For many b2b businesses, inbound marketing is often adopted half-heartedly and not fully integrated with the rest of the business. This means that results often fall short of the 4:1 ROI that is achievable within the first year. A functioning inbound marketing pipeline depends on you going ‘all in’ - and there's some real things you can do as a marketing leader to get there. Read on for our ultimate how to inbound marketing guide!

Show leadership commitment

Imagine you signed up your whole family for a half marathon, but you’re the first to swap the trainers for the remote control after only one week of training. What do you think the chances are that the rest of the family is going to actually compete in the race? Pretty slim, right?

If you fail to show leadership commitment for your inbound marketing efforts, they will soon suffer the same fate as your marathon ambitions. Creating content that your audience actually wants to read requires the input of your senior staff members and technical experts. Often it can take some convincing to get them involved in the process and support it wholeheartedly. But if you can’t find the time to contribute, why should they?

Focus on the customer

Successful inbound marketing hinges on a complete understanding of your customer. What are their goals and needs? How can you help them achieve this? These insights will ensure that you’re producing b2b content that your audience cares about.

This is the equivalent to understanding your personal fitness goals before coming up with a training plan. The approach will look very different if you want to participate in a fun run, compared to a 251km race in the Sahara Desert. If you’re not prepared to adjust your business plan and content marketing to suit the needs of your customers, your inbound marketing results will be moderate at best.

Allocate budget and resources

You won’t lose those last two kilos unless you’re willing to spend a little more on a healthier lunch option or invest the time to prepare the meals yourself at home. Similarly, you need budget and resources to keep your inbound marketing pipeline pumping.

Creating content is time-consuming, but the efforts of content distribution can’t be underestimated. It takes a lot more than the occasional social media update to get the attention of your target audience. As an experiment, just try to get one backlink to your blog this week. You will get a much better appreciation of how much effort goes into seemingly small tasks.

Make sure you read the fine print

Lastly, there are a few things you need to be aware of before getting started with inbound marketing (much like the T’s and C’s of any gym contract).

1. Inbound marketing is not a quick-fix

If you’re looking for quick sales to boost revenue for this quarter, inbound marketing is not for you. Creating content that addresses all stages of the buyer journey and distributing it effectively to be seen by your target audience does take time. And even if people are signing up to receive your company newsletter, they are still most likely a fair way off from buying your product. To put it in health and fitness terms, inbound marketing is a holistic approach, not some cure-all diet pill that promises weight loss without eating less or exercising.

2. It won’t replace outbound marketing methods

Contrary to some voices in the industry who herald that outbound marketing methods such as direct mail, Account-Based Marketing and advertising don’t just work, they are also still necessary. Especially while you’re building up your content and online credibility, you will need to supplement your inbound marketing efforts with other activities to ensure you’re still meeting your sales goals. You will also need to invest in advertising to get your content in front of the right audience.

3. It also won’t replace salespeople

Inbound marketing does not replace salespeople. In fact, in the face of ever increasing competition, the tailored response of your sales staff is an important differentiator. However, your inbound marketing will help reduce the need for some of the most time-consuming aspects of sales such as prospecting and pre-qualifying leads, so your sales guys won’t waste their valuable time doing demos with tyre kickers.

A final word

Inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re expecting too much too quickly chances are that you will be disappointed or even abandon your attempts before it’s time to reap the rewards. Succeeding is a lot more about commitment, patience and resources than it is about committing every marketing dollar to inbound straight away. So take it steady and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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