A lot of people have heard about inbound marketing but aren’t sure whether to commit to this methodology or not. We’ve written this blog post to help anyone asking themselves the question, “Is my business a good fit for inbound marketing or not?” because inbound marketing is not necessarily a good fit for everyone.
Why inbound marketing?
You probably already know that inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that amplifies your sales people. It speaks to consumers where and how they shop, during all points of their journey - and continues to talk to them once they become customers. So if you’re looking for measurable marketing results and want to understand your clients’ needs, fill your sales pipeline, shorten the sales cycle, delight your customers and grow your business, then it’s a good fit.
But before going into details, let’s be clear about what kind of businesses are not a good fit for inbound marketing, even if they believe in an inbound approach.
6 businesses that are NOT a good fit for inbound marketing.
You’re not a good fit…
- If you’re generating results from marketing that doesn’t require web-based information.
- If your customers aren’t doing their homework or making their purchasing decisions based on information online. For example, if the traffic coming to your website is simply ‘foot in the door’ traffic then inbound is not a good fit.
- If people only ever look for you online to make a very quick decision it’s probably not a good idea to invest in inbound marketing. For example, emergency services (such as plumbers or ‘instant decisions’) aren’t typically a good fit.
- If you only provide a very local / regional service and don’t need to reach a wider audience, investing in inbound marketing can be prohibitively expensive. Your customers would need to make a significantly valuable purchase to get a return on investment.
- If you’re looking for purely short-term investments and don’t see the value of planning a marketing strategy then inbound marketing is probably not for you.
- If you rely only on marketing tactics that aren’t in line with an inbound philosophy – for example: if you think it’s okay to call decision-makers without having done any homework first or if your modus operandi is to buy a database and start spamming people - you’re not a good fit.
If you’re still reading this post then your business is probably just right for inbound marketing – so how do you make the decision to invest in it? We’ve come up with a helpful list of questions you should ask yourself when deciding if your business will benefit from inbound marketing.
Questions to ask to determine if your organisation is a good fit for inbound marketing:
Your business is a good fit if you can answer ‘yes’ to at least 4 of these questions.Do you have at least one person dedicated to marketing?
You need a marketing person and a champion who believes in inbound - someone who will fly the ‘inbound flag’ which means doing things like ensuring the company won’t send out spam emails!
Do you have / are you prepared to commit a dedicated salesperson to follow up on the leads created by the inbound marketing process?
If you create great quality leads without following up on them, even the best inbound marketing efforts are pointless.
Does the decision to buy your product or service require careful consideration and substantial investment?
If the purchasing decision that has to be made to buy your product requires careful consideration and substantial investment, or the buying decision is based on a number of different considerations, then you’re a good fit.
Is your product or service genuinely valuable?
The best marketing in the world can’t improve the sales of a sub-standard product or service. While the sales team may be able to gloss over some of the inadequacies, if you’re creating demand for a service that doesn’t stack up against your competitors then inbound is not a good fit for you.
Do you want to help your customers make more informed decisions?
Inbound marketing is built on the basis of authenticity. It allows prospective customers to make intelligent decisions based on relevant, helpful and real information. It requires the willingness to share information that can help people.
Are you open to changing your processes to adapt to an inbound methodology?
Inbound marketing is not just about the people who embrace the methodology, it’s about the process too. You don’t have to have these in place already, but you do have to be open to revising your process to adapt to inbound.
Are you patient enough to wait for results? (Even though you will see some short-term gains)
The product or service that you provide should have quite a long sales cycle – or, at least one that requires investment of someone’s time and thought. Too often, companies who are looking to adopt an inbound methodology have a short timeframe where they expect immediate results. If so, they’re not a good fit for inbound marketing.
Checklist: Ask yourself, “Is my business a good fit for inbound marketing?”
In short, this checklist covers the characteristics of businesses that are a good fit for inbound marketing. Inbound companies are:
- Interested in objectives and goals.
- Willing to be patient (realistic about goals).
- Willing to change / challenge processes.
- Growth-oriented (they have a growth mindset or expectation of business growth).
- Willing to spend money (knowing that it may take a while to reap rewards but that the results will be trackable).
- Willing to question themselves, their business practices and the people in their business (and the agency who serves them) in a non-threatening way.
- Prepared to know they don’t always have the answers – but want to find them – and are prepared to try to find them.
Although inbound marketing is a philosophy that any business with these characteristics can embrace, it works particularly well for challenger brands, and businesses looking to break into a new region or territory who are looking for a cost-effective way to build trust in their brand through the provision of helpful content and up-front education.
What kind of people are a good fit for inbound marketing?
These are the people that we typically help create, leverage, implement or improve with inbound marketing. If you’re one of these people, we can help you.
- A marketer in a medium to large organisation looking to get better visibility on your marketing information to justify your marketing spend.
- A salesperson who has a solid sales process but doesn’t have a single point of view of the digital journey or the follow-up with sales and who would like to find out which type of sales activities are converting best.
- Someone responsible for customer retention in your business who would like to understand the customer lifecycle from an unknown visitor to a customer and be able to ensure that their experience as a customer is the same as their experience as a prospect.
- The owner / manager of an organisation who sees their new business acquisition numbers grow, but also knows that long term growth needs to be predictable and sustainable. If you want to know the cause, or are asking questions like, “Do we know if our retention is up to speed? Are we selling at a reduced rate? Is our sales cadence / lead gen cadence in line with the business needs? Do we have enough leads? Do we have enough customers?” then you’re an ideal candidate for inbound marketing.
If you’re not yet convinced about inbound marketing, even though inbound marketing generates three times more leads per Rand than traditional methods, here are some blog posts you might like to explore more fully:
Real results from customers using inbound marketing
- [Case study] Inbound Marketing and HubSpot increased Rentokil Initial’s marketing ROI by 671% in one year.
- [Case study] How Spitfire Inbound integrated Suzuki South Africa’s marketing campaigns to increase passenger vehicle sales by 21% in a declining market
- [Case study] Inbound marketing increased Initial Hygiene’s online sales by 76.29% in 8 months
How to make inbound marketing work for your company
- Why you want to be an inbound champion, and how to do it!
- Why inbound puts your prospecting on steroids
- How inbound marketing can make above-the line advertising more effective
Questions to answers you might not have known to ask
- What is inbound marketing and why do you need it?
- How long does inbound marketing take to deliver results?
- What does a HubSpot tiered inbound marketing agency partner mean for you?
Other helpful inbound marketing blog posts
- The 8 essentials for an inbound marketing strategy
- Great analogies for inbound marketing
- 10 lessons we’ve learnt from inbound strategy
- Why we’re called Spitfire Inbound – the little plane that changed the course of a war
So if you’re a good fit for inbound marketing, all that remains is to get in touch. If you’re ready to get started but need some help convincing the rest of the business we can support you.
We look forward to working with you!