Chapter 6: The Facts About Inbound Marketing
By now you understand why changes in the landscape of business development, and the makeup of the consumer make Inbound Marketing the best method of gaining and keeping new customers in the 21st century.
If not, go back to Chapter 4, Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing.
Don’t worry. We’ll wait.
Understanding why Inbound Marketing is king of 21st century growth hacking is the first step in increasing your profits by making more sales while spending less money. The next step is understanding what Inbound Marketing is at a deeper level.
2010’s Marketing Crisis
There’s a serious crisis in marketing this decade.
The old methods aren’t working, not even when companies double their spending on previously reliable ways to turn strangers into customers.
This crisis isn’t just a bit of marketing geek wankery to talk about at conventions. It’s impacting, even closing, businesses every year because of four damaging factors:
- Customers are tired of interruptive, non-value-adding advertising mediums
- Customers have become inured to sales-speak like “limited time offer” and authority-based marketing
- Customers control how often and how deeply they consume media, including advertising spots
- Customers are deeply suspicious of any communication that tries to rush to, or otherwise pressure, a sale
To make matters worse, too many marketing “experts” recommend applying the old concepts to new technologies. They treat the fundamentally interactive social and web platforms as just another soapbox for broadcast, interruptive media.
That’s not working, nor does it deserve to work. Using these old-school methods demonstrates a lack of regard for what consumers want, and a lack of knowledge about the modern relationship between consumers, vendors and products.
Inbound Marketing: The Solution
By contrast, Inbound Marketing solves the problems of old-school, interruptive marketing. Inbound Marketing…
…adds value by providing useful, on-topic content to consumers interested in a particular product. Consumers then associate the brand providing that content with expertise and service.
…invites rather than interrupts. It doesn’t interrupt a ball game or television show with a barely-related message about an unconsidered product. Instead, it waits for a consumer who is already interested in the product to come find out more. This targeted approach is key to the high lead conversion rate of inbound marketing.
…adopts an advisory role and tone. Inbound Marketers understand that seeming like a salesperson loses leads faster than anything short of being intentionally rude. You could actually argue that using sales speak with a modern consumer is being intentionally rude. Instead, it treats each interaction as an opportunity to educate and advise. If that advice leads to a sale, fantastic…but there are no strings attached to the sharing of knowledge.
…makes consumer control a feature. By letting consumer interest guide both finding your content, and the consumer’s progress through it, your online content becomes a qualifying tool. It self-targets your business growth message automatically, and often at others’ expense.
...builds from a foundation of what consumers want instead of trying to force consumers to want what you offer. This leads to more highly qualified leads taking up your bandwidth, and to customers who’ve been primed from the beginning to be delighted, enthusiastic advocates for your brand.
…capitalizes on the key traits of modern, mobile consumers by helping interested consumers self-select whether and when they interact with your content. This means less wasted effort and expense selling to unqualified leads, and a directly targeted funnel that puts only interested clients who can afford your services in touch with your sales department.
Do not take our word for it. A variety of surveys and studies support the power of Inbound Marketing.
Going deeper, a pair of case studies demonstrate the growing (and already impressive) power of inbound marketing.
SoldOut started life in 2009 offering telemarketing services to startups throughout Japan as a way to bolster client growth. Over the first four years of their life, they saw lower returns from those telemarketing services despite rising costs in executing even simple telemarketing initiatives. In 2013, they pulled the plug on what was obviously a dying modality. Two years later, they generate as much as 50 times the number of qualified leads monthly for each of their customers. They call their inbound marketing services “pull” marketing, referring to the inbound tendency of pulling customers in rather than pushing a message out.
Ireland-based Boxever is an SaaS startup targeting clients in the travel industry. After trying a variety of outbound methods that generated reasonable sales at a reasonable cost, they applied a landing page app, email mailing list and blog to educated travel industry decision makers who might be interested in their service. In the first year, they saw a 500% increase in their leads without increasing their ad spend.
Inbound marketing is where it’s at. Now is when it’s happening. Keep reading to find out how you can do it within the context of your B2B business development plan.