Inbound marketing doesn’t work for every business.
With frequent success stories describing soaring revenue with minimal cost of acquisition, website traffic that breaks the internet, and sales teams buried under a mass of highly qualified leads, it’s easy to be swept up in the excitement of inbound.
So much so that some businesses jump headfirst into inbound marketing without knowing it’s not the right fit for their company. What results is lacklustre traffic, minimal leads and the impression that inbound “simply doesn’t work.”
Inbound marketing does work, and breakthrough results are easily achieved with the right strategy and perseverance. However for some verticals, the attract-convert-close-delight methodology just isn’t the right strategy.
Industries That Suit Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing works best for industries that have a longer sales cycle. These are often B2B companies that are closing bigger deals, requiring far more education and consideration before a sale is made. However, B2C businesses selling higher-ticket products and services can also succeed with inbound marketing. The essential ingredient is an education process.
For example, consider a financial services company that help their customers set up a self-managed super fund. These customers will put more thought into this decision than into purchasing a pizza.
The financial services business may then begin to answer common questions and concerns about self-managed super funds on their blog; attracting visitors through search engines. They then may promote a more in-depth content that is gated behind a form, to convert this visitor into a lead. From there, the prospect is nurtured down the funnel with supporting content until they are ready to buy from the business.
It’s important to note that the inbound methodology takes time. Building a solid foundation of useful content to educate your prospects, building domain authority and SEO value, creating the premium assets needed to generate leads, nurturing these leads down the funnel before handing them to the sales team doesn’t happen overnight.
Inbound Marketing for SaaS Companies
Software-as-a-service companies are prime contenders for inbound marketing success. Not only do their products require a period of customer education, but they are also well-suited for lead generation. For example, offering a free trial of the software is an essential quick win for SaaS businesses, and can be the primary call-to-action used to convert visitors into leads.
Other inbound marketing tactics that are beneficial to SaaS companies include:
- Product demonstrations
- Compelling product videos
- How-to video tutorials
- Slideshare presentations on proving the value of the software in your business
Traditional inbound marketing strategies like blogging and SEO remain foundational for SaaS companies to attract visitors, which can be bolstered by using digital advertising tactics.
Inbound Marketing for eCommerce Businesses
Inbound marketing is still a valuable strategy for businesses with a short sales cycle, like retail eCommerce websites. However, it’s best served in stages, in this case with a focus on the close and delight stages of the traditional inbound methodology. A study conducted by Frederick Reichheld of the Harvard Business School found that increasing customer retention by 5% can result in a 95% increase in revenue.
For this reason, an eCommerce business selling swimwear may focus less on the attract stage of the inbound methodology (e.g., gaining visitors through organic search by blogging to build SEO value), and more on the final stages of the inbound methodology: close and delight.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO), user experience design (UX) and after-sale strategies are essential considerations for eCommerce companies. The Growth-Driven Design methodology, which is a process of making continual improvements to your website based on continuous collection of user data, is a highly effective way to make these improvements and drive higher conversion.
Customer retention strategies like these are all vital for eCommerce success:
- Incentivising repeat business
- Increasing share of wallet
- Re-engaging dormant customers
- Staying top-of-mind with email communications (which can also be used to promote sales offers)
- Going above and beyond with a seamless customer service experience
These may not come to mind when thinking “inbound marketing”, however they all fit neatly into the later stages of the inbound methodology and should not be ignored. Other strategies like paid re-marketing can also be highly effective, so it’s important that you engage an inbound agency with a comprehensive suite of services.
How to Know if Inbound Marketing Will Work For You
When deciding whether or not to pursue an inbound marketing program, there are a few important questions to ask yourself:
- Do my customers need to be educated before buying our products and services?
- Do these customers research these products or services online?
- Do we have the resources needed to maintain an inbound marketing program?
This last question is one that is often overlooked, but in fact requires the most thought. Maintaining an inbound marketing program is a significant commitment, and demands more than a “we’ll try it out for a couple of months” approach. As mentioned, it takes time to build the necessary assets for inbound marketing success, and without a steady cadence of activity, it can falter.
Content creation, publishing, amplification, strategy, analysis, optimisation and iteration is an ongoing process. Without committing time and resources to your inbound marketing program, you’ll struggle with subpar results. It’s very much a game of the more you give, the more you get.
An effective inbound marketing program doesn’t just require your marketing time and resources. Your sales department will need to be on board with the program, which can be achieved through ‘smarketing’ alignment. Without sales commitment to inbound, the leads you nurture with your marketing activities may be ultimately lost with a disparate sales strategy.
How to Get the Most From Your Inbound Marketing
Your business might be the perfect candidate for inbound marketing, but without an effective strategy, the means to implement it and the diverse skills needed to analyse and optimise at every stage of the sales funnel, it will inevitably fall short of your business goals.
An experienced inbound marketing agency can be an invaluable extension of your business, giving you access to diverse skill sets at a fraction of the price of a senior marketing manager. To discover how Spinfluence can fuel your inbound marketing success, get in touch with us below.