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In outbound or traditional marketing – like direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows – you seek out your customers with one-way communication. You don’t seek to educate them about anything but your product or service.
With widespread use of the internet, consumers are more in control of what marketing messages they receive and what channels they receive them through. They don’t like to feel intruded or invaded by ads.
In inbound marketing – like white papers, eBooks, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, infographics and social media posts – communication between companies and customers is two-way.
Twitter users can mention companies that they are interested in and ask them anything they like, and companies can reply them. Internet users can also make comments on blog posts. They can choose whether or not they want to download helpful tools like eBooks.
Prospective customers come to you, rather than you hounding them – they find you in their search results or their social media shares. Also, rather than you telling them how great you are, they make up their own minds about you. Instead of it being all about you, the focus is on them and their interests. You write and share topics that will educate them about your industry in general, not just your product or service.
What difference will inbound marketing make for my company?
Inbound saves you and makes you more money.
- HubSpot reported in last year’s State of Inbound Marketing that inbound marketing can save companies 61 percent on each lead. The average cost per outbound lead is $346, compared to $135 per inbound lead.
- Because of these savings, marketers are able to spend more on their campaigns. Eighty-nine percent of marketers have reported that they were able to maintain or increasing their inbound budgets in the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing. In fact, 2013 was the third year in a row that businesses increased their inbound marketing budgets by a rate of nearly 50 percent.
- And those marketers are reaping the benefits. Forty-one percent of marketers say inbound marketing produced measurable return-on-investment in 2013 and 41 percent of CMOs and CEOs agreed that inbound marketing practices brought in the positive return-on-investment rates that they had sought out in the previous year.
- As companies realize the moneymaking capabilities of inbound marketing, they become more comfortable with the thought of integrating it into their campaigns. Eighty-one percent of companies reported some level of integration between inbound marketing and larger marketing goals in 2013.
- And as they realize the benefits of inbound marketing, they simultaneously realize the burden of outbound marketing. Outbound budgets have been declining annually, and in 2013, only 23 percent of all marketing spending was used for outbound practices.
Inbound reaches a larger audience.
- – Last month, more than twice as many people searched for inbound marketing than outbound marketing. According to Google Trends graphs measuring the topics’ worldwide search interest over the past decade, inbound marketing had a search interest score of 95 for May 2013 – just shy of the peak score 100 – and outbound marketing had a score of 45.
- Seventeen percent of marketers reported that both traditional advertising and direct mail have become less important to their companies in the past six months. It’s because customers don’t like to be interrupted – whether it’s a phone call on their day off, a commercial in the middle of their favorite TV show, a piece of mail that they didn’t request to be sent, or a salesperson with a clipboard on their front porch.
- And there’s proof. There are 300 million United States Citizens and, as of 2010, the FTC reported that 200 million of them are on their “do not call” list.
- According to The Guardian, 86 percent of people skip TV ads and according to the Environmental Protection Agency 44 percent of direct mail is never opened. Direct mail has been deemed too expensive and ineffective in generating leads.
- People don’t need to have their privacy invaded in order to find out about a product anymore. They don’t buy blindly; they do their homework first. Seventy-nine percent of online shoppers said they spend at least 50 percent of their shopping time researching products. They’re not just looking up prices on eBay or Amazon, either. They’re looking at social media links and shares and helpful reviews and blog posts.
Inbound converts more leads to customers.
- Studies have shown that inbound marketing tactics boost the number of website lead-to-customer conversions. Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate of non-inbound marketers, from 6 percent to 12 percent total. Marketers see an average website conversion rate of 10 percent industry-wide.
- Outbound marketing tactics are expected to deliver the least amount of leads for marketers this year, with just 6 percent of leads originating from those practices.
- Last year, companies saw a 12 percent lead-to-customer close when using search engine optimization strategies and only a 2 percent lead-to-customer close when using outbound practices.