In the past, marketing efforts were hard to measure. Businesses would invest a lot of money into advertising to promote their brand, however, it was expensive, often too expensive for SMEs and difficult to accurately track the ROI. These days, it is easier for businesses to reach people who are likely to buy from them, with less money. This makes marketing in the digital age a lot more affordable for small business, with the added benefit of tracking the ROI. The digital age has really leveled the playing field, when it comes to reaching buyers, for SMEs.
But how can SMEs use digital marketing to reach their buyers and improve the ROI on their marketing spend? By implementing the inbound marketing methodology. Essentially, inbound marketing is customer focused marketing, also known as buyer centric marketing. Today’s buyer is online searching, reading reviews and talking to their network, getting advice and referrals. The inbound marketing methodology is about understanding not only what is important to your buyers but also what they are searching and where they are online. This insight will improve your marketing and communication to ensure you’re publishing content that is valuable and helpful to your buyers. The purpose of this article is to educate SMEs on the benefits of implementing the inbound marketing methodology into their business to improve the results and ROI of their marketing dollars.
Did you know that inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads? Or that mid-sized companies save 31% on inbound marketing costs compared to paid search? Or that the average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing? These are the type of statistics SMEs should not ignore. Now let’s look at how inbound marketing helps SMEs improve their marketing.
The inbound marketing methodology starts by understanding your buyers, known as buyer personas. I have published a lot of articles about buyer personas so I won’t go into detail about them in this article, if you wish to learn more about buyer personas click here.
This insight into your buyers will guide your marketing efforts so you know what to publish and where to publish it, ensuring your content can be found by your buyers, and is of interest to them.
By understanding what words your buyers search for online, or where they spend their time on social media, you will improve the chances of them finding your content when they’re looking. This will reduce the need for paid content or other more expensive marketing channels to get your brand in front of potential customers. And because you understand what information is important to them they are more likely to click on, read (or watch) and share your content.
Traditional, outbound marketing like cold calling or sending bulk emails to purchased lists is annoying and can damage your brand and reputation, and because it is less targeted it is quite expensive with a poor ROI.
So we have determined that inbound marketing is a highly effective way to attract people who are likely to buy from you. Great! But what you really need are leads for your sales team. So how do you get these website visitors to convert into a lead?
The best way to convert people into a lead is through a targeted offer. If you have conducted a thorough buyer persona you will know what information is important to your customers as they are working through the buying process. The key is to offer this valuable information in the form of gated content – this means people need to give you their contact details to have access to the content. Obviously the content has to be highly valuable, it might be a buyers guide, research report, how to guide – anything that will help them in their job or provide a solution to a problem, and help nurture them along the buying process. Gated content can be provided in the format of a webinar, ebook or even a live event like a workshop or seminar.
The reason inbound marketing is so cost effective is because it takes into consideration what the buyer wants – this in turn attracts people who are likely to buy from you and converts them into qualified leads.