The Real Reason You're Not Doing Inbound Marketing

November 14, 2014 Michael Reynolds

462604973-1Pretty much all organizations want to grow, earn more revenue, and be as profitable as possible. This is a no-brainer.

There are many ways to generate revenue. Some organizations rely on cold calling. Some rely on trade shows. Some rely on networking. Some rely on modern digital channels like SEO, social media, and when fully integrated... inbound marketing.

Most organizations try multiple strategies for lead-generation and sales. Sometimes, they see success (which we love to see!). However, numerous analyses have demonstrated that inbound marketing is often the most efficient, effective, and profitable strategy for business growth.

With this in mind, you might expect that inbound marketing would be a high priority for most organizations, right? Well, it might shock you to hear this but sometimes people don't want to give it a try.

We talk to lots of CEOs, owners, and executives and while many of them see the value of inbound marketing and are eager to start investing, some are still uncomfortable with the idea. With all the stats, metrics, and data that proves that inbound marketing is effective, why would anyone say no?

Because humans often tend to make decisions based on emotion rather than data.

Inbound Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: The Emotions

Don't get too discouraged... it's not your fault. We're creatures of "instant gratification" and if left unchecked, this tendency will rule our decisions. Think about it, would you rather buy a new car or invest for retirement? Would you rather eat that entire pizza or go to the gym? Would you rather see your sales team making cold calls and going to trade shows or would you rather invest in SEO and wait 12 months for your website to start ranking and bringing in more leads?

Of course we want the car, the pizza, and the busy-looking sales team. Why? Because these things feel good. They give you instant pleasure.

Delayed pleasure is not fun. We all know in our minds that long-term investing leads to better outcomes but that's hard to wrap our minds around when we're looking at that shiny new car.

In business, we choose things like cold calling, tradeshows, and fancy print collateral because these things feel good. It feels good to knock out 50 cold calls. Even if you didn't set a single appointment, you feel like you accomplished something. It feels good to jump on a plane and go to a tradeshow because you shake hands and gather business cards. It feels good to go to a bunch of networking events and have conversations because it's tangible. You can observe and understand all of these things. They make us feel productive.

But how scalable and efficient are these activities? How many hands do you need to shake to get enough leads? How do you qualify those leads? How many calls can you make in one day? What's your conversion rate? Does anyone even answer the phone anymore?

When you run the numbers, it may become clear that the traditional methods of lead generation are very difficult to justify. But we do these things because they feel good in the short term.

Inbound Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: The Data

So what does the data say about inbound marketing? Let's look at some statistics:

  • 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Source: Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
  • Blog frequency impacts customer acquisition. 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
  • 46% of people read blogs more than once a day. (HubSpot Science of Blogging 2010)
  • Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
  • Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10. (HubSpot)
  • Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
  • Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate. (Source: CSO Insights)
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. (Source: SilverPop/DemandGen Report)
  • According to Social Media B2B, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t. (Source: HubSpot)
  • According to Search Engine Journal, inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads. (Source: HubSpot)
  • Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, teamed up to report that 61% of B2B marketers rate webinars as the most effective content-marketing tactic. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • Content Marketing Institute recently reported that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement. The bottom line: We don’t want to be sold to, we want to be educated, and articles deliver the kind of information your prospects are seeking in order to make smart, well-informed decisions. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

Wow! If you made it all the way through that massive list of statistics there might be something wrong with you. Nobody wants to absorb a page full of statistics. Where's my pizza?

So what are all these statistics really saying? Bottom line: inbound marketing is more scalable, efficient, and cost effective than traditional outbound techniques. Inbound marketing creates a powerful "machine" that grows and develops over time to generate more leads than traditional outbound marketing. It sets your sales team up for success. It generates better quality leads.

But because it takes time and effort (and money) to get started, it doesn't feel as good... at least until the leads start flowing in.

So Why Aren't You Doing Inbound Marketing?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of networking and other activities as a supplement to inbound marketing. Those things can have strategic value as part of a bigger program. But inbound marketing (when applied to the right organizations with the right fit) tends to be a much better return on investment than traditional outbound.

So are you avoiding investing in inbound marketing because it's "too expensive" or are you avoiding it because it's not as tangible as the "instant gratification" methods you're used to?

Only you can answer that for yourself, but it's a good exercise to consider as you evaluate your business growth strategies.

This post originally appeared on the SpinWeb Marketing blog. SpinWeb is a HubSpot Partner located in Indianapolis, IN.

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