There's little doubt that inbound marketing can help your business grow. It's been proven by tens of thousands of businesses as they've grown their traffic, leads, and customers by applying inbound principles to their digital marketing campaigns. Although there are plenty of articles about the basic benefits there are others you may not have considered. If you're considering whether or not a campaign could drive value for your business you should understand the additional benefits. It's not all about increased traffic and lead production when you take a closer look.
1) A Good Reputation Creates More Opportunities
In my opinion, there's no greater satisfaction than getting complimented on the appearance of your business. If you’ve built something you’re proud of it and it feels really good to get complimented on it, there’s no denying it.
Your brand represents your professionalism, credibility, and reputation. Everything you produce can enhance your brand identity or damage it just as easily. You should be constantly concerned with your image, your presentation, your reputation in the marketplace and how best to improve it in order to win more business. As you know, it’s a continual process that takes careful planning and quality assurance along the way.
How inbound marketing can help
One of the most beneficial and long-lasting outputs of inbound marketing is the effect on your brand identity. Content creation and thought leadership around your services position you as an expert in your field, beyond others in your industry. By continually creating and publishing free resources, your organization stays in touch with prospects, educating them on what you do and how you do it.
By sharing your intellectual property freely, you increase frequency, improve reach, and grow brand recognition. Your organization becomes the credible resource people recognize, remember, and respect. When the time is right for them to purchase, you’ll be top-of-mind. Inbound marketing builds your brand by professionally and dynamically broadcasting your message.
What better way to build your brand identity than by consistently producing resourceful content? Sharing your intellectual property and toolset positions you ahead of those that don’t.
Evaluation Tip – List the methods you have for reaching prospects. If your list is void of social media, blogging, eBooks, search engines, and email marketing, you could be missing out. Your prospects use the internet every day, if you’re not reaching them there you’re not reaching them as often as you should be.
2) Reducing Your Overall Cost-Per-Lead
A good friend and consultant shared a quote with me four years ago that I’ve held close since: “A line goes up because a sale is made.” In my opinion, there is no truer statement in business. You can’t grow without sales. You're likely developing leads from other channels. You buy lists, your sales person makes calls. You go to tradeshows, invest in partnerships, etc. If you really analyze every lead source you can calculate what each channel is really costing you.
There are costs to building a consistent sales engine to drive new clients (CAC – cost of acquiring customers). You likely invest blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of money into the continued success of your sales department--and without it, you simply wouldn’t grow. I'd venture a guess the leads your sales team develops by cold calling is higher than you'd like to admit. Some channels are always going to cost more than others, it's important to have a good balance.
How inbound marketing can help
A properly executed inbound marketing campaign can breathe lifeblood into your sales effort by reaching and converting additional leads. A salesperson’s best friend is an inbound marketing lead, which puts him or her in front of qualified opportunities instead of behind the phone hunting.
With inbound marketing tactics, your salespeople will likely spend half their time prospecting and hunting. Cold calling time adds increases costs and traveling to networking events and trade shows only escalate the spend.
Could you reduce those costs by increasing inbound leads through your website?
Could you also increase the effectiveness of your sales team by providing a steady flow of warm leads on top of their efforts? Research says you can. U.S. inbound marketers spending more than $25K per year saved an average of 13% in overall cost per lead (CPL) in 2013 by using inbound efforts. That's a pretty powerful set of numbers.
If you could cut your CPL significantly and increase your lead production rate simultaneously, I’m betting you’d jump at the chance. That’s exactly what inbound marketing can do for you. For the price of as little as ½ of a salesperson, you can increase the productiveness of your entire department. If you’re considering hiring another sales person to increase production, you should also consider adding an inbound marketing campaign.
Evaluation Tip – Calculate how much you spent on all sales personnel, licenses, activities, management costs, office costs, payroll taxes, and benefits. If that number comes out to more than $15,000, inbound marketing could really make a difference.
3) Building The Ability To Really Scale
You can’t grow into a truly scalable company until you can relinquish some responsibility. If you’re forced to spend all your time in the day-to-day operations you’re accomplishing little more than creating yourself a job. You have to be able to trust your team of employees and vendors to perform in their roles to spend more time on strategy and implementation. This is often a "two steps forward, one step back" process, as scalability is fragile and dependent on many things.
One of the most painful setbacks to your organization’s forward movement is turnover, especially in the sales department. Good sales personnel build relationships and a robust pipeline from which you plan to harvest new revenue from. When they leave, their pipeline usually goes too. When your salesperson moves on and their pipeline vanishes it’s time to start over, crushing your short term projects and threatening your plans.
How inbound marketing can help
Inbound marketing serves as a leveling device for volatile pipelines. The low points of lead production are mitigated and the spikes in production are enhanced as your marketing efforts produce leads regardless of the sales department’s activity. When you lose a salesperson, you may have to jump back into meetings while you train a successor and allow them to grow into a productive member of your team. While you’re transitioning through this period of lean production, you’ll have a sustainable pipeline and a steady flow of new leads from your inbound campaign to rely on.
As your new hire learns how to hunt and present your offering, they’ll have prospects at all stages of the buying cycle in their pipeline to develop further. Every salesperson or business owner that’s had to start from scratch sure understands the value of a healthy pipeline. A properly executed inbound campaign can add velocity during good times and lessen the pain created by sales personnel churn.
Beyond staff enhancement and churn, inbound marketing provides a great set of tools and resources. As you’re trying to scale your business, you’ll certainly find this growing library of credibility pieces valuable. The prospective client, vendor, partner and employee interaction can be enhanced through the use of premium content. I’ve certainly increased my effectiveness by sprinkling in published content with standard follow-up and communication, so consider ways you can implement your library with your day to day. The increased effectiveness will add velocity to your growth.
Evaluation Tip – Dig into your sales reporting from the previous 12 months. Chart the number of meetings, proposals, and new clients produced by each salesperson every month. If you’re seeing large spikes in production (volatility) then you might benefit from an inbound marketing campaign. If you can correlate the lack of bottom line production to lead generation you can definitely benefit.
4) Building For A Better Future
Peace of mind is a tricky thing to achieve, just when you think you have some it's gone again. Everything can be running smoothly and just when you’re feeling good about the future, something changes. In order to find peace of mind in your business, you have to insulate yourself from risk as much as possible, while taking risks at the same time.
Understanding your goals can help you protect your business, employees, and family. The more you can depend on those around you to execute without your involvement the more insulated you’ll be in the event you can no longer contribute. While employees come and go, reliable services provided by established vendors coupled with careful process development can ensure continued success.
How inbound marketing can help
The reliability and layered performance of an enterprise inbound marketing campaign provide more stability than an internal resource. For the cost of an employee (or less) you get the strength, depth, and experience of an entire department at your fingertips. Add to that the power and value of HubSpot’s marketing software and peace of mind is truly obtainable. Your business will be in much better shape to grow beyond your involvement and you’ll achieve a level of stability not possible with internal resources alone.
If you can continually add tools and processes to increase effectiveness and stability you’ll be on your way to greater peace of mind. A successful marketing campaign can help you rest easier at night, knowing your business is growing even while you’re asleep.
Evaluation Tip – Ask yourself, "If I were gone tomorrow, would my business survive? What would happen to my employees? What would happen to my family? Do I have the new business engine in place to produce new clients without my involvement?" Peace of mind comes from preparation and the culmination of many sound business decisions, take some time to form solutions to these questions and you’ll sleep better at night.
There's A Lot To Consider Before You Get Started
There are a lot of great reasons to implement an inbound marketing strategy, and there are things to consider before you begin a campaign. If you're considering launching your own inbound campaign these four advantages may help you take the leap. Once you've put the proper organizational pieces in place and begun marketing you'll find the increased exposure really starts to bring results.