Posts Tagged ‘inbound marketing’
A recently released report by Marketing Charts titled “State of Inbound Marketing Report” from HubSpot, reveals a growing trend of brands focusing their energy and funding on “inbound” marketing versus “outbound.” Outbound techniques have long been employed and still constitute the majority of marketing techniques, but that is beginning to change. Last year’s numbers indicated brands were beginning to rely more on inbound marketing techniques to generate leads; this year the outbound marketing budgets contracted further, closing the gap between the two opposing approaches.
What’s the Difference between Inbound and Outbound?
So what exactly constitutes an inbound approach versus an outbound approach? And what techniques are brands turning to? Essentially, an outbound approach is that where a marketer pushes his message out to the masses whereas an inbound approach is designed to pull in people who are already looking for your product or service. HubSpot classified these techniques based on how important they were perceived by the company, and also allowed for multiple responses in order to account for brands that place value in more than one technique. From their data, we see that popular and time-tested outbound techniques, such as direct mail and telemarketing, contracted 1% and 6% respectively, only generating 10% of leads each. Trade shows remained flat at 10% importance among respondents, meaning outbound techniques are preferred by less than 1/3 of brands.
Meanwhile, inbound techniques have become increasingly important to brands. Paid search and AdWords were the only inbound methods that fell in importance, now at 22%. However, social media, company blogs, and SEO methods have all increased in importance to brands, with social media and SEO methods important to 60% and 59% of companies, respectively. Company blogs were claimed to be important to 49% of the survey’s respondents.
Follow the Money, Inbound Marketing Budgets on the Rise
But let’s get down to the bottom-line: company budgets. When asked whether budgets for inbound marketing strategies increased or decreased for the year 2010, 51% of respondents claimed their budget had increased, with an additional 37% claiming it had remained constant. This means that 88% of American companies have maintained a healthy budget for inbound techniques, such as social media and SEO marketing strategies. Furthermore, of the companies that claimed to have a lower budget for inbound marketing campaigns, 92% claimed that the economy, not performance, was the reason for the decrease.
Specifically, social media campaigns returned high confidence numbers from brands, with four in 10 companies overall acquiring customers from major social networks. Businesses are increasingly placing their confidence in inbound marketing strategies, believing social media and SEO to be the two most important channels in gaining leads and bolstering their brand image.
Outbound marketing is just not as effective anymore. Outbound marketing for companies could be the use of traditional mass media, making cold calls, or going to trade shows. These activities are active methods “selling” products and services through finding and approaching potential customers. Tired of cold calling? Try investing more on inbound marketing and let the business come to you!
Inbound marketing involves attracting new customers and letting them find you because you present your brand as a credible and trustworthy source. Consumers or companies seeking products and services that you might be offering are looking online and doing research through Google searches, reading blogs, and even reviewing content on social media sites. Instead of putting your brand out there to people or companies used to quickly tuning out mass media, why not just be “found” by your target customer when they are looking?
Inbound marketing through search engine optimization simply means that your site is going to be well optimized for keywords most important to growing your business. Without SEO, your company’s website will never be found in the natural search results and therefore lose market share to competitors who are in fact being “found” by your potential customers.
Inbound marketing with blogs and social media involves developing great content. This will in turn drastically improve your SEO efforts. Social media is of course about more than content but is driven by sharing valuable information with your audience. The information on your blog and social media platforms should be compelling and offer your audience a chance to quickly learn something of value.
Most companies these days are still spending about 90% of their time and energy on outbound marketing and only 10% on inbound methods. Once a company truly embraces the theory and strategy behind inbound marketing they generally improve the inflow of new business leads. They quality of these inquiries is usually better too.
In conclusion, if your company wants business to come to you rather than having to chase down “leads”, then pursue these strategies:
- Position your company and people within your company as industry experts
- Develop great content for your website and blogs (i.e. articles, white papers, blogs, videos, etc.)
- Distribute your content to social media sites like Facebook, other blogs, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
- Forget the “sales pitch” and let new business come to you