TheRoleofInboundMarketingforB2B

Entrepreneurs are known to embrace change and even drive it. As the Internet changed buying behavior, more and more business owners have dialed down on classic sales calls and outbound advertising and started experimenting with inbound marketing techniques.

Prospects are no longer at the other end of a cold call, but rather actively searching for solutions to their problems, asking Google what the best providers are and carefully considering their options before making an informed buying decision. What’s more, 57 percent of consumers are actively taking steps to avoid brands that bombard them with poorly targeted communications

As Daren Faber keenly points out in a recent article, inbound marketing is about keeping it rational. Because B2B buyers are firstly driven by reason, rather than emotion as is the case for most B2C purchases, inbound marketing offers businesses the great advantage of becoming leaders in their industry. By actively contributing with remarkable content that answers their prospects’ needs at the right time in their buying journey, businesses create real value and build a relationship that not only leads to a closed deal, but that will turn that prospect into a promoter.

Think about it, Google is your most active salesperson, and just as you would with any salesperson, you need to make sure search engines are armed with great marketing collateral. If you’re taking the time to consistently create and distribute information that will help your prospects, guess what, they’re going to calling you.

Here are some quick inbound lead generation facts:  

  • Inbound marketing delivers 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing;
  • Inbound tactics generate the lowest cost-per-lead;
  • Relevant content produces high-quality leads;
  • Inbound marketing leverages real-time data that tells you what to optimize in order to get better results, faster than ever before.

Let’s go through each of these points.

1. Inbound marketing delivers more leads

HubSpot asked marketers what percentage of their company’s leads came from inbound versus outbound marketing; here’s the result:

Unlike a one-off advertisement, inbound marketing content persists and grows over time, which greatly increases the likelihood of your brand being found online. It’s also the key to high visibility in the search engines these days.

Inbound has the great advantage of earning people’s attention instead of manufacturing or forcing it. By creating a buyer discovery journey, optimizing their content for search engines and creating helpful blog posts, videos and social updates, B2B companies are increasing their visibility and driving more leads into the sales funnel.

Make sure that when your brand is found online, you have the content to go the journey. Helping potential customers with relevant information as they move through the sales process.

2. Inbound tactics generate the lowest cost-per-lead

For the typical B2B company in North America, inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound leads.

Social Media and Email Marketing have the lowest cost-per-lead.

In the latest B2B Demand Generation Study by marketing software review company Software Advice, when asked to evaluate the cost-per-lead of these channels, 34 percent of marketers singled out social media marketing—that is, social media campaigns and programs outside of ads—as having a “very low cost.”

A combined 66 percent also cited in-house email marketing as having a “somewhat low” or “very low” cost-per-lead. In addition, while many marketers said trade shows produced a high volume of excellent leads, this was also the channel most frequently described as having a “somewhat high” or “very high” cost-per-lead (83 percent).

Source: Software Advice

3. Relevant content produces high-quality leads

The same study analyzes the demand- and lead-generation effectiveness of various types of content, offers, and calls-to-action (CTAs).

The best performing type of content?  Video content, used by 92 percent of B2B marketers, according to Software Advice.

Source: Software Advice

It’s no surprise that visual content is much more appealing than text – it gives our reader a pause from reading text and it keeps their attention focused. It’s easier to forget something you’ve read than something you’ve seen, not to mention the emotional impact that videos and images can have.

Source: Software Advice

In fact, when asked to evaluate content types, marketers most commonly cited B2B videos as generating a “very high” quantity of leads.

The key to successful content creation is to tailor it to your buyer persona, answer their pain points and make sure that your content reaches them at the right time in their buyer’s journey. For example, a great content example aimed at closing a sale is a live-demo offer. According to Software Advice, live demos with sales reps were also the offer or CTA most cited as generating “excellent” (45 percent) or “good” (42 percent) quality leads.

Source: Software Advice

4. Inbound marketing leverages real-time data

Although content creation is the number one challenge in inbound marketing, there are actual two other mistakes that lead to a failed strategy: Not writing that strategy down and Not measuring your actions. The real power in inbound is that it’s rational. It’s data-driven marketing.

Research shows that technology content marketers who document their content marketing strategy are more effective than those who don’t. Always be careful to document your strategy and to track and compare your progress over time.

Whether you’ve just started experimenting with inbound marketing or you’re already a veteran, it’s always a welcomed exercise to go through the basics again and brainstorm new ways to optimize your performance.

Image credit: Tulane Public Relations