Dana Severson

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Inbound Marketing — A Cure-All for Business Woes?

By Dana Severson

Inbound marketing. It’s not a new concept when it comes to marketing strategies, yet it's quickly becoming “all the buzz” with marketers, not to mention those who hire them.
The idea is simple enough. Create useful content that brings consumers to your site. Content that maximizes search engine rankings and social media outlets to establish relationships between you and consumers. These relationships eventually earn you trust. Trust you then leverage to convert into business.
Sounds somewhat similar to lead generation strategies, right? So what’s with the hullabaloo?
It’s much cheaper than traditional marketing tactics. In 2011, the average cost per lead for “inbound” marketing was close to $150, whereas so-called “outbound” marketing, which includes anything from print ads to email blasts to cold calling, costs almost $375.
Looking at these numbers alone tells you that you’ll likely get a good return on your investment.
Besides the low cost, this type of marketing strategy also tends to generate more leads. Let’s take Twitter, for example. A business with 1,000 followers can expect to generate 10 times more leads than those with five or less. The return on Facebook is even better, bringing in 12 times more leads.
But inbound marketing — even when done to perfection — can sometimes take you only so far. Just because you have useful content and established relationships on the web doesn’t mean the public automatically converts to consumers.
It’s for this reason you can’t ignore outbound marketing.
If a consumer doesn’t contact you, it doesn’t make them any less of a qualified lead. Yes, inbound marketing can often help identify those consumers who are more apt to invest in your products or services. But you may still need to give them a nudge to get their business. Without that nudge, you’ve lost a potential client.
Instead of relying solely on inbound marketing, a better strategy may be to combine this permission-based tactic with more traditional marketing strategies. Once you determine those people interested in your products or services, take the next step and reach out to them. Reach out to them while you’re still on their mind.
Proctor & Gambled does this. So do S.C. Johnson and Kellogg. These companies know you’re curious about their products before they ever contact you, and then offer up advice, tips and deals to increase their business.
Comparing a smaller business or start-up to these giants isn’t realistic. There’s no doubt about that. But the strategy remains the same. It’s a combination of inbound marketing to generate qualified leads and then strategic outbound marketing to turn these leads into consumers. 

So what do you think? Is inbound marketing a cure-all? Let me know.

This post was previously published at Beneath the Brand.

Copyright 2007-2014.  Dana Severson | Freelance Copywriter & Marketer.

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