Inbound marketing has proven effective for all businesses that implement the right strategies. From business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) to companies with simple solutions and ones with complex multi-decision-maker sales processes, research shows that with the inbound marketing methodology applied businesses generate leads and improve sales performance.
At LeadG2, we provide guidance to organizations who are exploring the potential impact inbound marketing can have on their growth objectives. Many of our discussions are with executives from four specific industries — Media, Staffing and Recruiting, Professional Services, and PEO/HRO. These industries are particularly well-suited for inbound marketing, and here's why.
what is Inbound Marketing Methodology?
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts the attention of prospects and new customers via strategic content creation and experiences that are tailored to their unique needs and buying journey. Inbound marketing is about forming connections, answering questions, and solving problems.
Inbound marketing isn't just a program you try, or a campaign you launch, it's a shift in the way you do business and the way you interact with your prospects and customers. Inbound marketers understand that the way buyers research and make decisions has changed, and as brands, we need to too.
3 industries That Benefit from inbound marketing
1. Media — The game has changed, and it’s time to change strategies.
Companies who have relied on their sales teams to cold call and generate their own leads are struggling to keep up.
This model is prevalent in the media industry. Traditional outbound business development activities are just not as effective as they used to be. Previously, prospecting for new customers was a numbers game. If you were disciplined and put forth a consistent effort, you could count on good things happening. The math was simple:
100 calls = 30 prospects = 3 meetings = 1 new customer
But no one answers their phone anymore. It's difficult just to get a response or opened email! The buying paradigm has shifted. Prospects no longer want to be sold to; they don’t want any more interruptions. Instead, they want to buy on their terms and timeframe. They're looking for trusted subject matter experts, thought leaders who can educate them and help them discover solutions to their problems.
Inbound marketing allows your prospects to find you and “raise their hands” when they’re ready to interact with a salesperson. Consequently, inbound marketing generates higher quality and less expensive leads.
2. Staffing and Recruiting —Targeting multiple segments and buyer personas.
It’s important that companies who have multiple buyer personas (decision-makers) deliver the right marketing message to the right audience.
This is a common challenge for the Staffing and Recruiting industry. These firms are typically trying to communicate with both hiring managers and job candidates. The marketing message and the sales/recruiting process are distinct for each group — what resonates for one will not work for the other. Consequently, segmentation of market data and message customization are critical.
The inbound marketing methodology enables organizations to create customized marketing content specifically designed for each distinct audience and address the unique requirements of each buyer persona. This customized content can then be published and promoted via channels that are appropriate for each audience.
3. Professional Services — Share your expertise, and be a thought leader.
People seek the services of lawyers, accountants, and consultants for their expertise in a specific discipline. They want advice from subject matter experts and thought leaders. The challenge for the prospect is how to find the right resource in a very crowded field.
Being listed in the Yellow Pages and having a website is not enough. People want to do business with firms they know and trust. But if they don’t know you, how can they trust you? And if they can’t distinguish you from the thousands of other firms that provide your service, how can they get to know you?
Inbound marketing is a methodology used to attract the attention of prospects using content creation — content that positions you, your business, and your sales team as thought leaders, subject matter experts, and trusted advisors. Recent research shows that 78% of B2B buyers start the process with a Google search.
What will your prospects find when they go to Google looking for solutions in your area of expertise? Will your firm show on the first page of search results?
“80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.” —Forrester Research
Create content that answers your prospects' questions before they’re asked
Provide valuable information to people who aren’t ready to pick up the phone to schedule an appointment
Educate your market
Share your unique point-of-view
Become a trusted resource
When your prospect is ready you'll be the firm they know. You will be the firm they trust. You will be the firm they call.
4. PEO/HRO — Establish trust and credibility with your prospects to accelerate the sale
It requires an incredible amount of trust for a business to outsource their human resources administration to a third-party. A company’s employees are their most important asset and you don’t want to share their most sensitive information with just anyone.
Consequently, establishing your credibility and building trust with your prospects early in the sales process is critical. If they don’t trust you, then they won’t take the next step in the sales process. Traditionally, trust and credibility are built slowly — allowing a prospect to get to know you over several weeks or months.
This is one reason PEOs/HROs value referral sources so highly. Getting a referral to a qualified prospect expedites the sales process because trust and credibility is “baked into” the introduction (as long as it comes from a trustworthy source). Unfortunately, most PEOs/HROs can’t rely on referral sources to drive their revenue growth objectives because they simply don’t get enough referrals to meet their sales pipeline requirements.
Inbound marketing tactics can help address this challenge. First, campaigns can be executed to not only generate leads, but new referral sources as well. Further, targeted campaigns have proven particularly effective in “mining” new referrals from established referral sources.
In addition, the thought leadership content created for your inbound marketing strategy will help a PEO/HRO rise above the “noise” in the market and compare favorably with the competition. Case studies can be critical piece of the content strategy. Case studies and the testimonials that accompany them can act as virtual referral sources, establishing trust and credibility with your prospect, and accelerating the deal through the sales funnel.
If you’re in one of these industries and you haven’t explored the inbound marketing methodology for your business, then you’re already behind the curve. Your competition is exploring, deploying, and already seeing results — more qualified leads, more sales, increased revenue — from their inbound marketing strategies.
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