Does Inbound Marketing Work for B2B?

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By Vee Tardrew - November 20, 2013

Buyer behaviour has changed – drastically – and sadly there are still businesses out there who try to push their wares on disinterested parties rather than embrace Inbound Marketing methodologies that address the changes in buyer behaviour.

The principles of inbound marketing are relatively simple. Secure business from people who are actively seeking your solution by sharing educational, entertaining and valuable information to assist them in their buying decision process. This is highly pertinent to businesses that market products or services to other businesses where competition is rife and buying cycles are typically longer than consumer purchases. With so many businesses competing for screen time of engaged buyers, an inbound marketing programme makes sense for a B2B marketer. Here are 6 reasons why:

1. Inbound Marketing Generates More (Qualified) Leads

Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads as these are people that have elected to engage with your business. They are actively seeking a solution to a problem they have identified and they have found your business as a potential supplier, hence are far more qualified as leads than those generated via outbound tactics.

2. Inbound Marketing Provides Long-Term Gains

Traditional marketing has an expiration date. Turn off the spend and you’re sure to see a sharp decline in business. Inbound marketing on the other hand will continue delivering long-tail revenue and business benefits long after the publication dates. Note: It is not a quick fix. Writing a single blog post does not guarantee you scores of website traffic overnight. Instead it is in consistency that we see both the volume and quality of traffic, leads and customers increasing over a long-term period.  

3. Inbound Marketing Has Lower Cost in the Long Run

Why is it that as soon as sales slump the marketing budget gets an axe to it? Marketers today are challenged to achieve significantly more with less budget. While inbound marketing does require initial strategy and is time intensive to implement, the average cost per lead is significantly less than their outbound counterparts. In fact, according to HubSpot, up to 61% less.

4. Inbound Marketing Delivers Higher Return on Investment

From a monetary perspective, the natural relationship between the lower acquisition costs and revenue generated will ensure that inbound marketing produces a higher return on investment at the bank. But is that all we should consider when looking at ROI? What about the trust and credibility built up with your clients in the buying process and how that translates into brand ambassador behaviour, bringing in further business through word of mouth and referrals? Yes, that may be intangible return on investment but in my book it's worth considering.

5. Inbound Marketing is Implicitly Measurable

Measuring results of traditional marketing efforts is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. How will you ever be able to determine precisely how many people saw your advertisement in a publication and then reacted positively towards it? Good luck with that one. Inbound marketing, however, brings a new level of measurement and tracking to marketing - and it's favourable with the C-suite too!

Using marketing software, such as HubSpot, allows you to monitor and report on marketing efforts, in real-time. Inbound marketing also allows for clearer KPI measurement, empowering you to report on lead attribution, cost per lead, customer lifetime value, cost per acquisition, lead conversion rates in addition to your overall marketing ROI.

6. Inbound Marketing Allows for Real-Time Refinement

Linked to the implicit measurability of inbound marketing is the flexibility it offers in terms of refinement. An important element of inbound marketing methodology is to constantly strive for better results by testing elements of your campaign. Whether this is simply a comparison between 2 email subject lines or an entire webpage layout, A/B testing is built-in functionality in HubSpot making it incredibly simple to make informed decisions based on gathered data. This measurement and tweaking is available in real-time meaning that you needn’t wait for a campaign to be complete before addressing the areas that could be improved going forward. To have the ability to adjust aspects that are under-performing in favour of an element that is performing well puts the marketer in a powerful position to ensure good results on an ongoing basis.

Have you embraced inbound marketing in your overall strategy? Share your results in the comments.

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