We're not saying outbound marketing is dead, exactly, but it is listed in critical condition at the local ICU. According to some studies, marketers can improve their ROI by 50 percent (in some cases, significantly more) by switching from outbound marketing strategies to inbound. One thing that helps is that many of the inbound tactics are incredibly low-cost, and even free. It's also highly targeted, so even if you reach fewer people, you still generate better results. Here's how to super-fine-tune your inbound marketing for a greater ROI.
Value Quality Over Quantity
When you first switch gears from outbound to inbound, the numbers you reach will leave you underwhelmed (and potentially a bit panicked). However, when you see the effort through, you'll realize that though the number of potential customers you reached was way lower, the number of leads that converted into paying customers was substantially more impressive.
This is because inbound marketing produces high-quality leads: people and organizations who already have an interest in products or services like yours. Naturally, a higher interest level converts easily into higher sales levels. You're spending far less, but generating far more.
Choose the Best Inbound Marketing Techniques for Your Business
There are a lot of inbound marketing tools, and each works wonderfully in certain situations. Similarly, those same tools might not fare as well in other industries or for other businesses. A complete arsenal of inbound marketing tools includes:
- Content Marketing (blogs, whitepapers, e-books, infographics, case studies, etc.)
- Audio-Visual Marketing (Podcasts, webinars, etc.)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
Blogs are generally standard practice -- every business needs those. The key is to create a blog that is a useful resource. Basic promotional blogs are worthless. Complex topics can be covered in lengthier medium, such as whitepapers, case studies, and e-books. Infographics are ideal for presenting a large or complicated set of information in an easy-to-read-and-understand format.
Podcasts and webinars are great for delving deeper into a topic than a standard written article can cover. SEO is just good marketing practice, and should be part of every marketer's comprehensive package of inbound marketing efforts. Social media is also a no-brainer, as it's one of the fastest, easiest, most affordable ways to both generate leads and nurture customer relationships. The good part is that all of these are inexpensive to produce. You can try each, discover which produce the best results, and then focus your efforts there.
Offer Real Value in Your Inbound Marketing Messages
Since inbound marketing strategies are lower-cost than outbound, you can afford to invest in super high-quality stuff. Hire the best writers, and be willing to pay top dollar for a talented writer who is able to produce easy-to-read, honestly helpful material. Look for great designers, photographers, and videographers when producing your content. Improving the looks and quality of your message truly pays off, especially if your competitors are engaging in inbound marketing, too. Make sure yours is the absolute best.
Master the Art of the Call to Action
Inbound marketing is like walking a tightrope: you can't sway too far off center without falling off. Content marketing and other inbound strategies are a soft sell -- as opposed to the hard sell of the outbound marketing plan. Bring them in. Woo and court them. Enlighten and inform them. Then gently, ever so sweetly, call them to take action on your message. Like the shy date, pressure could drive them away and destroy all your efforts. Make the CTA clear, concise, short, pointed, and inoffensive.
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