You may have heard the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ but if you don’t know exactly what it means, you’re not alone. Plainly speaking, inbound marketing is a strategy that attracts potential clients to you and your business content through various methods, and then turning those clients into leads. You are then able to engage with them and convert those leads into a client.
This of it this way: instead of sending your message out and hoping it finds the right people, you want to bring people in due to your relevant content. People are seeking out your information, meaning that you’re connecting with the appropriate potential clients, therefore they’re much more likely to relate to you, and need your services. You already have their attention, instead of hoping to grab it amidst the noise of all the other advertising out there.
We’re all used to the traditional (aka old) marketing strategies: buying television, radio, and online advertisements, direct mail marketing, flyers, email blasts, and newsletters. The idea behind these is that if you spread your name and your brand far, wide, and often, something will stick; someone will remember your name, your face, and/or your number when they need a mortgage loan. And to a certain extent, they work (if they didn’t work, people wouldn’t use the methods at all!).
Traditional marketing techniques do have the ability to target specific demographics and have gotten much better at doing so over time, however, these techniques require more energy and cost than inbound techniques. According to a 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report by HubSpot, companies that spend more than 50% of their lead-generation budgets on outbound marketing channels had an average cost per lead (CPL) of $346, but companies that spend more than 50% of their lead-generation budget on inbound marketing had an average CPL of $135, which is 61% less than the CPL of business with outbound-dominated marketing strategies.
If you’re responsible for all aspects of your business, then you’ve probably incorporated some inbound marketing strategies, such as creating content for a blog, having a website, engaging in social media marketing, and working on other ways to publicize your personal brand as well as that of your company. In fact, it would be more surprising if you weren’t engaging in any inbound marketing at all.
What’s more likely is that you’ve dabbled in the easier areas such as social media, but haven’t broached some of the other aspects that require a bit more effort or energy, such as hosting webinars or understanding how SEO works to drive eyeballs and clicks your way. This way also probably means that you’ve transported your traditional methods of advertising to a digital space, which isn’t nearly as effective because it lacks appropriate opportunities for online engagement.
Online engagement is one of the biggest benefits to inbound marketing. Ways for people to respond or engage are called calls to action, and they can involve anything from providing potential clients with ways to opt in to a newsletter or submit their contact information to be added to a mailing list or ask a question that they’d like answered.
Another feature of inbound marketing is that it’s much more accurate in terms of measurability. You can see how people are finding you, how they consume your content, and track the most effective messages and how many leads are converted into clients. Once you know the messages that attract the most potential clients, you can also expand the content to include other information that would be useful. This could mean expanding the content you provide to something beyond the housing market and the mortgage industry. Maybe you can have a community calendar on your website, where people can check in to see what’s happening in the area as well as submit events. Or you could have a running list of professionals who your clients might need, including referral partners like financial advisors, but also plumbers, contractors, electricians that clients have recommended.
Whether you already have content and aren’t getting the results that you desire or your current method of advertising follows a more traditional approach, it’s time to consider a more cohesive and holistic inbound marketing plan and/or transition your marketing budget from the outbound method. You can create an inbound marketing plan on your own, which includes: creating a buyer persona; determining value proposition and market positioning; identifying marketing objectives; and developing brand identity and messaging. Another option is to receive training and consultation from companies that focus specifically on inbound marketing strategies. Some companies will provide an entire strategy for you, while others may provide you with some research and you choose where to go from there.
Investing in a solid inbound marketing strategy is truly an investment in your business and making the most out of resources available to you. Even if your previous marketing methods have been successful, the customers are changing. You need to change with them.
Email marketing: content that matters