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Marketing has changed so much in the last decade that it’s become an entirely different beast. Modern marketing has done a 180° turn, and if you haven’t moved with it, now’s the time to act.
Inbound leads can make your business thrive in a way that outbound marketing never could. This powerful form of marketing saves you time, effort, and cash while driving far more organic traffic than you ever thought possible.
Do you want to spend your marketing dollars more efficiently? Would you like leads to come to your business, ready to buy? Do you want your marketing efforts to keep working for months, even years?
Keep reading to find out why inbound lead generation is the best place to flex your marketing muscles. You’ll be seeing results before you can say, “step aside, Don Draper.”
WHAT IS INBOUND LEAD GENERATION?
Inbound lead generation is one of two methods: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is a reasonably recent development where businesses create informative content to share with their audience. This content doesn’t sell directly, as an ad would. Instead, it gives information and allows leads to find your business themselves.
AN EXAMPLE OF INBOUND MARKETING CONTENT
Let’s say you run a home aquarium business and are looking for more leads. Instead of posting ads in your area or online, you could choose inbound marketing tactics.
You might start a blog and have post content such as, “How to Start a Home Aquarium” or “Easy Fish for Kids to Keep.” You can use SEO keyword research to tailor your blogs to your target audience.
When your audience searches for information about keeping fish, they might come across your blog posts and, by extension, your business.
THE POWER OF INBOUND LEAD GENERATION
As a society, we’re getting sick of people selling to us when we’re not interested in buying. This is why outbound marketing doesn’t have the power of inbound marketing.
Inbound lead generation uses methods that allow your audience to find you right when they need you.
There are plenty of ways that seeking inbound leads is the best thing you can do for your business. Let’s take a look.
1. THE CUSTOMERS ARE IN THE DRIVING SEAT
Few people enjoy feeling pressured into buying something. We all like to think we’re in control of our purchasing decisions, and this works in your favor if you use it in the right way.
Think of a pushy salesperson. They might hound a half-interested customer who eventually caves and buys reluctantly. This makes a sale for the salesperson, but will that customer ever return? No.
There are many ways to generate inbound leads, but they all have one thing in common: they put the lead in the driving seat. Inbound marketing offers genuinely useful information for free, and your potential customer decides whether they’ll take it further.
Inbound marketing methods include:
- Case studies
2. IT’S DIGITAL WORD-OF-MOUTH
Worth-of-mouth marketing is one of the most sought after marketing tactics. This is because people trust the opinion of people they know and respect more than that of companies.
Traditionally, word-of-mouth marketing happened when one person verbally shared positive experiences of a company or product with people in their close circle or peer group. As our socializing has moved more online, so has the concept of word-of-mouth marketing.
So how does it work?
When you produce high-quality inbound marketing content, let’s say a blog post, you’ll share it to your business’ social channels. When your audience reads and enjoys it, it might inspire them to share it across their social channels.
Now their followers will be reading your blog post because someone they know has shared it. This carries more weight than when you shared it yourself. This is word-of-mouth power, and it’s how content can go viral if it has the right qualities.
3. GAIN TRUST EARLY ON
When you use outbound marketing techniques such as ads, your audience has no reason to trust you. All you’ve done is pay to put an ad in front of them—they’re not in a position to care.
When you’re generating inbound leads, the trust comes first.
When your audience is searching for information, and they come across your content, they get the information they’re looking for upfront. Perhaps they read your blog post on their exact issue, or they hear your podcast episode discussing it.
Once they’ve got that information, they might want to make a purchase, and they might not. Either way, when they’re ready to buy, who will they go to? A random company or the business who gave them such valuable information for free?
When they’re ready to buy what you’re selling, you don’t need to sell it to them. You’ve already gained their trust by being generous with your knowledge.
4. IT’S ADAPTABLE
Fifteen years ago, the idea that every company would need a blog was incomprehensible. Now, it’s standard.
Just ten years ago, the idea that the majority of internet traffic would be video was strange. Now video has more traffic than anything else online.
Inbound marketing opportunities evolve as demand changes, and once you embrace developing inbounds leads, you can adapt your content easily.
A great example is podcasting. Blogs are vital, but if your audience loves podcasts, why not record your blogs as audio too?
5. YOU’LL BENEFIT IN THE SHORT AND LONG TERM
An ad has a short lifespan. After it’s over, its effects are drastically reduced or gone entirely. You must start again with a new ad or pay for more advertising space.
Inbound lead generation is the opposite of this short-term approach. Content can be topical and targeted for a quick uptake, but it can just as easily be evergreen.
Evergreen content is that which ages well, content that’s as relevant in two years as it is right now. If we go back to the home aquarium example, parents in five years will still want to find out the easiest fish for their kids to keep.
6. IT’S CHEAPER THAN OUTBOUND
This short and long term effectiveness means that the money you spend on inbound lead generation goes much further than dollars spent on outbound marketing.
With outbound marketing, you have to pay to create and display ads. Ads can be extortionately expensive, especially as they are far more generalized than inbound marketing methods.
Even if your ad appears in a tailored publication, the readers may not be at the buying stage of the cycle.
Inbound marketing involves content creation and then distribution on your website, social platforms, and often other websites as guest posts. Many of these platforms are free for businesses to upload content, a massive difference from ads placed on the same platforms.
As inbound content stays online and searchable until you remove it, the money spent on creating the content spreads out over a long time, even in perpetuity.
7. IT SAVES TIME
Outbound marketing includes tactics like cold calling, ads, and direct mail. All these things take time to create or pursue. Often, they also have a low return on investment.
Inbound marketing, in comparison, does most of the hard work for you. Once your content is out there, it’ll start ranking in search engines and building an audience day and night.
Inbound marketing is much like passive income. Each piece of inbound marketing is something you only need to create once, and it can reap results continually, without much further action from you.
As you generate more inbound marketing content, you can also monitor its effectiveness. By tracking metrics and watching where your inbound leads are coming from, you can assess which types of inbound marketing are working best for you and your audience.
If you have content already or if you want to know how effective your website is at generating leads, you can get a free website audit from us. When you arm yourself with the right information, you can cut out things that aren’t working and switch to things that are.
8. INBOUND LEAD GENERATION CAN EVOLVE EASILY
When you pay for an ad campaign, you design your ads, and they run. If they don’t work, you can’t do much to recoup your costs, if anything. It’s hard to test different ads cost-effectively.
With inbound marketing, though, you can evolve your strategies seamlessly as you gain more feedback.
When you create a blog post, you can edit the title whenever you choose, for instance. You can alter images, even podcasts, if you want to. This allows businesses to respond quickly to changing preferences or feedback from metrics.
If you monitor your blog’s effectiveness and see that a particular type of post is generating many more inbound leads than other types, you can experiment with more of the successful examples. It’s cheap and easy to do this as you haven’t paid a hefty upfront fee like you would with an ad campaign.
This enables your marketing efforts to reflect timely changes and put out content that matters to your audience, right when they need it.
In a world of instant communication and a 24-hour news cycle, this ability to change your marketing efforts to suit is powerful.
9. IT HAS A SNOWBALL EFFECT
Inbound marketing snowballs quickly and has sweeping benefits for your business as a whole. One of the key ways that it builds power exponentially is with SEO.
If you have a business website with a few pages, search engines can only rank those pages. This limits the number of times your business can appear in search results and the keywords you can rank for.
If you have a blog, each post will be a separate page. This means that search engines can also rank each of those pages for various search terms, giving you many more opportunities to pop up in search rankings.
The amount of pages your site has is only the beginning. If readers start sharing your content, that social proof will help your SEO too. As more people click on your content they find around the web, you’ll get more organic visitors to your website.
Search engines see popular websites as more valuable and they rank them higher. So you can see how content snowballs and drives inbound leads. For the most effective snowballing, you can outsource your inbound marketing to experts who can create a strategy that streamlines your inbound lead generation efforts.
Compare this to an ad, which has a short lifespan and a limited sharing ability.
GENERATING INBOUND LEADS IS A POWERFUL GOAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS
When you put your focus on generating inbound leads, you’ll save your business time, effort, and money. Inbound leads come to you; there’s no need to go to them and persuade them to do business with you. Instead, your inbound marketing works its magic on your behalf.
By providing your audience with informative content and sharing it widely, you’ll be giving your knowledge generously. This generosity not only builds trust early on, but it allows your audience to find your content at a specific time in the buying cycle.
No matter what happens in the marketing world, you can adapt and evolve your inbound marketing efforts fast and without spending lots of extra cash. As you can create evergreen inbound content, it’s the marketing effort that keeps giving, paying for itself over and over again.
If you want to maximize the ROI on your inbound efforts, you’ll need to work out which types of inbound marketing are suitable and build a strategy to implement and monitor them.
We’re an official HubSpot partner and help businesses just like yours to achieve their inbound marketing goals. We run audits, optimize content, create inbound strategies, and much more.
Interested? Start your free HubSpot trial to drive inbound leads.