Brands using inbound marketing have reported a 72% increase in leads and a 55% hike in conversion rates, according to a new study by portfolio website Visual Objects that extolls the virtues of content marketing, SEO and other organic methods designed to deliver value to audiences.
Titled How Businesses Use Inbound Marketing, the study found that the technique of drawing customers to products via content is having a profound impact on tangible metrics, with just 15% of those surveyed saying that they have not seen any change in the number of leads after running a campaign.
Inbound marketing has become more popular in recent years as consumers are more averse to hard sells and targeted advertising, which are unlikely to take their own interests and needs into account.
Inbound output is the opposite, using high-quality content to inform, educate and entertain audiences via digital platforms, including social media.
More than three-quarters of enterprises based in North America are now using inbound marketing to promote their brand while also serving their customers in some way, and the vast majority have reported a surge in leads and conversions.
Content marketing is not only a viable alternative to outbound marketing but is arguably also the best method overall.
For those aiming to improve inbound strategies, the report offers a few tips and tactics backed up by the opinions of the 501 businesses surveyed.
Inbound marketing focuses on moving consumers through the sales funnel, and brands wanting to succeed must use content properly at the ‘awareness’, ‘interest’, ‘decision’ and ‘action’ phases.
Attracting leads takes place at the very top of the funnel, and more than half of the enterprises say that blog content is an excellent medium for driving awareness.
To achieve this goal, businesses are also creating visual content and investing in search engine optimisation.
Brands then turn to content promotion, including call-to-action hyperlinks within written blogs and articles and landing pages to push them along the sales funnel.
When used correctly, content can move consumers easily through the buying cycle, which provides incredible value in terms of sales and revenue.
The final cog in the inbound marketing machine is social media.
Nine in ten businesses say that they use social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to support distribution and other areas of their strategies.
This is no surprise, as social media provides brands with the opportunity to reach almost 3.5 billion people globally.
However, those surveyed admitted that they might need outside help from an agency to make the most of social media and the practice of getting content in front of audiences at the right time.
The study also found that attracting leads and converting them will remain the top priority overall, ahead of increasing website traffic and building brand authority, although the content is also likely to help in this area.
Silverback Strategies vice president of creative, Ben Kirst, said in a statement: “To really run effective campaigns takes expertise.
“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.”