For more and more businesses, shifting consumer behavior has accelerated their awareness and interest in both Inbound Marketting and Content Marketing.
Because the internet has transformed the way consumers find solutions and interact with brands, buyers today have become much, much better at ignoring the messages they don’t want to hear and researching what they do want to learn about on their own.
The result has rendered many forms of traditional marketing a lot less effective than they used to be (think cold calling, Yellow Page ads, print ads in magazines or newspapers, direct mail, radio ads, etc). What’s changed here is the explosion of digitally constructed content and its universal accessibility and delivery online.
Time to attract. Not repel.
At their core, Inbound and Content Marketing are all about attraction. That means instead of pushing an unwanted, interruptive message at your prospects, you pull the people you want to reach towards you. This enhances the opportunity to foster a relationship that will influence and win new customers.
An Inbound or Content Marketing strategy includes content creation and distribution through techniques that integrate blogging, social media and email marketing in order to generate, nurture, and close leads.
How a stranger can move through a buying journey from a suspect to an advocate of your solution or brand is simplified in the graphic below.
Definitive distinctions? Or irrelevant semantics?
Leading inbound and marketing automation software provider HubSpot defines Inbound marketing as the process of aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests. When this happens, you naturally attract online traffic that can then be converted, closed, and enhanced over time.
The Content Marketing Institute’s founder, Joe Pulizzi, defines Content marketing as a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. All with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
While the distinctions between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing may be narrow, there are plenty of statistics to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of both. In fact, the data supports why more and more companies and brands are adopting these methodologies to attract, convert and sustain relationships with new and existing customers.
The numbers tell a convincing story.
Below are a dozen recent statistics that suggest small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) interested in realizing a lot more value from their website and online investments should seriously consider these marketing methods.
1. | Forget the salesman.
Buyers today are 75-90% of the way through their buying journey before they ever speak to a vendor. | Source: Forrester Research/Marketo
2. | What ad?
94% of the links search users click on are organic, not paid. | Source: GroupM UK & Nielsen/eConsultancy
3. | Being on top matters.
68% of all organic clicks go to the top three search results. | Source: GroupM UK & Nielsen/eConsultancy
4. | More. Not less.
Websites with 51 to 100 pages generate 48% more traffic than websites with 1 to 50 pages. | Source: HubSpot
5. | Blog on.
B2B companies that blog only 1-2x/month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog. | Source: HubSpot
6. | Double up.
Companies that increase blogging from 3-5x/month to 6-8x/month almost double their leads. | Source: HubSpot
7. | Traffic ahead.
An average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50. | Source: HubSpot
8. | Always be distributing.
87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute and extend the reach of their content. | Source: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
9. | Landing leads.
Companies see a 55% increase in leads from increasing landing pages from 10 to 15. | Source: HubSpot
10. | Turn relationships into opportunity.
Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. | Source: The Annuitas Group
11. | More. For less.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. | Source: Forrester Research
12. | Contact that converts.
Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. | Source: Silverpop/Email Benchmarks Report
Emerging moves to mainstream.
According to a recent Content Marketing Institute (CMI) survey of B2B small businesses, over 60 percent plan to increase their content marketing budget. That’s up 57% from the prior year.
The take away is that these once emerging marketing methods are now mainstream. Although small B2B businesses disclose their top challenges as having enough time to create content and producing quality content that engages, it’s not an overreach to claim that Content Marketing is now the price of entry for any business that wants to market online.
So where are you?
Time to get serious about how you market online? Are you ready to talk some experts that are helping other SMB’s succeed with Content Marketing? Shout out. We’re ready when you are.