An Inbound Marketing Checklist: How to Determine if It’s Right for Your Business
Many businesses have experienced phenomenal growth by utilizing inbound marketing strategies and techniques. And though there’s been a lot of buzz extolling the benefits of inbound marketing, it’s important for you as a business owner to determine whether or not inbound marketing will actually be a good fit for the specific goals and objectives of your business. As with any other important business decision, potential costs and benefits must be weighed before committing to any course of action. Below is a five-step checklist to help you determine whether or not inbound marketing is the right move for your business.
Step 1: Evaluate the needs of your average customer
Although inbound marketing can be a powerful tool, its effectiveness can only be measured in relation to the behavior of your average customer. How often do they need your product? If you find that your current or potential customers seem to stay in buying or research mode, you can use inbound marketing as a means to stay at the forefront of your prospects’ minds by supplying them with the information they’re seeking.
Step 2: Evaluate the value of acquiring and keeping a customer
Inbound marketing produces solid results for businesses whose customers are likely to be repeat buyers of their products or services. The initial effort and investment made to acquire a customer can yield great long-term dividends in terms of the lifetime value of that relationship. Another area where inbound marketing strategies can really shine is any type of business that markets products or services that have a high-dollar initial purchase value.
Step 3: Evaluate your sales skills and closing rate
Acquiring hundreds of leads by way of clever inbound marketing campaigns will do you no good if you don’t have a solid system in place to properly funnel them through your conversion process. This requires somewhat of a “gut check” on your part; you’re going to have to determine how well you’ve sharpened your sales skills, especially in terms of your closing rate. If your business is currently suffering from low conversion ratios, improving this area should become your number-one priority before focusing too much on getting more customers in the door. Perfecting the art of turning leads into customers is an absolutely critical component of your business, and once this process has been refined, the inbound marketing strategies you employ will only serve to amplify your efforts.
Step 4: Evaluate your purchase cycle
It’s important to examine the number of steps in the process of closing sales to determine the critical points at which inbound marketing can guide a customer, step-by-step, toward the goal of making a purchase. Do you typically close sales on the first interaction, or does your business employ a multi-step approach? Utilizing common inbound marketing tools such as automated emails can greatly assist you in leveraging your time and effort in various areas, such as reducing the amount of outbound calls you may have to make. As the old saying goes, “time is money”, and the time you can save by employing various inbound marketing strategies should be factored into your overall ROI analysis.
Step 5: Evaluate your current “engagement level”
Take a good look at the average number of monthly visitors to your website, your current level of social network interaction and the average number of times potential prospects reach out to you for more information in a given month. While inbound marketing can produce admirable results, you shouldn’t carry unrealistic expectations when it comes to the rate at which you want to increase your potential prospect base. If you’re currently receiving fewer than 5,000 visitors per month to your website, it will require a notable investment of time and money to double or triple that traffic.
The above five steps will provide you with a good gauge of whether or not your business is ready to delve into the realm of inbound marketing. Be realistic about the type of time frames in which you can expect to see measurable results. An earnest approach to your analysis, along with a healthy dose of patience, will be your greatest ally when determining whether or not inbound marketing is right for your business.