There’s a misconception about B2B inbound marketing, and it’s leaving some companies behind in the race to generate sales qualified leads and grow their market shares. Some small businesses believe that inbound is only meant for large-scale manufacturers with big budgets and big marketing staffs.
While most small businesses acknowledge the effectiveness of inbound marketing, they struggle to justify the time, money and work that needs to go into a long-term strategy. So, in an effort to reap some of the rewards, they attempt to create their own versions of inbound marketing, usually with disappointing results. They often walk away thinking it was the methodology that failed when, in reality, it was because they weren’t all-in.
Truth is, inbound marketing is perfectly suited for many small businesses. But what about yours? Answering these seven questions can help you determine if inbound marketing is a solution your business needs to implement.
1. Are You Able to Measure Your Traditional Marketing Results?
Take a look at your current marketing efforts. What do you see? Trade booths and publication ads? Billboards? Printed mailers? These traditional marketing tactics may have had their day, but in today’s data-driven marketplace, they no longer bring the value they once did. Instead of casting a wide net in hopes of catching some leads, inbound marketing can be highly targeted toward a specific industry, and even a specific type of buyer persona within that industry. Inbound attracts the right kind of buyer for your product or service, and captures valuable lead data to help you effectively nurture prospects. And, this approach allows you to measure direct sales results with real analytics and metrics, so you know exactly how your marketing efforts are paying off.
And let’s not forget how inbound marketing pairs with your sales team and their efforts. Cold calling is a thing of the past, and equipping your sales force with high-quality, actively seeking leads will boost conversion rates and the bottom line. For many, even one additional sales conversion due to inbound could easily make the investment worth it.
2. Have You Calculated How Much is Being Spent on Your Current Marketing Efforts?
Sure, you’ve got a marketing budget in place, but have you truly done a full-scale cost analysis that includes ROI? Without data and metrics, ROI is a guessing game. Inbound provides metrics that can tell you exactly what content results in lead conversions and allows you to focus your efforts on where the biggest payoffs are most likely to occur. Enlisting the help of an inbound agency can also boost ROI by eliminating the need to hire additional marketing staff. When considering the salaries, benefits, technology, office space and other needs that a single employee requires, it often makes more sense to hire a qualified inbound agency and leverage its wide range of relevant expertise.
3. Does Your Marketing Person Wear Many Hats?
There’s no doubt that implementing an inbound strategy can help small businesses, but how much time can your marketing person really dedicate to it? It’s not uncommon for the marketing person in a small organization to also serve in a customer relations, sales or administrative role. Being pulled in so many directions inevitably diminishes the ability of a marketing person to dedicate the necessary time to inbound – and will result in a lackluster outcome. Enlisting the help of an inbound agency to oversee your online marketing efforts positions your marketing person for success and allows him or her to focus on core competencies.
4. Is Your Website Optimized to Capture Leads and Position Your Company for Growth?
It still amazes me how many websites aren’t mobile-friendly, when mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent online. But optimizing a website requires more than making sure it looks nice on a smartphone. Intuitive design helps lead potential customers on a journey of self-directed discovery. It’s also no longer enough for a company to launch a website and think about revamping it a couple years down the road. Creating a site with growth-driven design focuses on continuous improvement and positions your site to evolve with changing customer needs and trends. It’s an imperative for any inbound strategy.
5. Do You Have the Tools You Need to Measure Results?
While there are some free analytics tools that can provide observations about how many people are visiting your site and which pages get the top views, they usually don’t give insights into user behavior. More robust marketing automation tools, such as Hubspot’s reporting features, allow you to view user engagement and link it to a specific contact, providing opportunities to offer more personalized content to guide them along their buyer journey. Hotjar, another tool, uses heat maps to indicate ways your site is being viewed. Did someone click on a button that wasn’t a link? Are a number of visitors leaving the page without scrolling past the fold? These insights take away the guessing game about why people engage or disengage from your website, and give an over-the-shoulder perspective of how your site is being used and provide valuable data to help you make changes.
6. Do You Have a Social Media Strategy?
Free is good, right? So, why not take advantage of social media? It can be a great tool for small businesses and is an integral part of any inbound strategy. Small businesses especially can benefit from having a strong social media presence that demonstrates their expertise and provides additional opportunities to discover their content. If for no other reason, businesses should address the impending labor shortage by using social media as a tool to highlight their company culture and attract qualified workers. As is true with regularly posting relevant content on your website, consistency on social media is essential in order to see results and stay top-of-mind.
7. Do You Want to Be Perceived as a Small Business?
Sure, you’re a small business, but do you want to be perceived as one when trying to attract a potential high-level client? Inbound gives small businesses “equal opportunity” to demonstrate expertise and build credibility – something that in years past, only enterprise-level companies could afford to do well. And inbound isn’t a once-and-done proposition; it’s sustainable with evergreen content that can have impact for the long term.
As most industries continue to become more competitive, marketing efforts need to become more strategic, especially for smaller businesses that want to stand out from the crowd. Working with an experienced inbound partner can help you develop a robust strategy and help your business grow. Want to get started? Reach out to us here at the Weidert Group for a free consultation.