Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that attract prospects to your company as compared to outbound marketing, which requires going out to prospects with interruptive tactics such as cold-calls, direct mail, and billboards. Both take time and effort to build up, but inbound leads will typically buy first for several reasons.
Inbound Leads Are in a Position of Trust
Some of the best relationships between people start with trust. Naturally, that’s not something that happens over night. The same goes for marketing. It’s been proven time and time again: if people trust your brand, they're willing to buy more, try more, and pay more. The best way to earn a prospect's trust, then, is to stop selling and start helping. Creating content that educates, guides them through a purchasing process, solves a pain point, or creates value earns the trust of your visitor and makes them feel like you understand them. When you do this, they stay longer on your site, they continue to come back for more information and most importantly - they're willing to offer up contact information in exchange for your valuable content offer. In other words, they become an inbound lead.
Nurtured Leads Are More Likely to Close
Once you have someone’s contact information, you then have the opportunity to nurture the relationship. You can see what they are most interested in and continue to send them relevant, useful information.
Content Marketing Institute recently reported that 80% of business decision-makers actually prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement. When you are working outbound leads, such as cold calling or direct mail campaigns, you’re never really sure the level of interest or where they are at in the buyer's journey, making it harder to engage and start a relationship. Not to mention, inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads (Search Engine Journal). Considering the amount of waste associated with traditional, impression-based advertising, inbound marketing provides a much more focused program that matches today’s buyer behavior. Here are some additional points that demonstrate the effectiveness of nurtured inbound leads:
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (The Annuitas Group)
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
- SEO driven leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads, such as direct mail or print advertising, have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal)
Inbound Leads are Easier to Close
How many salespeople would rather pick up the phone and call an inbound lead, who has come to their company website and showed interest in the content, versus calling an outbound lead who you have to assume knows little to nothing about the company? I think it's a no brainer, honestly, because let’s face it – cold calling is just kind of an icky word to most salespeople.
With inbound leads, salespeople have to do a lot less convincing and educating because your inbound marketing efforts have already done a really good job of that. Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate (CSO Insights). Inbound marketing helps shorten and simplify the sales process, which means a happier sales team that closes more business at the end of the day.