Inbound marketing helps businesses succeed through combining quality content with digital tools. Most businesses who use inbound marketing report increased leads and conversions in the past six months, according to a new survey from portfolio website Visual Objects.
Inbound marketing is a popular marketing strategy that challenges businesses to attract audiences through high-quality, useful content shared on digital channels like social media and email. For example, a catering business may post how-to cooking videos on YouTube that only briefly mention their brand instead of creating a promotional television advertisement.
According to data from HubSpot, 79 percent of businesses in North America use inbound marketing to promote their products and services. Visual Objects’ survey shows that 72 percent of these businesses saw leads increase and 55 percent saw conversions increase, demonstrating inbound marketing’s effectiveness.
Businesses using inbound marketing prioritize attracting and converting leads
Almost one-quarter of businesses (24 percent) prioritize attracting leads and converting those leads into subscribers or customers over growing website traffic (14 percent), building brand authority (13 percent), or increasing revenue (11 percent).
Unlike “outbound” forms of marketing that prioritize sales—such as print advertisements and cold emails—businesses using inbound marketing prioritize attracting leads and converting them into customers with personalized content and digital tools.
Inbound marketing is based on the sales funnel, a framework that describes how customers go from simply browsing content to becoming a customer or subscriber. Customers need different content at different stages of the funnel.
Businesses attract leads at the top of the sales funnel by creating engaging and informative content such as videos, blog posts, or infographics.
Almost two-thirds of businesses (62 percent) use content promotion materials like call-to-action buttons and landing pages to guide leads down the funnel. More than half of businesses create visual content (61 percent), blog content (53 percent), and invest in SEO (53 percent) to achieve this goal.
Social media helps businesses identify leads, but some businesses say social media efforts are unsuccessful
Almost all businesses using inbound marketing (90 percent) use social media to support their strategy. Social media channels are easy-to-use outlets for businesses to promote their content to an audience of nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide.
Social media can be challenging for some businesses to use successfully despite its simplicity. Almost one-quarter of businesses surveyed (21 percent) said that social media was their least successful inbound marketing activity.
Businesses should hire in-house social media experts, or work with outside social media services to make sure their inbound marketing social media campaigns are successful.
“To really run effective campaigns takes expertise,” said Ben Kirst, vice president of creative at Silverback Strategies, in a news release. “There’s a degree of impatience and unwillingness to really invest the time and resources needed to gain that level of expertise. We want results and we want them now.”
Visual Objects surveyed 501 businesses in the United States that use inbound marketing. The report shows businesses how they can improve their own inbound marketing efforts.