According to Search Engine Journal, inbound marketing leads cost 60% less than outbound leads, so it’s no surprise that Inbound Marketing has revolutionised the way B2B marketers operate. However, outbound is still considered the best way to generate B2B marketing leads.
But, what exactly is Inbound Marketing?
People who don’t work in marketing are unlikely to be up to date on the latest buzzwords in the industry. However if your business engages in any marketing activity, it’s likely that you are, to some extent, already engaging in Inbound Marketing activities without even knowing it.
Inbound Marketing refers to marketing activities focus on bringing visitors to you. Instead of marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention, Inbound Marketing focuses on earning the attention of customers, making the company easy to be found, and attracting customers to you of their own accord.
And, how does it work?
Today’s informed buyers know what they want and how to find it themselves. This is largely due to the widespread use of the internet, which empowers consumers to educate themselves and make informed decisions about their purchases.
Buyers are now in the driver’s seat. That’s where Inbound Marketing comes in.
The concept of Inbound Marketing is still new to many business owners, who are often informed by a range of conflicting online sources. The following are a few misconceptions about Inbound Marketing that you should be aware of, before deciding which marketing channels your business invests in.
1. Inbound Marketing Is All About Luck
While Inbound Marketing may be more passive than traditional Outbound methods, Inbound marketers don’t just release messages into the abyss and cross their fingers that they’ll generate leads and sales. Inbound Marketers know their buyers very well, and use methods, data, and analysis techniques to create and refine content that attracts and engages customers and prospects to effectively move them through the stages of the buying funnel.
2. Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Close Customers
A well-executed Inbound Marketing program will align your sales and marketing teams to help your business close more customers.
Your Inbound Marketing efforts should include progressive customer profiling, lead scoring, and sophisticated lead management, which will aid your marketing department in qualifying leads. This means that better quality leads will be passed to sales for closing.
3. SEO is Dead …
Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update rocked webmasters and marketers across the globe, leading to much confusion as to whether Search Engine Optimisation was still worth the effort. As a result, the search engine giant is now better at comprehending the meaning behind questions and queries. So while the era of keyword stuffing and building low-quality links may be over, SEO definitely isn’t.
Today’s SEO places more focus on creating a positive user-experience and valuable, relevant content. As such, methods include ensuring mobile responsiveness, ensuring pages are adequately optimized, and improving your site metrics.
4. … Pay-Per-Click is Much More Effective
A recent report published by Search Engine Land found that up to 80% of people ignore Google’s sponsored ads, while Oli Gardner of Unbounce claimed a huge 98% of paid ads to be “a colossal waste of money.”
Today’s consumers are wiser than ever and are more wary of paid advertising. Most of them know where the ads are displayed on the search engine’s results page, and filter these out (subconsciously or consciously) in favour of the organic search engine results. While it is not impossible to drive results through PPC, it’s not easy, and it can be a costly lead generation method.
5. It’s Impossible to Close Social Media Leads
According to a 2012 report published by Exact Target, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another network. Social Media has the ability to connect a company and buyer on a personal level, creating a relationship between the two. This means the business will be at the forefront of the customers mind when they’re ready to make a purchase decision.
Your business should be on social media, regardless of the industry you operate in. The key to effective social media marketing is to choose the right channels that fit your brand, and focus your strategy around those. With the amount of readily available social media networks, it’s not difficult to find one that’s popular among your target audience.
6. You Can’t Measure ROI
Inbound marketing is primarily done online, which means it’s actually more trackable than traditional outbound marketing methods. With inbound marketing, pretty much anything can be tracked, from, clicks, visits and downloads to blog comments and shares.
Programs like Google Analytics, Marketing Automation Platforms such as Infusionsoft, Marketo and Hubspot are readily available to offer statistics on your website’s performance, which you can learn from, and apply in order to improve your Inbound Marketing campaign.
7. It Takes Time to Build an Audience
This may not be a totally unfounded misconception. For established, well known businesses, attracting followers to social media sites or subscribers to email lists may happen quickly. However for unknown businesses starting from scratch, Inbound marketing can be a time consuming discipline, and it may take a bit of time and effort to gain followers.
But while it may not be easy, Inbound Marketing will be worth it in the long term, as leads become more affordable, and the time and effort you have to put in reduces significantly.