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How to Sell Your Boss on Inbound Marketing

Enthusiasm | How To Sell Your Boss On Inbound Marketing

Even if you’re sold on inbound marketing, convincing your boss may not be so easy. Executives, directors and leadership have to make challenging decisions, especially when budget, resources and assets are at stake. It’s forgivable, then, that they may not be as ready to jump on board at a whim.

Making the case for inbound marketing shouldn’t keep you up at night, though. Here are 4 simple things to keep in mind as you work to get your boss on board with inbound.

1. Speak Their Language

Busy c-level executives and directors don’t always speak the verbiage that marketers and marketing managers pick up like a second language. Your boss doesn’t care about link juice (they may not even understand links) and may scratch their head when you start rambling about “unique visitors”, “landing page CRO” or “visualized conversion funnels”.

If you want to get your boss onboard with inbound marketing, you need to speak their language – and that language is dollars and cents. You need to frame the conversation through the lens of ROI and potential revenues and make your argument from the standpoint of not only how many people you could reach, but how much money that could translate into.

To entice them to keep listening, you need to quickly establish the end result of embracing inbound marketing: more leads, more sales and a big bump to your bottom line. Keep language simple, action-oriented and honed in on tangible business benefits.

2. Compare the Returns & Show them the Numbers

To start the conversation, draw comparisons between inbound and outbound means. If you can establish that what you’re currently doing isn’t making the returns it could be, you’ve got a foothold to start talking about new courses of action.

Show them the decline in outbound successes:

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened (HubSpot)
  • 86% of television viewers skip through ads (HubSpot)
  • The number of calls needed to make a successful contact through telemarketing has skyrocketed from just 6 calls in 2006 to 41 in 2010.
  • 200 million Americans have registered for the “Do Not Call” list

It’s not enough to say the sky is falling – show them the impressive numbers inbound is putting up. Numbers like:

  • A study from HubSpot showed that the average lead that came through inbound methods was 61% cheaper than outbound – and we can break that out further:
    1. 27% of marketers reported social media produced below average lead costs
    2. 25% reported that SEO brought in leads at a lower average cost
    3. 27% of marketers said email marketing produced a lower average cost per lead
    4. 24% of marketers said blogging delivered leads at a below average cost (HubSpot)
  • HubSpot also found that the average cost of a lead obtained through outbound methods was found to be $332 as compared with just $134 for inbound marketing
  • Inbound marketing methods like content marketing will produce an average of 300% more leads per dollar than out bound methods (Marketeer)
  • Organic search leads have nearly 10 times the close rate of any outbound leads, at an average of 14.6% (HubSpot) Tweet This

When you can frame the conversation in terms of returns on the dollar, you begin to build a more compelling case for allocating budget to inbound initiatives.

These aren’t isolated cases or one-off successes.

  • 51% of marketing agencies reported positive ROI for their inbound marketing efforts in 2013, while 48% said they would increase their inbound marketing budget in 2013, the third year in a row this number has grown at a pace of 50% or more. Just 9% said they would be reducing their budget. (HubSpot)
  • 79% of companies with a blog reported a positive ROI on their inbound marketing in 2013. (HubSpot) Tweet This
  • 34% of the leads marketers generated in 2013 came from inbound marketing sources – against just 22% from outbound. (HubSpot)

The ROI is there, with the numbers to prove it. This is not a risky proposition; it is the very future of marketing.

3. Talk About Consumer Preference & Trust

Study after study shows that while consumers are tuning out advertising, they’re tuning in to content.

  • 90% of consumers admitted they found custom content useful (Engage) Tweet This
  • 70% of customers prefer to get to know a business through articles – not ads.  ( ContentPlus) Tweet This
  • 68% of consumers say they spend time reading content created by a brand they’re interested in (The CMA) Tweet This
  • 61% of consumers say that reading customized, branded content makes them more likely to buy (Custom Content Council) Tweet This
  • A whopping 78% of consumers believe that brands who are providing content are interested in building good relationships with them.  (Engage) Tweet This

It should come as no surprise, then, that while trust in advertising is plummeting, trust in content is only growing with time.

58% of consumers say they trust editorial content – a greater percentage than television ads (47%), magazine adverts (47%), billboards (47%) and newspaper ads (46%) – all of which saw declines in trust percentages year on year when compared to 2011. (Nielsen)

Again, the scales are tipped in favor of inbound marketing methods.

4. Talk About Action

If the ROI is there and customers are tuning in, the last thing you need to hammer home is that inbound marketing is feasible and obtainable for your business to go after.

After all, suggestions are nice – but plans are better.

Come to your boss with a plan of attack. Things you can bring to the table include:

  • A carefully constructed set of personas. Show them you know the market, know their pain points and understand their buying cycle.
  • An editorial calendar. Demonstrate that you’ve already thought through the types of assets you company could create to meet the needs of your market.
  • An amplification strategy. Put your boss at ease knowing you’ve already thought about how you’ll get your new content in front of people – but also show him the landing pages and conversion funnels you’ve created to convert leads when they arrive.
  • A proposed budget for content creation. Prove that these assets could be created without breaking the bank. It’s a good idea to start small – you don’t need to take on a juggernaut project straight from the get-go but can instead wade in and grow your inbound efforts when the results show it’s worth it.

Give Them an Offer They Can’t Afford to Refuse

Don’t wing it. Head into the conversation knowing the language your boss speaks, the priorities they hold and the outcomes they care about.

Show them the return is there and win them over with compelling statistics by demonstrating that not only do the old ways pay less dividends, but inbound marketing could give you a chance to eat your competitor’s lunch.

Lastly, show them a plan of attack and prove to them that it’s possible – and affordable – to start doing inbound marketing today.

If you enter the conversation prepared, you could be the spark that ignites a new way of thinking within your business.

About the Author

Nick Chasinov is the founder of Teknicks, a growth agency that helps companies acquire and retain customers. Trusted for 20 years.

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