Why Inbound Marketing Works
Marketing has always been about getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time. The internet allows messages to be sent at an astounding rate, but at what point do they just become noise? The good news is there is a way to rise above the noise and reach your potential audience, and it’s called Inbound Marketing. This method provides a strategy to get your message in front of people searching for it, just as they need it.
Inbound marketing works because the people looking for the information you and your business can provide are most likely also looking for your product and services. Providing a continually updated source of knowledge for your market not only creates your own watering hole where potential customers will gather, but it can serve as a training library for your own team. The initial investment may seem daunting, but the long term growth that it provides will sustain the investment many times over.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
One of the great benefits of creating quality content regularly is the lasting impact it can have upon your lead generation process. When you create original content, such as a blog post, a white paper, an eBook, or a video, it becomes a lead generating tool as long as it remains on the web. Since it often doesn’t cost any extra to keep these on your website, the only significant cost is their original production. The investment pays for itself as it gets found online and brings potential customers right to your front door.
Contrast this to a paid advertisement that runs for only the amount of time that you have paid for it. It has a set ROI, and cannot earn more after the initial benefit without investing more money. The benefit of a paid advertisement is the potentially much larger audience that is reached. However, with time, your original content can have a reach as large or even larger than your advertisement options. Inbound marketing works, and it will surpass paid advertising for demonstrable ROI.
The Built-in Watering Hole
How often have you been told that marketing is about finding your customers’ water hole, and then making yourself visible there? This concept is important for every business, because finding a watering hole requires knowing your customer. Inbound marketing is designed around knowing your customer, and creating specific personas to represent your customer. It makes it easier to create content your customers will find engaging when you can write with them in mind.
The benefit of inbound marketing that doesn’t come with simply placing yourself at your customers’ watering hole is that you will, by side effect, create your own. In the beginning, your content is going into a void, and you must actively reach out to promote it in places where your customers’ know they’ve found information before. As you generate more and more content, however, people will begin to find your content organically, and will begin to expect quality information about their industry to appear there. You will create a self-sustaining watering hole for your own customers.
Email Marketing that Works
Email marketing doesn’t have to be throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. It can be more than just a weekly or monthly newsletter that explains the latest happenings at Dave’s Widget Shop. Ask yourself, what makes you read an email, and what makes you interested in opening it?
We know that email marketing works, Salesforce.com says that “44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.” However, if you aren’t seeing those types of results, then you’re probably not doing it correctly. Start with your customer personas, and create emails that will appeal to the interests of those personas. Segment your contacts based on what you know about them, and make sure they are seeing the emails that truly engage them.
Of course, doing this is easier said than done without using a comprehensive suite of marketing automation tools.
Marketing Automation and Analytics – Connect The Dots
Marketing Automation is as much about creating automated workflows, re-marketing campaigns, and form responders as it is about tracking sales metrics and analytics. Inbound marketing without analytics is just a methodology without the invaluable insight needed to constantly improve. You’ll probably see results, but you won’t know where those results are coming from to help you hone in even more effectively. In a way, inbound marketing without analytics is similar to traditional marketing.
What is needed is an all-in-one tool that ties together blogging, landing pages, email marketing, social media, keywords, and calls-to-action around defined marketing campaigns. Imagine the power in your hands when you can connect the dots back from a new customer to their first engagement with your brand, be that on social media, your website, or through a referral via email. Every business is unique, and having this information at your disposal means you have the data necessary to make informed marketing decisions that can show measurable ROI.
When I first viewed the HubSpot demonstration, I was astounded by the capabilities that are readily available to a small business. This is truly a great time, marketing-wise, to build a small business, as the tools and reach of large businesses are now available.
HubSpot ties together a tool, a methodology, and a philosophy into a cohesive solution that when used properly cannot help but increase sales and drive business growth. It is truly exciting seeing the results come in and tracking month/month growth. Bottom line; Inbound marketing works.