By Dolly Howard
If your company has an online presence, you’ve probably heard of inbound marketing. It is a methodology that encompasses cyber strategies and campaigns to attract, convert, close, and delight customers. But with anything new that is rapidly growing in popularity, you might feel hesitant to strike out against convention. What arguments do you have against inbound marketing? What myths or misconceptions are holding you back from embarking on what might be the best way to connect and grow your audience? Here are just a few common myths debunked.
1. "It's difficult to track the ROI for inbound marketing."
While I can see this being true for traditional marketing, this is not the case for inbound marketing. With traditional marketing, most companies have to rely on surveys and pouring through statistics to estimate how many people saw an ad on TV or in the newspaper. Inbound marketing has the overwhelming advantage with measuring ROI because it takes place all online and therefore delivers exact numbers. You can track every page on your site visited by a specific user, whether or not they clicked the call-to-action, and even see how many people shared your blog post on Facebook. With inbound marketing, you can measure exactly how effective your marketing campaigns are as a whole and by its individual activities.
While each aspect of your campaign can be measured due to the fact that it all happens in cyberspace, tracking ROI can become inefficient if you are using disjointed programs—for example, using one company primarily for email newsletters, another for blogging, and yet another for keyword tracking, etc. For this reason, our favorite software tool to implement and track ROI is HubSpot. (Full disclosure: We are a Certified HubSpot Partner). It allows us to centralize and track each aspect of our campaigns to see how it all works together towards our goal.
2. "Inbound marketing mostly focuses on top-of-the-funnel prospects."
Inbound marketing is like an iceberg—you easily see the protruding tip that is the ‘attract’ phase of the inbound marketing, but under the surface inbound marketing goes much deeper and is incorporated into every aspect of the buyer’s journey. So yes, maybe you did attract new visitors to your site through your witty, informative, and thought-provoking top-of-the-funnel blog posts. But now you need to solidify those visitors on their buyer’s journey with lead nurturing and content personalization.
Recognizing each stage of your buyer’s journey and meeting them where they are is crucial to your Inbound Marketing activities. For example, knowing that a prospect is still evaluating whether or not your product is the right fit for them you can send them an email with a product comparison infographic. And for a prospect on the cusp of buying, you can tailor an email to offer them a free trial.
By catering your inbound activity to your buyer’s journey, you’ll be reaching them in the right way, at the right time.
3. "I have nothing interesting to talk about on my blog."
Just because you experience the same old same old each day at work, doesn’t mean that your customers and prospects aren’t interested in learning more about your industry. Your customers have questions and they’re looking for answers. So find out what those questions are and write helpful content to meet their need.
Don’t know where to start? Try talking to your sales team and customer service representatives. Ask them what questions they normally get from prospects and customers alike? And if you’re really adventurous, ask your customers personally.
Helpful content is valuable content.
And remember, the company that educates the consumer the best wins the business.
4. "Offering free content devalues our product/services."
This is a common misconception that is in actuality the opposite. Offering free great content increases the value of your product and services. The word “great” is the operative word here. When you provide free helpful information to the public, you demonstrate your expertise. In short, you are providing your readers with a kind of test drive. And we all know how a car salesman seals the deal once he gets you into the driver’s seat for that test drive. It’s the same concept. Your readers get a feel for how your company product/services would fit with their needs and objectives.
Another very important reason in favor of offering free content is the fact that it allows you to present your call-to-action (CTA) to your readers at a time when they are feeling reciprocal. When you do something nice for someone, such as providing valuable free content, psychologically, they will in turn naturally want to do something for you. Free helpful content naturally positions you for an effective CTA.
5. "Inbound marketing is only a fad."
The quality of relationship between the seller and the buyer is what successful business is built upon. This is what has always been from the beginning of time. In this day and age, the world’s marketplace is now gathering and engaging within the cyber realm. In simplistic terms, inbound marketing is essentially the building of relationships between a company and its audience in the online world. And it’s working—78% of consumers perceive a relationship with a company as a result of content marketing (aka inbound marketing).
Inbound marketing is NOT a fad—it is a natural progression. And it’s never finished; inbound marketing is continuing to evolve with technology and cultural globalization. In fact, 78% of CMOs believe it to be the future of marketing.
While inbound marketing is here to stay, so don’t delay. The early bird gets the most worms. The longer you hold off on launching your inbound marketing strategies, the more opportunities your competitors have to dominate the market share. So now that we’ve debunked these myths about inbound marketing, let me ask once more, what is holding you back from taking action?