Does Inbound Marketing Actually Work?

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Prior to the digital revolution, potential buyers learned about specific products and services through print ads and phone calls. Many also relied on word-of-mouth recommendations.

Now, time-strapped businesses and consumers demand this information immediately. According to marketing research and digital trends hub Think With Google’s “Global Retail Study,” more than half of those surveyed say they look to Google to learn more about a new product or service.

Enter inbound marketing. Not to be confused with intrusive outbound marketing, inbound speaks to consumers and business owners searching for something they want or need.

Creating invaluable, relevant, SEO-driven content is one of the core elements of an effective inbound marketing strategy. This personalized approach is also more cost effective in reaching and maintaining loyal customers. According to marketing and sales enablement platform HubSpot, inbound costs 62 percent less per lead compared to traditional efforts.

This useful explainer discusses important components and best practices of an effective inbound marketing strategy, such as optimized content and SEO, detailed analytics and reporting, follow-up customer engagement, and more.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

HubSpot coined the term ‘inbound marketing’ way back in 2006 to describe an approach centering on creating and delivering solutions to a user’s specific challenge, question, or problem. This methodology has been proven to enhance brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition via SEO content strategies utilizing targeted blogs, resource pillars, and ebooks. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound follows a three-pillar approach of attracting, engaging, and delighting potential customers.

From HubSpot Funnel to Flywheel

A successful inbound marketing strategy should follow the HubSpot flywheel, which in recent years replaced the company’s original funnel concept.

Learn more about each inbound methodology phase below, and how these can be incorporated into a powerful marketing strategy:

Attract

Creating relatable, educational, and informative content such as blogs, resource pillars, and white papers is the main driver of this stage. Incorporating a content strategy based on relevant, optimized keywords will attract the right customers as they look for solutions.

Engage

A solid content strategy plan establishes and positions your company as a trusted authority within your industry. Who better to address potential customers’ pain points than those immersed within your business and products each day? Customers are engaged and feel you understand their needs and goals.

Delight

This last step requires consistent communication. Customers need to still feel engaged and valued, post-sale. Continue to delight, through follow-up emails, customer feedback surveys, and opinion questionnaires, and more.

Is Inbound Marketing Effective?

Understanding the core principles behind a successful inbound marketing strategy is half the battle. Ensuring the tactics you’re deploying are actually working is the next, albeit very important step.

Website traffic is a useful indicator of success, but not the ultimate determinant. Review your organic search numbers and terms. How much time are visitors spending, and do you have repeat viewers? If traffic is increasing steadily, your content is resonating with visitors.

But how about gauging what visitors are actually viewing on your website? If they’re completing forms for specific downloads or offers, they’re considered active leads with potential customer conversions—but before even this, they’re an indication that you’re attracting a relevant audience for your content.

Producing a steady stream of relevant, useful content is essential to any successful inbound marketing strategy. This includes a content plan with clusters centered on target keywords for consistent rankings. According to HubSpot’s resource guide “The State of Content Marketing in 2022 [Stats & Trends to Watch],” more than 60 percent of marketers gauge content marketing strategy success by number of customer conversions.

Inbound marketing also entices customers to reach out on their terms. They are choosing to engage with your business because of something you created that resonated with them. Whether a blog, white paper, or video, it propelled them to take the next step toward becoming a delighted, loyal customer.

Communication with customers should never end at the sale. It’s important to employ additional tactics to maintain engagement via social media posts, how-to guides, in-depth ebooks and white papers, and other value-added content. This demonstrates your willingness to cultivate a long-term relationship.

How Long Does It Take for Inbound Marketing to Produce Results?

While there’s no magic formula or exact duration for inbound marketing to be impactful, consistency is key. According to HubSpot’s “ROI Report,” customers utilizing inbound marketing strategies typically experience website traffic increases within seven months.

It’s critical to constantly review key performance indicators (KPIs), test, and modify your campaigns to improve effectiveness, especially within the first six months of launch.

Consider measuring the following metrics as a starting point:

  • New Contacts

  • Organic Sessions

  • Average Total Monthly Website Visits

  • Bounce Rates

  • Engagement

  • Lead Conversion Rates

Whether you’re new to inbound marketing or want to ramp up current efforts, an optimized content strategy and consistent reporting metrics will undoubtedly help attract, engage, and delight customers along every stage of their buying journeys.

New York-based Diamond HubSpot Partner Agency, Morey Creative Studios specializes in inbound marketing, sales, and customer service strategies for B2B companies across a diverse range of industries. Contact us today to learn how we can help your organization cultivate and convert relevant leads into customers.