Inbound marketing is out of the infancy stage. While you might have to define exactly what it is to your grandmother, even she has, perhaps unknowingly, been influenced by inbound. In fact, everyone who has read a blog, watched a YouTube video, or stumbled upon a “suggested post” in their Facebook feed, has been the target of inbound marketing.
To be sure, there have been some changes along the way. Pinterest is no longer a virgin platform, new Facebook policies are almost a daily occurrence, and analytics are only hindered by your own indecision to choose among a vast array of apps and CRMs that promise you the best of the best.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the ideology of inbound: To make marketing people love. How do you do this and score an awesome ROI? Let’s check out how.
5 Ways to Set Up for Inbound Marketing Success
When HubSpot sent out its annual State of Inbound survey, nearly 4,000 people from more than 150 countries responded. While the organizations, cultures, and characteristics of respondents varied widely, their answers about how to make a success of inbound were beautifully harmonious.
1. Using Automation Software Is Not Optional
Of those respondents who used marketing automation software, 51% saw an increase in their ROI. Granted, those who didn’t use the software still saw a 41% increase in their ROI over the previous year. However, who doesn’t want a 10% increase on their return on investment?
The lesson? If you’re going to practice inbound, you must integrate automation software.
2. Get Involved in the Sales Software Decision-Making Process
If you’re a marketer, how do you get more money in your budget? It’s simple: You participate in the decision making process when picking out sales software.
In fact, HubSpot discovered that 11% of marketers are more likely to receive budget increases when they’re involved in the decision of which software to integrate.
This only makes sense, since the lines between sales and marketing are getting more and more blurred. Inbound marketers have specific needs that the sales department may not view as important until the facts and figures start rolling in, and then the sales department suddenly becomes a huge fan of inbound.
3. Get a Little OCD About Checking Your Metrics
You may think you’re rocking a stellar marketing campaign, but hard-core numbers might disagree with you. How will you know unless you check your metrics regularly?
HubSpot reports that marketers who check their metrics three or more times per week are 20% more likely to see an increase in their ROI.
By checking your data several times per week, you will be better equipped to discern:
- What topics are relevant to your fans
- When your audience is likely to engage online
- Which platforms are most successful for your brand
- Who should be the target of your next campaign: strangers, prospects, or current customers
4. Secure Your Budget
In a nutshell, the more you have, the more you’ll have. Marketing departments that start their fiscal year with slim budgets are much less likely to see increases in their budgets the following year.
Blame it on poor ROI, perhaps. You get out of your marketing efforts whatever you put into it. And whether the big boss is 10 floors up in a cushy corner office, or you’re the sole proprietor, a solid ROI is what will motivate a budget increase.
One of the best ways to secure your budget is to apply something we’ve already touched on: use metrics to show that what the marketing department is doing is having a positive impact on the health and well-being of the business.
5. Form an Alliance with the Sales Department
When sales and marketing are aligned, magical things can happen in the inbound world. Okay, maybe not magical, but pretty impressive.
Of the marketers that were surveyed by HubSpot, those that had a formal SLA (service level agreement), experienced a greater ROI and received increases in their budgets. In addition, sales departments were more likely to expand. Band together and you’ll see success!
Yes, inbound has grown leaps and (ahem…) bounds since its inception. It has proven its efficacy across the board — in the B2C and B2B communities, as well as in the non-profit sector, so much so that 3 out of 4 marketers now take an inbound approach to marketing. The days of using cold calls and direct advertisements as the only means of driving leads are long behind us — especially since inbound marketing yields a greater ROI.
Inbound marketers know that they’re in it for the long haul. It’s a good thing, too, because, today’s buyers take their time in making decisions. Knowing this, the best inbound marketers stay on top of the trends and provide great content to guide their leads in the journey from stranger to promoter. In short, they do what they do best — create awesome marketing that people love.