What areas of investment should you consider before adopting an Inbound strategy?
Planning An Inbound Investment
With 73% of organisations now prioritising inbound as their primary approach to marketing (HubSpot State of Inbound 2016) it’s clear that a decade after Inbound first began, it remains one of the most effective approaches to marketing and sales.
But what do you need to consider before adopting an Inbound strategy? As every organisation is different, required investment depends on your individual company’s needs and goals, and can be influenced by multiple factors such as:
The level of inbound activity (if any) you are already undertaking
The monthly lead volumes you are looking to attract
Estimated budget and financial goals
Unique buyer audience
But what key areas should you take into account when considering an inbound investment?
In Inbound, there are a number of immediate resource investments to make before a campaign can begin. Depending on your company’s individual situation you may need to update your website, invest in a marketing automation platform, create buyer-mapped content, consider your capacity for lead follow up and more.
2. Will you invest in an agency, or manage campaigns in-house?
If you plan to centre all inbound activity in-house (rather than seek the advice of a specialist inbound marketing and sales agency) you will also need to consider investment into staff training, or hire new talent to support your efforts.
It’s important to recognise here that a switch to Inbound marketing should be considered a long-term investment. Hiring an experienced agency is a good option if you want to begin a campaign quickly and make the most of agency experience, but note that it can still take time for campaigns to become well-established. Looking long-term however, Inbound campaigns deliver solid ROI; 81% of organisations who primarily conduct inbound marketing view their marketing strategies as effective.
Inbound turns traditional marketing methods upside down. With an inbound strategy, no longer should marketing and sales teams work independently of one another. Aligning the two benefits the whole company as;
The whole company works towards the same definition of a quality lead, meaning no more unqualified leads are passed to sales.
Sales can benefit from marketing’s lead intelligence - allowing them to have more productive lead conversations.
Marketing can work with sales to understand exactly the right resources to create
But to ensure successful campaigns, your team must first be aligned on what inbound is, and why it’s beneficial. For that reason, inbound training is essential. If you plan to invest in an inbound agency, they may be able to train you and your team where needed. If you are implementing inbound in-house you will need to seriously consider your investment into staff inbound training.
4. What long-term implementation investment do you need?
Investment considerations continue after initial set-up of course. Once you’ve got your campaign resources and toolkit in place, and have talent to manage an inbound strategy, you need to consider what's required for day-to-day management.
Activities such as persona development, ongoing graphic design, social media management, lead nurture, early stage sales, closed-loop reporting - plus the budget required to manage paid ad campaigns are all likely to form part of the equation.
Whilst the basic premise of each of these tactics may be easily understood, remember that part of your investment is typically hiring the right skillsets (your content writers, web designers, paid-ad specialists, social media experts, SEO specialists etc) to implement a strategy in line with your overall goals, lead targets, niche and more.
Complementing an inbound marketing campaign, Inbound sales focuses on helpful lead nurture, building trust rather than interrupting with unsolicited selling.
In order to make the most of an inbound investment you must consider more than just how inbound marketing can generate quality leads. You must plan how you will follow up with leads in a timely way. Investing in sales enablement, and adapting your sales practices to match how modern buyers want to engage with brands is the first step towards stronger strategies.
Achieving Return on Investment
Inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads. - Search Engine Journal
Of course no single inbound tactic will be effective in a vacuum, and there are many campaign variables that can affect the overall investment required. Because of this, rigorous planning and research, as well as preparation for future investment costs are important.
However if correctly prepared for and implemented, inbound campaigns will pay dividends: Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on Inbound campaigns than outbound marketing. (HubSpot State of Inbound 2015).