If you’re one of those businesses who have been online for years, the growing popularity of inbound marketing has almost certainly caught your eye. And yet, when the quotes and estimates come back from potential partners, you may have found yourself a little surprised at the cost.
After all, SEO was relatively cheap– depending on where you were getting it from. And PPC allowed for tightly controlled budgets that could be altered at a moment’s notice if necessary.
If you’ve been following along our blog lately, you may have read our post that outlined the cost breakdowns of an inbound marketing campaign. If you haven’t yet, take a moment to read it.
In summary: There’s a LOT that goes into inbound marketing, from planning and strategy to content creation and promotion. Every task takes time and expertise – and both time and expertise require cash flow to sustain.
But the obvious next question quickly becomes: Is it all WORTH it?
All that work is only worth the effort if makes you more than you spent in the long run. Can inbound marketing meet that promise?
Absolutely – and the numbers are there to prove it:
Cost-Effective, Qualified Leads
Want more leads for less cash? Inbound delivers.
In 2013, HubSpot found that inbound leads cost, on average, 61% less than leads acquired through outbound methods. That can be attributed, in part, to the combining of multiple “pull” marketing methods inherent in inbound – for example, a PR strategy that integrates SEO has an average 275% higher ROI. (Proctor & Gamble)
A study by Kapost found that inbound marketing generated three times the leads per dollar of traditional methods, while Hightable found the cost to be about 50%.
In a study by MIT, it was found that 92% of customers saw an increase in website traffic (64.8% of which saw that increase come within just 4 months) – and while that would be compelling on its own, 93% of customers saw an increasee in leads using inbound marketing.
In fact, the average customer who had usually seen 1 – 5 leads per month began to see 27.8 times more leads during the same periods. Surprisingly, all of this came at a lower cost than outbound marketing.
And in their 2013 State of Inbound Marketing study, HubSpot also found that inbound marketing delivered 54% more leads into the funnel than traditional outbound methods.
Interestingly, Eloqua also found that the average cost per lead will drop 80% after just 5 months of content marketing (a practice that is cornerstone to inbound marketing) – at a rate 31% cheaper than paid search advertising.
Increased Sales (Really!)
Leads are great – but what about sales? A mere 38% of brands are using sales to gauge the efficacy of their content marketing methods – but more really ought to.
For starters, HubSpot found that organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate (on average), while outbound leads closed at just 1.7%.
In that same MIT study we cited earlier, sales conversions increased for 50% of customers, with 49.2% seeing a higher lead-to-sales conversion rate and 49.7% seeing an increase in actual sales within 7 months.
Similarly, Forrester Research found that businesses who invest in at lead nurturing (leveraging inbound marketing techniques like e-mails newsletters, whitepapers, blogging and other content) generate 50% more sales-ready leads at just a third of the cost, while The Annuitas Group found that nurtured leads will make 47% larger purchases (monetarily) than un-nurtured ones.
Traditional is Being Tuned Out
We’ve written at length about the paradigm shift happening in marketing as customers tune out traditional methods, but a few stats are always worth noting when comparing inbound marketing to traditional methods:
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
- 86% of television viewers skip advertisements
- 200 Million Americans are on do-not-call lists.
- The number of calls required by telemarketers to make one qualified contact has leapt from just 6 in 2006 to over 41 in 2013.
And trust in old marketing is falling, too. Less than 50% of consumers trust ads from radio (42%), newspapers(46%), billboards (46%) or magazines (47%). Inbound, on the other hand, is only picking up steam.
- 70% of customers admitted they’d rather get to know a brand through articles instead of ads
- 68% of consumers said they’d spent time reading content from brands they were interested in
- 90% of customers found customized content from brands userful
- 57% of customers said they trusted editorial content
- 78% of consumers believe companies offering value-added content are interested in building positive relationships
This is where the market is going – and it’s moving there fast.
Minding Dollars Makes Sense
It’s wise to be skeptical of any marketing method with a lot of hype – and wiser still to carefully mind your budget. But in the case of inbound marketing, the proof is there and the results are tangible.