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Riding the Wave of Inbound Digital Marketing

Inbound digital marketing represents a sea change in the industry with 80% of UK companies operating inbound marketing strategies. If you’re one of the 20% of companies who aren’t on board, this article may persuade you to take the plunge.

It’s Not a Wave – It’s an Inbound Tsunami

Although inbound marketing may have started as a gentle tidal pull, today it’s more like a tsunami. The definition of inbound marketing can be traced back to 2005 when HubSpot’s co-founder, Brian Halligan, invented the term. Initially, the US adopted inbound marketing more quickly than the UK. But, as the Google search pattern in the graph below shows, interest in the term in the UK swelled.

HubSpot data shows that one in four businesses use inbound marketing and that this figure increased by 25% between 2013 and 2014 alone. Today, that figure sits at 89% for B2B businesses. HubSpot describes the trend as ‘a global movement’ and, in 2016, Brian Halligan said:

“The world is becoming more inbound. It’s growing more authentic, less interruptive. And with the findings of this year’s report, I think it’s safe to say that over the next ten years we’re going to see an even more inbound world.”

While some waves peter out quickly, the inbound tsunami shows no signs of slowing down.

Which Industries are Riding the Inbound Marketing Wave?

If Brian hasn’t convinced you that inbound marketing is for you, perhaps other companies’ adoption of this approach will. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report showed that inbound marketing wasn’t adopted as a minor part of an overall marketing strategy. Quite the opposite. It’s become the primary focus of businesses across sectors as diverse as consumer products, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, media, marketing, non-profit and the public sector.

At the top end of the adoption scale are Ecommerce businesses. 89% state that inbound is their primary approach to marketing. This figure dips to 57% in sectors such as healthcare and medical. However, you will note that this is still a majority of businesses with a focus on inbound as their primary marketing approach.

inbound digital marketing - interest over time

Why is (Almost) Everyone Surfing the Inbound Marketing Wave?

Sometimes new trends are a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon (or the surfboard in this case), singing their praises for something that isn’t all that good. But the reason everyone’s riding this wave is because inbound marketing works. And although it can be difficult to get right, those companies with inbound marketing plans find them highly effective in driving business growth and brand identity.

The stats speak for themselves:

  • Your customers like the way that inbound marketing delivers information in bite-size chunks. 80% of business decision makers prefer to receive business information in a series of articles over an advertisement (source: Invespcro.com).
  • Prospects want you to provide information before they contact you. 47% of buyers view between three and five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Demand Gen Report, 2016).
  • Inbound marketing delivers content that increases traffic to your website. And the more quality content you create the more hits you’ll get. B2B companies that blog 11 or more times each month have almost triple the traffic than those blogging once or less each month. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • Content marketing is cost effective. It costs two-thirds less than traditional marketing and triples the leads (source: Invespcro.com).

Companies only tend to put their money where their mouth is when something works and, in 2017, a sizeable 39% plan to increase their inbound marketing budgets.

Are You Too Late to Catch a Ride?

First the good news: Inbound marketing is a big wave with plenty of room. As long as the internet and social media don’t run out of room for content and websites, you can join in. And there’s still an appetite for content as long as it’s the right content. In fact, 96% of B2B buyers are seeking material with more input from industry thought leaders.

Now the not so good news. Inbound marketing relies on forethought, analysis and planning to get the right approach in place to maximise your return on investment. With so many social media platforms, content types, tools and inbound marketing ideas, it can feel like navigating an ocean without a compass. But Red-Fern Media are expert guides with all the inbound marketing experience you need.

From understanding your audience and identifying what’s unique about your products or services to generating a content marketing strategy and a plan to deliver it, our expertise will take you from novice surfer to big wave rider. And, as with any good coach, we’ll assess performance and tweak the approach for best results.

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