In our earlier post, Cold Calling to generate leads vs. Inbound Marketing, we talked about why cold calling has been on the decline and why it is not good from your branding perspective. Cold calling has not been completely discarded, but it has steadily become less effective due to the evolution of technology and consumer behavior throughout our society.
Inbound Marketing on the other hand is steadily increasing in importance
Instead of blindly reaching out to people who are part of your target audience, how about reaching out to those who are actually interested in the product/service that you provide?
This is where Inbound Marketing comes in. Where cold calling relies on the hit and miss approach, inbound marketing helps companies attract prospects to their website by generating content that the latter actually wants to read. This content enables the audience to determine if the products or services provided by that company are suited to satisfy their needs.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a technique for attracting prospects to your company’s products and services by leveraging quality content marketing, social media marketing, SEO effectively.
It is generally perceived as one of the most efficient and cost effective ways of attracting strangers and converting them into customers as well as promoters of your company.
The Key difference between cold calling and inbound marketing:
|Cold calling||Inbound Marketing|
|Nature||Traditional method||Modern marketing method|
|Approach||Cold reach-out – Pitch – Promote – Push||Attract – Convert – Close – Delight|
|Primarily relies on||Salespersons and calling database||Content (blog, whitepapers, videos, etc) SEO and Social Media|
|How awareness is generated||Salesperson share information before understanding prospect’s need||Prospects read information about products and services and approach company to satisfy their needs|
|Type of lead||Hit or miss approach||Highly qualified leads|
|End result||Less effective and more expensive||Highly effective and comparatively less expensive|
|Impact||Cold calls are generally considered to be an invasion of privacy where few are rebuked for calling||It is in the prospect’s own interest to get as much information as possible before purchasing the products or services|
How inbound marketing is more advantageous in the long term
Quality of leads:
Although prospects may develop interest in any product or service, it is not necessary that they will immediately purchase it to satisfy their needs. The Buyer’s Journey is said to comprise of 3 stages:
- Awareness – Prospects are conducting research and identify their problem
- Consideration – Prospects have clearly defined their problem
- Decision – Prospects have now decided on a solution for their problem
It is the responsibility of the marketers to create content according to each of the 3 stages of the buyer’s journey. Those in the awareness stage may take considerable amount of time before committing to a solution while those in the consideration stage take a lesser amount of time. Prospects in the decision stage will be those closest to actually buying a product or service.
Here, it should be noted that although immediate sale of product or service is not guaranteed, and largely depends on where the prospect is in the buyer’s journey, they are still in the process and will eventually come to a stage where they will purchase it eventually.
The quality of content should be good to help them move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage and lastly to decision stage. Even in the long term, you can be assured of gaining a customer provided you have been creating the desired content.
Cold calling or outbound marketing is a lot more expensive as companies need to purchase database for calling, hire salespersons with relevant experience, etc. And despite these expenses, the return of investment is nowhere near to what they should ideally expect.
With inbound marketing, there are significantly lesser number of expenses. It costs comparatively much lesser to create content and most of the social media channels are free (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Your only responsibility is creating content according to the 3 stages of the buyer’s journey and promoting them on all your social channels so that they can be easily consumed by your prospects.
Resorting to paid advertising is also an option, which can boost your conversions, but that is a choice.How to leverage content marketing to drive lead generation
Besides, your content is evergreen and you don’t have to invest anything. You need to only update it once in a while, if needed so that you are not replaced from your position in Google’s organic results. It will continue to drive in qualified leads as long as the content is relevant to the audience.
There is an added advantage of approaching only those prospects who have genuine interest in your content and more likely to purchase your products.
How inbound marketing improves branding and recall
While generating leads and increasing sales is of prime importance for any company, there are other aspects that are also equally important, if not more. Inbound marketing also has other goals: improving branding and recall.
It is necessary that companies build their brand name and improve or change the perception their target audience may have about them or their products. Inbound marketing is one of the best ways for making a brand well known and create a significant recall value. Content generated as a result of inbound marketing helps create a significant recall value about the company without being obvious like advertising. Generating leads and more sales is just an added bonus in this case.
Inbound marketing is the way to the succeed in the future. As a company, what are you doing to ensure that you are able to put in an effective inbound marketing strategy that will drive you consistent results.
At Xenia Consulting, we recently created an eBook ‘ 20 steps guide to start generating inbound leads’ . Make sure you download your copy now
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing