Even though this end goal sounds simple, the tactics and channels that marketers use to accomplish it are as varied as their industries and teams. Because of the many options available, creating a marketing strategy can be a difficult and time-consuming process.
Unless your company has an unlimited marketing budget, creating your strategy often involves prioritizing certain channels over others. But if you play a role in these decisions at your company, we suggest that you make inbound marketing one of your priorities.
When compared to traditional outbound methods, inbound marketing outperforms every time.
Do you want to speak with one of our inbound marketing experts directly? You can contact us online or call 888-601-5359 today!
What is inbound marketing?
Before we explain why inbound marketing works so well, it’s important to go over what exactly it means.
At its most basic, inbound marketing refers to any marketing strategy that brings a targeted group of customers to your business. It’s at the opposite end of the marketing spectrum from traditional strategies like TV, radio, and print ads, which reach out to customers whether or not they’ve demonstrated any interest in what you have to offer.
An inbound marketing strategy can involve several different channels, but the most common are search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media. Maintaining a strong website is also an important element, because many inbound marketing tactics are designed to bring potential customers to your site.
On this page, we’ll explain 10 reasons why inbound marketing works.
1. It generates site traffic
Two of the most basic components of any inbound marketing strategy are SEO and content marketing. When you use them both, the result is more qualified traffic to your website that you can turn into customers or leads. You get them by creating in-depth, informative pages that are optimized for keywords relevant to your customers.
The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to rank for specific keywords and phrases. Because pages rank individually (and not your site as a whole), you can continue researching and writing blog posts, article pages, and other types of content in order to rank for more queries in search engines like Google.
When you rank for more terms, you can get more traffic, meaning that as you improve your strategy, you’ll continue to see higher traffic levels on your site.
That being said, it’s important to note that traffic doesn’t always lead directly to revenue—but the more visitors your site attracts, the more potential customers come in contact with your company.
And with SEO, a high number of those visitors are likely to be qualified leads.
2. It produces qualified leads
Consider how selecting your audience works with traditional marketing methods. If you have firsthand experience with this, you’re probably familiar with choosing radio stations, TV channels, and print publications based on their advertising departments’ descriptions of their audience.
Any media company that offers advertising space can provide marketers with a broad description of their audience, generally in terms of age, gender, and interests. But even if they’re spot-on with these descriptions, there’s no guarantee that their audience is interested in your company’s products or services.
With inbound marketing, however, you can reach people who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. When you create content with your target audience in mind, like how-to articles and blog posts about industry trends, you can naturally bring visitors with an interest in those topics to your site.
Of course, not every single person who is interested in your industry will want to become your customer, and some may just want general information on a certain topic. Even so, the percentage of people who are likely to become leads is much higher for online content than traditional ads.
As an added bonus, leads who discover your company via inbound channels have the ability to explore your site and get a better understanding of who you are and what you have to offer before reaching out. They’ll have immediate access to your products, services, and pricing information, and they can either make a purchase themselves or pass information along to other decision-makers within their company.
This means that when a lead who found you as a result of your inbound marketing contacts you, you can be sure that they’re already familiar with what you have to offer—and that they have a serious interest in working with you.
3. It strengthens your company’s reputation
With outbound advertisements, you have to tell your audience why they should buy your products, whether you do that with descriptive language, facts, statistics, or even an endorsement from a popular public figure. But with inbound marketing, you can show them.
As long as you publish high quality blogs and articles on your site, your audience will associate that same level of quality with your brand.
Not only that, but if you reach out to other online publications, like popular news sites and industry blogs, they may consider sharing your content or allowing you to write for them.
A spot on a popular site will get your company’s name in front of a much wider audience than your site. And as long as the site has a strong reputation, the people you reach there will trust that you represent a reputable business based on the host site’s willingness to feature you.
As you grow your company’s presence on the sites that your target audience visits, you’ll become a familiar name to potential customers—and that’s never bad when it comes to branding.
In addition to this free publicity, most site owners will allow a link to your site as the source for your content. This is a powerful link building strategy, and if you reach out to high authority sites on a regular basis, you can begin to build relationships with writers and editors to reach more people and build more links.
When you earn links from a variety of reputable sites, your company’s domain authority will increase, meaning you’ll earn even higher rankings in search engine results and attract even more visitors to your site.
4. It builds upon itself
One of the biggest advantages of inbound marketing is that it takes place primarily on your company’s own website. This means that the content you publish and optimize can continue to generate results for years to come.
When you advertise on traditional channels like radio or TV, you pay for your ads to run for a short duration and a set number of times. You might experience an increase in leads and sales, but as soon as your budget is spent, the ads stop running—and the customers stop appearing.
When you publish pages on your website, on the other hand, the only cost involved is the cost of creating the content, which can be in the form of the time of one of your employees or the money it costs to hire an agency or freelancer.
Once you have the content, it can live on your site for as long as you want it, completely free of charge. As your pages gain traction in search engine results, and you share them across your social media channels, they can continue to attract new readers at every hour of every day.
Plus, as your company becomes more well-known, you can grow your base of regular visitors. This means that each piece of content you publish will have more impact. Not only that, but as your readers share your content with their friends and followers, growing your brand will become even easier.
When you consider that these kinds of results are possible without any ongoing fees, it should come as no surprise that that ROI for inbound strategies is extremely high. In fact, companies are three times more likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than outbound.
5. It lets customers reach you on their terms
Consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements for all kinds of products. Every time someone turns on their TV, listen to the radio, or flip through a magazine, they’re faced with companies that want consumers to stop what they’re doing and pay attention to an ad.
It takes away from whatever it is that your audience actually wants to experience, and many potential viewers use it as a time to refill on snacks or have a conversation.
With inbound marketing, you never interrupt your potential customers because they reach you on their own terms. Instead of attempting to place information about your company in the publications they read and on the TV channels they watch, you publish information on your site and make it easy for them to find it in search engines like Google.
This way, when they need a product or service that you offer, they’ll find your site naturally in their research. They can access the information they want, when they want it, and take their time learning about your company.
This obvious benefit for your potential customers is that it allows them to make informed decisions without a hard sales pitch. But it has benefits for your company, too.
When you publish a large amount of information on your site, you take the guesswork out of deciding which information about your company deserves a spot in your 30-second advertisement. By having all of the information a potential customer could potentially need right on your site, you can be sure that they aren’t missing out on important details.
This is one of the main reasons that both inbound and outbound marketers agree that paid advertising is the #1 most overrated marketing tactic—and if the marketers who use traditional methods admit inbound strategies are better, you can be sure that inbound marketing is worth your time.
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6. It helps build relationships
Many companies use their marketing strategies solely to generate sales. And while this is an important goal for any company, inbound marketing also allows you to build relationships with your customers.
Instead of speaking to your audience only through sales pitches, you can provide them with useful information that relate to the products or services you offer. If your company sells auto parts, for example, you could write step-by-step instructions for performing simple tasks, like changing air filters, oil, or burned-out tail lights.
Of course, the kind of information you provide will depend on your industry and may involve in-depth research to do well. But as long as you show potential customers that you’re willing to help them—and not just sell to them—it’s well worth the effort.
This can help site visitors see you as not just a company, but also a trusted resource. Many of them may even ask follow-up questions in the comment section of your blog or on your social media pages.
Be sure to respond to any questions or feedback in a timely manner, and do your best to address any concerns they have. This is a great opportunity to engage with your customer base and improve sentiment towards your brand as a whole.
Plus, even after you close sales, inbound strategies like blogging can help you maintain relationships with your clients by showing them that you’re a leader in your industry. When they visit your site and see that you regularly publish informative blog posts and articles, they’ll be confident in their choice to work with you — and they might even buy from you again.
7. It moves leads through the sales funnel
Think about the last time you made a purchase or signed a contract with a company. Did you buy from the first store you visited, or did you research multiple options before making a final decision?
If you’re like most consumers, you did your research.
With the vast amount of information available online, it’s rare for anyone to spend money without doing their research first. Most people begin with general searches for the products or services they need, then visit the websites of a few companies that can provide them.
From there, potential customers compare different companies to one another. They’ll read reviews, analyze costs, and in the case of B2B buyers, discuss their options with other decision-makers on their team.
All of these steps are important parts of the process—but if they don’t eventually convert new customers, they don’t help your business.
That’s why you need to consider what kinds of information your potential customers need at each step in the sales funnel and what it will take for them to move forward.
A strong strategy will include general industry information for visitors at the top of the sales funnel, company-specific information for the middle, and your company’s pricing for “bottom-of-funnel” visitors who are close to converting.
It will also include strong calls to action (CTAs) that encourage top-of-funnel visitors to move to the middle of the funnel, and middle- and bottom-of-funnel visitors to convert by filling out a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase.
When done well, the content in your funnel will help leads progress naturally—and that’s absolutely essential for generating ROI.
8. It provides a wealth of information
Arguably the biggest advantage that inbound marketing has over traditional advertising is the huge amount of analytical information it offers.
With traditional tactics, it’s difficult to measure the results of a specific campaign. You may notice an increase in sales during a particular timeframe, but if you’re running multiple ads at once, it’s impossible to know which one caused the spike.
Some businesses attempt to eliminate this by using different phone numbers for different campaigns or putting different coupon codes in magazines or newspapers. And while these ideas are better than nothing, they’re far from precise.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, allows you to see the precise, measureable results of each of your campaigns and the success of your strategy as a whole.
With tools like Google Analytics, you can access information about your most popular pages, the average time visitors spend on your site, where your visitors are coming from (like search engines, social media, or links from other sites), and other data that’s specific to your goals.
This information will not only help you see how well your individual campaigns perform, but also any weak spots in your marketing strategy as a whole. This allows you to make data-backed decisions about what to do moving forward.
As a result, marketers who check their analytics at least three times a week are 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI.
That being said, we understand that not every marketer has the time to consult their analytics platform multiple times a week. If that’s the case for your company, we recommend that you consider consulting an outside agency to help you better understand your online success.
Even if you choose to handle the necessary changes on your own, getting an expert opinion on your marketing strategy can make all the difference when it comes to attracting new customers for your company.
9. It can be personalized
One of the most recent developments in inbound marketing is the ability to personalize your marketing messages for specific visitors and leads.
When you advertise with traditional channels, you likely alter your ad content based on each channel’s demographics. If you were to run magazine ads in both Seventeen and Good Housekeeping, for example, you’d need to change the visuals and copy to connect with their respective audiences.
This has long been the standard for marketing to different demographics, but with inbound marketing, you can do much more.
With marketing automation software, you can determine each site visitor’s location, industry, company size, and other key demographic and firmographic information. Then, you can alter the CTAs and other content accordingly.
When you create these kinds of personalized CTAs and offers around your site, you can tailor your site experience to each individual visitor. This essentially provides a custom experience for each of your visitors, and it’s much more effective than trying to reach all of your customers with a one-size-fits-all strategy.
If your company operates on a B2B model and has a dedicated sales team, you can also pass this information along to help them more effectively connect with leads.
10. It creates a cohesive brand
A successful inbound marketing strategy involves several channels, like SEO, content marketing, and social media. This may sound like it would complicate things, but with the right planning, you can integrate them with one another to strengthen your branding.
With most traditional channels, you have to focus on one aspect of your company, whether that’s pricing, specific promotions, or company values.
With inbound marketing, however, you can create content that relates to all facets of your company and allow visitors to find the ones that are most important to them.
As long as you use the same style and tone in each, you can make sure that your company creates a consistent image across all channels. This not only reinforces who you are as a brand, but also makes it easy for potential customers to reach out on whichever channel they prefer.
Want to learn more about inbound marketing?
With the right planning and management, inbound marketing is an effective way for businesses in all industries to generate more leads and increase revenue. If you’re interested in using it for your company, we’d love to hear from you!
At WebFX, we have years of experience creating successful inbound marketing strategies for our clients, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today to speak with a strategist!