Is inbound marketing just another marketing thing for marketers
Your email box will be quite full with inbound marketing offers of lead generation. These will probably promise the amazing amount of leads from people coming to your site and helping with sales but is it as rosy and rewarding as it seems?
What is inbound marketing?
Basically it’s all about getting people to visit your website, tracking their engagement and responding with relevant information until they are ready to buy. You have probably been on the receiving end of inbound marketing already! You find some nice content, visit the website and give your email address to download the article. They got ya by the short and curlies, welcome to spam email!
Inbound Marketing for Business
It sounds great. Get leads inbound, direct into your email box. Saves money on cold calling, outbound calls that seriously do not work. Or are low return on investment for any marketing campaign. You have to purchase contact details – telephone numbers and names – then pay somebody to annoy them, I mean call them.
How Does Inbound Marketing differ from Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is when you produce content and promote it to the World. A bit like producing a poster on a bus stop. You are advertising to everyone, hoping for that 1% of interest to gain a return on your investment. Digitally speaking, this is write a blog and add it to your website, and hope that the 1% see it and respond.
Doesn’t sound exciting does it.
Inbound Marketing is almost the same – you still need to promote yourself to get people to visit your website. Your marketing will still need to include interesting, engaging content and promote it. You can do this via email marketing. You can do this via social media, article writing, or even an advert in a magazine. Once you attract your ideal client to your website, you want to keep them. So offering a “bribe” to get their email address, perhaps a download or before the visitor can read an article, ask for their name and email address before they can read the article. This is called gated content.
So, once you have done this, you now can email the visitor and inspect what they are doing – reading emails, clicking through, visiting pages on your site and more. Marketing automation software can do all this for you. You provide the content! And lots of it.
Why is inbound marketing powerful?
Or is it?
Inbound marketing based on the above work, can be powerful because you monitor what works and what doesn’t. So you can keep improving your campaigns until something beings you successful ROI. This type of marketing can work, and work well. You know the visitor is opening and reading emails, (by using call to actions – CTAs) and see which subject lines work on emails, even the content which works and doesn’t. By monitoring all this, you can lead score – give points based on their actions. Say 5 points for opening an email, 5 extra for clicking on a CTA, 10 points for visiting a highly relevant web page etc. etc.
The beauty of this stage of lead scoring, and the visitor getting to a certain score, is that you know, before you pick up the phone, that they know all about your company! No more cold calling. When your sales team does eventually call them, the prospect is a warm lead. If they are persuaded to buy from you then, you can still drip feed, gently remind them of your services for when the buying time is right.
Inbound Marketing or Annoying Marketing.
SO, imagine the scenario – you find a great piece of content, you give your email address and download it. Save it for later reading. You then get a phone call from some eager sales person “just checking you received the email or download OK” BIG BROTHER or what!!! Cheeky buggers. What else are they checking up on? You might advise that you haven’t read it yet, so they note this to call you next week, or earlier.
Or you get a barrage of emails. So you mark them as SPAM; but still they come, because you gave them permission to send you email! Remember that bribe from earlier?!?!
Or you get some adverts following you around about their products – on Facebook, in Google, or on other sites. Annoying? Or are you ready to buy now?
Does inbound marketing save you money?
It sounds like it should! Outbound cold calling is expensive, purchasing the data, paying for the phone calls, the wages etc. etc.
Outbound marketing is expensive too, making bespoke, original content that is engaging and relevant can be costly. Social media services, like Facebook advertising, Pay per Click – Bing Ads or Google Adwords is not cheap and getting more expensive as more and more people use it.
Inbound marketing is expensive too – automation software licenses can cost from £500 per month (can be cheaper and more expensive!) producing content, making up the automation procedures, possibly purchasing email marketing data, somebody (or a team) to manage the system too.
Is inbound marketing worth it?
It depends on your business, what services you offer. For e-commerce sites it can work well. After all, the most costly part of marketing or business is getting a customer in the first place and so using inbound marketing to keep in touch with a customer who has brought a pair of red shoes, to email them or otherwise of relevant fashion ware for red shoes or accessories can be cost effective (eventually) marketing!
However, could it annoy people to the extent that it turns people OFF of your company and damages your reputation?
Think twice about jumping on the band wagon.
Inbound marketing is expensive but can work wonders, keeping potential customers engaged with your brand but does require a lot of work to get it set up and managed. It is a more in-depth form of digital marketing. Especially if you are only used to “SEO” work done on your site. BUT you can tie together your sales and marketing teams into one team – they can compliment each other. Instead of being two separate teams, one not knowing and often bad mouthing the other, can now work together. See what each other is doing and become a more powerful team. In fact, in some quarters, they are now advising that marketing is to be the one team any business will need, as they will be doing the sales as well. No separation, less sales people effectively.
What do you think of this?
Ready to discuss? Is it not for you? Is it too involved, too much to manage?
If so, then use an agency to manage it for you. Keep your in-house experts and work with an agency to setup and manage the inbound marketing software and procedures for you. Arrange to speak to a Retriever on this matter.
No matter what you decide, whether your marketing strategy is to include inbound marketing or not; you’ll still need to produce engaging content for your potential clients, and promote it to get found.
We can help with all matters of digital marketing, and that’s another question for the next blog – is marketing just marketing – should it include or does it already include digital marketing? That’s for another day!
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