How Inbound Marketing Provides Real ROI You Can Measure
Inbound marketing has become a force to be reckoned with in the age of digital commerce, primarily because it focuses on earning the attention of a target market instead of having to pay for it. The tried-and-true staples of inbound marketing such as social media participation and content marketing can greatly increase lead generation and acquisition, but oftentimes businesses are uncertain as to whether or not inbound marketing can positively impact their return on investment (ROI). After all, it’s one thing to amass a truckload of new leads based on inbound marketing efforts, but the ROI must prove to be lower than that of using traditional outbound marketing methods for the strategy to be justified. The good news is that an overwhelming majority of industry data confirms the superiority of inbound marketing over outbound in terms of producing a wallet-friendly ROI.
1. The majority of inbound marketing methods can be implemented at a very low cost, or no cost at all.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of inbound marketing is its outstanding cost-effectiveness. Most of the bread-and-butter components of inbound marketing such as blogging, email marketing, social media posting and content marketing (whitepapers, ebooks, etc.) can be done with little to no out-of-pocket cost. The tradeoff is that this approach does require a significant investment of time, but developing an arsenal of inbound marketing tools (your lead capturing website, your blog content, etc.) is a one-time investment that will pay dividends many times over. This stands in stark contrast to the recurring expenses typical to traditional marketing such as direct mail, buying ad space or cold calling. Although you may incur small expenses here and there to perform website maintenance or create an ebook cover, your overall cost outlay pales in comparison to what you would spend on traditional push-oriented marketing expenses.
2. Email marketing provides fantastic ROI, costing literally pennies per email on average.
Email marketing is arguably one of the most effective inbound marketing practices in existence, mainly due to its flexibility in terms of how prospects can be reached at practically every level of the sales funnel. Inbound marketers who send out newsletters or other valuable content to an opt-in email list typically enjoy a cost of less than one dollar per lead when using the average email service (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, etc.). Email messages are also inherently shareable, making integration with social media almost a no-brainer. These two powerful functions working together can significantly increase the potential of your content to go viral.
3. Inbound marketing offers value to prospects in every phase of the lead nurturing process.
This is one of the silent strengths of inbound marketing. The very nature of the inbound approach encourages businesses to earn their customers’ interest instead of clamoring for it through one-way communication methods (print advertising, billboards, radio, etc.). By creating valuable content that is genuinely useful, the process of converting a lead to a sale is comprised of several steps that earn your prospect’s trust along the way. You can provide content that educates your audience on the various aspects of your industry, allowing you to offer your prospect some helpful insights while at the same time positioning yourself as a thought leader in your particular field. This can do wonders to persuade the fence-straddlers to look further into what you have to offer, while also cementing your position as a legitimate authority in the minds of current customers.
The way that this translates into increased ROI is by expanding the size of the net that you use to catch your leads. Through solid content marketing, you can not only reach the customers that are ready to buy right away, but you can also spend time nurturing relationships with those leads that need a little more information before coming to a buying decision. This increased reach across all points of the conversion funnel increases your overall number of leads, thus driving down the cost per individual lead.
The above three points illustrate the undeniable effectiveness of inbound marketing as a means to dramatically increase your ROI. Recent industry studies reveal that the expense to acquire a lead is 62% less on average for companies that utilize inbound marketing versus traditional outbound methods. For businesses that are faced with an ever-changing customer landscape and ever-increasing budget constraints, the ROI that can be achieved through inbound marketing is simply hard to beat.