate them at each stage of their buying journey. The rapport you build will, in time, turn your leads into customers.
Per dollar, inbound marketing produces three times more leads than outbound marketing. And research shows that an inbound marketing campaign is a lot cheaper to run than an outbound one.
How To Succeed At Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is based around the concept of sharing. When you publish an interesting blog post or video, people aren't only going to read, watch and visit your website, they're also going to share the content with their friends. In other words, you are using your own customers to do the hard work of generating leads for you.
But the blogosphere is a crowded space. With so much content out there, you have to make your presence on the web interesting. You have to stand out from the crowd. Following three basic rules will help you to succeed with your inbound campaign:
Make it interesting: To earn your customer's attention, you may have to do things differently to the other guys. If your industry is stuffed with similar blog posts, the company with the podcasts, video series of graphic illustrations wins. It pays to be creative.
Make it better: Your inbound success requires more than just showing up to the party; it requires you to make your content matter. Perhaps you can target an underrepresented niche, or add comprehensiveness, or invest in a heavy-hitting research reports, white papers, or videos that have the potential to make a bigger splash when published?
Make it low effort: It takes time to produce compelling content but there are ways to scale your content creation in a cost-efficient fashion. One way to achieve this is to reuse and re-purpose your existing content for example, by splitting an ebook into a series of blog posts. And remember, you don't have to go it alone. Encourage your customers and employees to feed your content creation via online forums, product reviews and testimonials. Using your customers as advocates not only reduces the burden of content creation, it can also give greater authenticity to your brand.
That's it. To succeed with inbound, create quality content regularly, have a visible presence on social media, and above all make your content interesting. Everyone loves to be entertained, right? In this game, fun leads to leads. Consistently trying new tactics is the only way to ensure the growth of your business - and your profits.