You’ve been reading our blog for a while, and you’re convinced that your company should start an inbound marketing program. But there’s one problem: You can’t get your boss to sign off on starting an inbound marketing program.
Maybe it’s because your boss is unfamiliar with the terminology, or worried about the amount of work it’ll add to your already-full plate. Maybe she needs more information about what, exactly, she’s approving before making a final decision. Maybe she just doesn't know how inbound marketing works.
This post is for you, to show your boss. It’ll walk through the foundations of inbound marketing, and show the benefits. It’ll detail the level of work involved, and offer tips on how to streamline the process.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of drawing the attention of prospects to your expertise, thought leadership, helpfulness, and reliability, before they are ready to buy. The best and most cost-effective way to convert strangers into customers and promoters of your business.
How Inbound Marketing Works
The benefits of inbound marketing are often misunderstood, leaving management to scratch their heads. The common perception of inbound marketing is that it’s all about writing blogs and lead generation. As you will see, inbound marketing is much more than that. It offers numerous benefits beyond lead generation.
5 Benefits of Inbound Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Establishing Thought Leadership
- Developing a Social Media Presence
- Increasing Website Traffic
- Providing Analytics
1. Lead GenerationLead generation is usually at the top of the list of benefits sought. That’s because the leads that are generated result in a quantitative ROI. The number of leads you generate in a given time period and how many new customers you gain are hard numbers that can be tracked and measured. CEOs, CFOs, and other members of your management team demand to know these numbers. “What type of return will we generate on our investment?” they’ll ask.
Inbound marketing will generate leads, and you will be able to track those numbers, although the return on your inbound marketing investment may be harder to track.
Use an inbound marketing calculator to help determine the number of visits, leads, and customers inbound marketing should provide in order to earn back your investment. When you consider all the benefits, inbound marketing often costs a lot less than almost any other means of producing qualified leads.
2. Establishing Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is significantly harder to quantify than lead generation numbers, but it’s equally (if not more) important. Thought leadership is positioning your company (and your executives) as industry experts. Your company blog will discuss issues that are interesting to your customers and prospects. They’ll come to you for more information, time and time again. Discussing the important issue in your industry will make you stand out as someone who knows the turf and has the answers, and more importantly, someone who can be counted on to provide a solution to the problems your prospects are having.
We often hear from our clients that they are asked to speak at industry events or to guest blog on other websites because of the leadership position they have established on their own blog. Turning your FAQ page into a series of blog posts will bring traffic to your blog as these popular questions are often searched on Google.
3. Developing a Social Media Presence
Most management teams are eager to see their firm have an active social media presence. But everyone knows you can’t just hang out on social media, befriending whoever comes long. You need something to do on social media. Your content-driven, thought leadership-focused, inbound marketing program is that something. Your boss will get it and want to invest in.
Creating and sharing content that you develop on your company’s social media networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few) can help your company engage with current clients and find new ones.
4. Increasing Website Traffic
It’s not uncommon that the blogs that publish frequently and consistently have as much (if not more!) traffic than their company website.
When you increase traffic to your blog, it will directly benefit your website so long as your blog is connected to your main website and uses the same domain (like blog.thecenterforsalesstrategy.com). Your blog and your website will both benefit from the credibility and authority that results from good organic search results on Google.
Creating your own content has a lasting effect on your website traffic as well. Unlike paid search marketing where you are “renting” traffic for a short period of time, you own the traffic and the traffic will continue to grow from organic sources as long as you continue updating your blog.
5. Providing Analytics
Most managers and CEOs like numbers. They are heavily focused on effectiveness and optimization of the business—as shown by data—and inbound marketing can provide some of the best analytics and marketing information anywhere. It’s actionable information: How many people are visiting your site? How many people are clicking your calls to action? How many people are leaving without respond to a CTA? What are they reading? What are they sharing? Answers to these questions will help shape the direction of your inbound marketing strategy, maybe your marketing, period..
The Best Inbound Marketing Software: One vs. Many
Inbound Marketing covers more than just writing blog posts and can be difficult to manage if you don’t have the right tools. The Center for Sales Strategy is a Platinum Partner of HubSpot and we work with clients every day to implement and manage inbound marketing programs for them. In fact, getting started with HubSpot is the first step new inbound marketing clients take when they start working with us.
As an alternative to a comprehensive inbound-marketing platform, you can set up a WordPress site, install the Google Analytics tracking code, purchase an email system, and use social media management tools to manage your inbound marketing program.
Those tools may look like they’re saving you money, but are they, really? You’d need a different tool for each of the following functions:
- Creating CTAs (those buttons that bring you to another page)
- Landing pages
- Thank-you pages
- Email marketing
- Lead generation
- A/B testing
- Lead segmentation
- Keyword reporting
…to name a few! Using all those free tools might save you a little money, but they’ll cost you serious time. If you’re going to get started with an inbound marketing program, you’re doing your company a favor by starting fresh with a single tool that can do everything. Most importantly, the right software platform can track your visitors every step of the way, from the moment they subscribe to the blog to the moment they become a customer. You’ll see how different people interact with your website, and you can write more content that appeals to your target persona.
Inbound Marketing is More Than Just a Blog
Arm yourself with as much information about the benefits of inbound marketing as you can before pitching your boss. Demonstrate that it’s not just a blog that you are looking to start; it’s a comprehensive, cost-efficient, data-driven marketing program that produces qualified leads. Your company will no longer merely be the hunter and seeking out prospects. It will become the hunted, sought out by prospects. It’s more fun when people are contacting you and asking about your products than having to cold call, purchase lists, and use other less effective means of marketing.