In my experience prior to joining VIEO as Director of Business Development and even during my short-lived career as a semi-professional baseball legend in rural Lithuania, I’ve always been about the numbers. Also, the comforting embrace that can only found in a bowl of steaming hot borscht, but that’s a post for another day. In nearly every engagement, I’ve found that the best, most accurate way to predict trends, guide sales and marketing, and deliver the best ROI to clients is through hard data and analytics.
That’s how I earned my team nickname: Candice “Stop Doing Math and Kicking the Baseballs, You Complete Disaster” McNamara. I promise, it’s much more beautiful in Lithuanian.
For a long time, Google Analytics was my go-to for metrics. And while it remains a powerful tool in my work, it’s now complemented by HubSpot. When I first learned about the ways VIEO uses this platform, I was loathe to trade in my Google fan card. I was also skeptical about how inbound and HubSpot could help generate leads.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. We get new leads from our website every day, due to the seamless way we’re able to compound different types of reporting into one format. The level of value and visualization that HubSpot offers to analysts, marketing directors, and department leads is enormous.
As a web design and inbound marketing agency, we do things differently from traditional outbound companies. In case you’re new to this like I was, here’s a quick inbound marketing definition:
Inbound marketing draws your ideal customers to you with engaging content that’s tailored to what they need and want, how they like to hear from you, and what will delight them.
In contrast to outbound, this methodology is more definitive rather than arbitrary. Each market is different and may respond to outbound to varying degrees, but inbound provides direct context and more productive lead generation through data. You know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. But the biggest difference between traditional marketing and inbound marketing lies in who you’re targeting – everybody v. only the people who are actually interested.
How do you know they’re interested? Because that’s how they find you – through customized content that addresses their needs, wants, questions, and concerns. We create websites, design, and copywriting targeted to our (and our clients’) ideal buyer personas. Through research and attention to behavior pathing, we’re able to reach the right audience more effectively. And since they find this content naturally and choose to read, watch, or listen to it, your marketing message is only served up to people who have already expressed interest.
Beyond simply engaging your buyer persona, you’re also able to reach them earlier in the funnel. Most websites only have a “Contact Us” page that captures a small number of leads relative to visitors, 96% of whom aren’t ready to buy yet. When your website is inbound-focused, you can capture more leads throughout all phases of the buyer’s journey and nurture those relationships toward sales.
To dig a little deeper into the Inbound vs. outbound debate, read this blog post by Holly Yalove, VIEO's Chief Strategist.
Unlike the specificity inherent in inbound, outbound marketing can feel like playing one big guessing game. That isn’t to say outbound isn’t an important part of marketing. After all, it has a wide reach, which is great for branding, but you can’t forget that only 1% - 3% of the people who see the ad will need the product or service at that time. Advertising can be a big expense, and it’s hard to track return on the investment – in many cases, a lot of money is wasted.
As more people turn first to the internet to research products and services or find answers to their questions, traditional advertising is unable to compete with the natural relationship inbound marketing forms. This relationship is just that – an actual relationship that was started by the potential client or customer.
Particularly as the use of mobile devices (there are now two for every person), voice and semantic searches, and “assistants” like Siri and Cortana are on the rise, it’s important to adapt to more conversational, more personalized user interaction in order to establish and reinforce those relationships. Inbound marketing allows for incredible versatility in accommodating new technology and audience behavioral trends.
So, what does the future of inbound marketing look like? In a recent study from HubSpot, 92.34% of more than 5,000 HubSpot customers surveyed saw an increase in overall web traffic with inbound marketing, and 92.7% said leads increased as well.
Perhaps the most powerful statistic (at least to business developers like me) is that of that 92.7%, almost 40% have seen their leads increase by more than 100%. Given those results, it’s hard to deny the efficacy of inbound marketing.
The inbound marketing process allows you dive into what the sales funnel is like for potential customers from start to finish, positioning you to understand your ideal buyer persona’s needs, wants, and goals better than the competition. Because you gain this invaluable insight on your customers, inbound creates a better experience for them and earns better results for you.
Ultimately, inbound marketing frees you to work smarter, not harder, so you can spend more time looking up European baseball league rankings and practicing folk dance routines.