In this blog, we'll be talking about how inbound marketing can be a breath of fresh air for your business and how you can create a connected marketing strategy that really works for the long-term.
Disconnection Can Be Damaging
Traditional marketing is broken. Yet there are still many professional services marketers who opt for traditional, antiquated processes without realising they could be pushing themselves away from their goals and causing harm to their business.
Traditional marketing (also known as outbound) is, by any means, a way to provide mass marketing - and that's not a good thing! Think: email and newsletter blasts, cold-calling, and generic promotional ploys that offer no value or personalisation for its audience. Mass marketing simply exists to provide awareness in the hopes of generating leads, but with no regard for the buyer or their position in the path to purchase.
It could be why 80% of CEOs are under the impression that marketers are too disconnected from the financial realities because they don't provide enough ROI. Traditional marketing can be damaging for any business, especially when it eats away precious time, money, and resources spent for little in return.
So how can marketers become connected in the digital world that offers up the opportunity for their business to thrive?
The solution: Inbound Marketing.
The Beauty of Inbound
Inbound marketing prides itself on being customer-centric. Why is this strategy a good thing? This focus means that your services actually provide some relevance and value because you've shown that you understand your audience's pain points and needs by laying out the solutions for them.
It's not just about promoting awareness, either. Inbound marketing is about businesses who can build trust and loyalty with their most valuable clients. By addressing where your potential clients lie within the buyer's journey, the better you can maintain how and when to engage with the people who want to engage back.
As a bonus nugget of information: statistics show that inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing! It goes to show that inbound marketing can provide your business with a results-driven approach that's a win for everyone.
We'll explain how you can put together a connected inbound marketing strategy that helps you drive your business forward and really thrive.
Marketing and Sales Need to be Aligned
This one's a biggie when it comes to creating a connected strategy. You need a connected workforce! As part of the inbound philosophy, aligning your teams together can help your business focus on achieving the same goals, without losing sight along the way.
Did you know that only 22% of businesses have a formal service level agreement (SLA) between their marketing and sales departments? However, 81% of those with an aligned SLA believe that their marketing strategy is effective.
These numbers are important to note because, while there aren't many businesses taking advantage of an aligned team, the ones who do see greater effectiveness in their strategy.
Here are two ways you can start building a connected workforce:
1. Shared Goals & Knowledge
It's important that your business needs to have high-level goals that everyone will work together and accomplish. Of course, each department will have a smaller set of goals that they will work on in order to achieve the bigger goal.
To ensure that everyone works together, you need to understand that both your marketers and your salespeople have intimate knowledge about your business from different aspects. They know your business; they have a perception of the target audience, and they know what's working well and what isn't.
Through a common understanding of these elements between departments, your business will be able to provide more bespoke, tailored offers and services that lead to the achievement of goals.
2. Departmental Communications
In the HubSpot State of Inbound 2017 report, we noticed that there was a trend around poor communication between departments, mainly based on assumptions from each side.
For example, over half of the marketers surveyed said they provide salespeople with their best quality leads. The salespeople, on the other hand, actually scored marketing leads as last. Out of these, only 8% of sales stated that the marketing leads were high quality.
From the numbers, it's incredibly clear just how much internal communication between departments is needed if a business wants to create a connected inbound strategy. The example above speaks about two departments going in different directions. Why pursue a lead on one side of the building that the other side is convinced can't be converted?
And to top things off, companies with aligned sales and marketing are three times more likely to be effective. So get aligning!
Solve Problems Through Customer Profiling
Your business solves problems for customers. You are the solution providers to the woes and challenges of your target audience. It's vital that you have an understanding of what your customer actually needs and that's where customer profiles (often called 'buyer personas') come in.
With a well-designed customer profile, your goal is to provide something that serves a purpose for your ideal customer that is unique, meaningful, and drives your prospect further through the sales funnel.
Customer profiling is an essential piece of inbound marketing because it identifies these pain points early to facilitate a proper buyer's journey. To be the go-to problem solvers for your audience, you need to understand who your audience is. Your ideal audience is essentially a representation of the people who want to engage with your business.
It's an important part of inbound marketing, as everything stems from these customer profiles and their buyer's journey.
For some great tips on how you can better understand your audience and use them to your advantage, read our blog here on mastering your target audience profiles. .
Use Data to Your Advantage
One of the reasons inbound works so well is because everything is tracked and measurable. This tracking allows you to monitor data and results in order to tweak and improve your marketing strategy, ensuring that you're always several steps ahead.
Customer analysis and reporting can help you further optimise your marketing strategy. You'll be able to visualise everything from:
- How many steps it takes for a visitor to find your website
- How long a visitor stays on your website
- What traffic channels people come through - direct, paid, or social
- Your customer profile demographics, such as: age, income, preferences, and so on
- The best-converting pages and forms
- And much more!
If something isn't measurable, don't do it! You'll be much better off once you realise the benefits of being able to see the results of what you're doing.
Plus, you'll be sure to impress your boss if you become an ROI marketer, proving that their investments have been worthwhile!
Conclusion? Inbound All the Way!
Inbound marketing is a proven process for over 30,000 businesses around the world - so what's not to love? And with GDPR on the way, it's becoming clear that outbound is a dying breed in today's digital moving marketplace. To review, here's how you can start overhauling your strategy the inbound way:
- Align your marketing and sales departments by sharing knowledge and communication in order to work toward the same goals.
- Understand your target audience profiles in order to provide the solutions to your audience's problems.
- Use data analysis to continuously improve and optimise your marketing strategy (and impress your boss!).
So it makes sense to look to future-proofing your marketing investments. You'll be safe in the knowledge that inbound marketing offers great benefits for your business.
Get on the inbound train today and help your business thrive and prosper.
If you're looking for more tips on how you can grow your business the inbound way, download our free eBook, 5 Ways to Grow Your Business, today.