By definition, "inbound" means to bring in. Traditional forms of marketing often focus on "outbound" activities, like overbearingly pushing potential customers toward a product or service, regardless of whether they've shown any interest in it. Don't get me wrong, both traditional and inbound marketing methods can work; it's just one is an effective, cost-efficient, ROI-driving machine, and the other is not.
Think about it like this: if you had a choice, would you prefer to speak to 10 people who haven't expressed interest in your products or services, or 5 people who have explicitly told you they are intrigued by what you're selling? Those of us who subscribe to inbound marketing take the smaller number every single time, since there is probably at least one sale in that group. Traditional marketing casts a wider net, but since you're not targeting anybody, in particular, you'll end up speaking to a lot of people who were never interested in having a conversation.
What Makes Inbound Marketing 'Inbound'?
Digital marketing is a natural fit for the inbound ideology. The digital space allows you to work in your own corner of the Internet, slowly carving out your niche and attracting people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and by association, what you have to sell.
We're super proud of our monthly infographics and probably don't give enough kudos to the content wizard who gathers the stats and info for the graphics, and of course, our designer who makes everything look oh-so-gorgeous. So this month, we gave them a break (well not really, they're actually working super hard on our upcoming Global Convention in Florida). Since the usual suspects were occupied, we used a fancy new design tool called Piktochart to put together an infographic on the well-oiled machine we call inbound marketing. Not too shabby!
When people hear "inbound marketing" they sometimes think it's a new tactic or platform they haven't heard about yet, but inbound is the concept that successfully ties the many arms of digital marketing together. You can be writing blogs, posting on social media and sending emails without actually doing any inbound marketing; on the flip side, you can't do inbound marketing without these things. Inbound marketing is all about the goals you set for your marketing and the execution you use to deliver it as a cohesive strategy. But don't just take our word for it! Here are some cold hard facts in support of inbound marketing:
At its core, inbound marketing's goal is to attract more leads (and increase sales conversions) while remaining as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Consider that leads from content searches are 8 times more likely to close than those from traditional sources. Again, you might get more overall leads from traditional campaigns, but if this results in fewer sales than something that drives a lower number of leads, how is that more beneficial for you? Hint: it's not.
Sometimes, though, more is better, even with inbound. Studies have shown that among businesses that blog multiple times a week, 92% acquire a customer through their blog. Meanwhile, only 67% of businesses that blog once a week gain a customer through their blog.
Social media marketing is an important aspect of inbound, mainly due to how accessible it makes you to customers. if you hang out around people who you think might be interested in your products and services, they'll notice you're around and, if they believe you can help them, they'll engage. For this to work, however, you need to do your homework and make sure you choose the correct social networks. For example, 77% of B2C marketers think Facebook is killer for their campaigns, while 51% of B2B marketers favor LinkedIn. It has nothing to do with which social network you prefer and everything to do with what your customers use, but if you use social media well, it'll be a big boost to your inbound campaigns.
I've said that inbound delivers a better ROI than traditional methods, but I haven't backed it up yet. Well, consider the average cost-per-lead of inbound marketing: $143. And the average cost-per-lead of traditional methods? $373. Don't bother with your calculators, we've already done the math: inbound marketing leads cost 61% less than traditional outbound leads.
There's a decision in your future, and that decision is whether or not to adopt an inbound marketing philosophy. We rest our case in support of inbound, but feel free to roam around and check out some of our other great infographics, like this one on buyer personas (which is a big part of inbound).
For now, that's all we've got on inbound marketing! Here's the Piktochart infographic, along with an embed code in case you'd like to share and write about it on your site.