Is Inbound Marketing Right For Your Business?
If you’ve been searching for ways to improve your company’s internet marketing, you’ve likely come across the word “inbound” several times. Inbound marketing involves defining your brand’s target audience and analyzing the steps they take before becoming customers. Company blogs, emails, and product guides are all part of an inbound marketing campaign. Each type of content serves to inform the reader as he or she makes a final purchasing decision. So, before starting your campaign you need a full Inbound Marketing Assessment or else you’ll be navigating without a compass.
Your Strategy Depends on the Business
Inbound marketers analyze the “digital breadcrumbs” that customers leave behind during the sales journey. They analyze their browsing habits, the free e-books or white papers they download, and even the content they view online. When the time is right, the sales team can reach out to the prospect and help him or her complete the purchase.
Using inbound marketing tools such as HubSpot is usually less costly than direct sales, and they can greatly increase your engagement effectiveness. Despite these obvious benefits, not every company should employ inbound strategies. Using inbound incorrectly can result in lost time and revenue, so it’s important to determine whether it’s right for you.
Weighing the Options
When it comes to business-to-business inbound marketing, not all questions are the same. Inbound marketing tools can be effective when answering complex questions that require several steps before a decision. Plus, the decision made often can impact the business for several years.
In terms of products, inbound strategies are more effective for those that require extensive research and consideration before the purchase. The customer may have to evaluate offerings from several brands and may spend a few hours – or days – reading content on companies’ websites. The following characteristics best would best serve a buying decision:
- Important: If the decision to purchase a product will seem questionable by the executive board or shareholders, the prospect must do his or her homework beforehand.
- Complex: Sometimes, products are so complex they require research before they can be fully understood. Inbound is a good fit for products that require educational content.
- Risky: Could something bad happen to your prospect’s company if he or she makes the wrong purchasing decision? Perhaps the purchase the product would set the company on a new trajectory that affects shareholders, employees, or even their customers. The higher the risk, the more complex the sales journey becomes. This sets the stage for an information-rich inbound strategy.
For instance, an employee selecting a new software application that will be used company-wide is making a complex, important decision. It’s likely that shareholders will have a stake in the results, and there could be multiple options. This type of product would be a good idea for an inbound marketing campaign since the customer must conduct research and compare several options before committing to a choice.
Risk for Reward
A less complex decision, like selecting a new coffeemaker, will likely have less oversight and will not pose a great risk to the company’s success. With this decision, the employee will choose a product quickly, and the decision won’t affect shareholders. This type of product may not be ideal for an inbound program.
While inbound marketing can be effective, it’s important to assess the decisions your customers make before implementing a plan. If the decisions are low-risk, simple, and safe, you may be better off sticking with a brand awareness strategy. However, if the decisions are important, complex, and high-priority, it’s likely that an inbound strategy is right for your business.