Throughout my career, I’ve been able to work in many facets of sales and marketing. In this current stage, I’m excited about all of the benefits of Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing accomplishes many of marketing’s goals unlike any other form of marketing I’ve seen. I’d like to share five major “wins” of Inbound Marketing, and why I call it the “King of All Marketing.”
The Five Major Benefits of Inbound Marketing
1. You Gain Awareness
You could do a bunch of advertising, and spend a lot of money. Or, you can engage in an inbound marketing program that focuses on enrichment and let your target audience promote it for you. Think about it, when was the last time your “marketing” was regularly shared by your target audience of their own free will? Sure, you have your occasional viral video or Ice Bucket Challenge, but those are delightful little accidents. And if you get one of those “hits” and try to duplicate the success, you’re sure to jump the shark. It’s simply not a repeatable formula. So, again I ask, when was the last time your “marketing” was regularly shared by your target audience of their own free will?
That’s the beauty of inbound marketing. When done right (again, with an enrichment-focused program), your brand awareness grows because your content is being shared beyond your immediate circle, reaching countless other people that have probably never heard of your brand.
2. You Establish a Marketplace Position
Since the foundation of your inbound program is to enrich the lives of your target audience (are you seeing a theme?), your content will naturally showcase your industry expertise. This is because a proper inbound program flips the switch from promotion to enrichment, meaning your primary goal is to wake up and serve your target audience.
While everyone else in your industry puts out “marketing,” essentially saying “Hey, listen to us! We have something you need to buy! We’re awesome!”, you can focus on giving. Giving? Yes, giving. Giving value. Giving your time. Giving lessons learned. Giving away your secrets. Giving until it hurts.
Don’t have that kind of time? Sound like a lot of work? You’re right, it takes work. A lot of work. You think Kobe is Kobe because it comes easy for him? Kobe is Kobe because he outworks everyone.
Trust me on this. Be like Kobe and work your ass off. In doing so, you will be seen as a go-to resource. You will be the Kobe of your industry. This is how you achieve positioning. This is how you win.
3. You Create Real Engagement
What percentage of people see your “marketing” and do nothing at all? In a world where 10% response rates are “home runs,” 90+% of those exposed to your marketing DO NOTHING AT ALL. While this has become acceptable in our world, it represents a missed opportunity.
With inbound marketing, there’s a cool middle ground that’s available to you that just isn’t there with most other forms of marketing. This middle ground is a place where those that aren’t ready to buy are able to engage with your content by giving their thoughts and opinions, or asking questions. Make no mistake about it—this form of engagement is where amazing things can happen. It’s the holy grail of what we should be doing as marketers—creating real human interaction that endears people to our brand4. You Generate Qualified Leads
Inbound marketing allows you to produce a piece of content that addresses a specific Buyer Persona in a specific stage of the Buyers Journey. This kind of specificity is powerful when combined with a strategy that aims to nurture someone through their buying journey. The destination of this journey is a next level engagement where they become more than a browser or subscriber—they become engaged prospects. These prospects are highly qualified and engaged prospects because of how you’ve gone about “marketing” to them: by enriching, not promoting!
Imagine how happy your VP of Sales is going to be when you’re finally feeding them with marketing qualified leads. Now, the symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing can exist because both departments (and I would argue that they should be ONE DEPARTMENT anyway) will be aligned on the goals of the business. This is how you win in “marketing.” And as a result, you’ll get a promotion, a raise, and take your significant other on an amazing vacation to Maui.
5. You Can Generate and Prove a Positive ROI
The ability to generate a positive ROI is not unique to inbound marketing, but it certainly is one of the more formulaic forms of marketing when it comes to generating and proving ROI. With many other forms of marketing, it’s like that old saying: “Half of my marketing spend is a bust. Unfortunately, I don’t know which half.” Inbound marketing allows you to know “which half” because you can track all of the major components that affect outcomes: Traffic, CTAs, Landing Pages, Email Nurturing, Leads, and Sales. It’s like working in a lab—tweak one of the major components and see the change at the end of the process. For example, improve the click-through rate on one CTA, and you could increase Sales without driving a single additional visit to your website!
If generating and proving a positive ROI isn’t a requirement in your organization, buckle up—it’s coming. More and more, I’m hearing VPs of Marketing and CMOs talk about how they are being given a “number.” And let’s be honest: once the CEO starts holding you accountable to a number, chances are they’re not going to give you additional budget nor want to hear a long-winded story about how “these things take time.” Nope. They want results, and they want them yesterday. So heed my advice on this: be proactive and start defining your own “number.” Track it and report on it regularly. This will get you to Maui, too, by the way.
But it Only Works if Your Brand is Worth Getting Excited About
Of course, the benefits of Inbound Marketing become easier to achieve when you commit to and become obsessed with being an amazing brand. Nobody wants to do business with a shitty company. Get really good at something, put out quality, quickly respond to customers, treat your employees with absolute respect, create delightful experiences, and wake up and serve everyday. Sounds pretty basic, but all too often we, as “marketers,” are searching for silver bullets instead of first making sure our companies are doing something worth getting excited about.
Everyday, wake up and serve, my friends.
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