Companies that Spend Less On Marketing Use Inbound

2015 State of Inbound Marketing and Sales Report

We meet with a lot of SMBs (small-medium sized businesses) that range in revenue, staff size and marketing budgets. One of the most common questions we hear is “How do we get more value for our marketing dollar?”  

Here are a couple more questions we get:

  • How can I get more leads?
  • How do I rank better on the search engines?
  • I receive three calls from Google Certified Partners yesterday guaranteeing me page one placement.  Is Paid Search (Google AdWords) the best route to go?
  • How can I better measure my ROI?
  • How can I use social media to grow my businesss?

I’m sure you can relate to one (probably several) of these yourself.  Rest assured, you are not alone.

Today, HubSpot released their 7th Annual State of Inbound Report containing survey results from nearly 4,000 B2B SMBs.  Of this group, less than 33% have an affiliation directly with HubSpot (users of the HubSpot software or HubSpot Partner Agencies) and over 50% have annual revenue below $1M.  This report contains metrics that can provide insights to some of the most common marketing questions out there.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re not entirely sure the difference between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing.  Everything else that follows will make more sense knowing the difference.

Inbound Marketing refers to creating great content specifically for a defined target audience to find bring an ideal customer to a business’ website.  Once at the website, the visitor can engage with the business via additional content which aids the site visitor during their purchase cycle.

Outbound Marketing encompasses all forms of marketing where businesses go out to get the customer through paid advertising vehicles such as television, radio, billboards, direct mail, cold-calling and paid search.  

Inbound Marketing is the Choice for Smaller Budgets

The numbers are in and Inbound Marketing is the clear choice for SMBs with annual marketing budgets of less than $100k.  SMBs with smaller budgets are finding that Inbound Marketing is providing the ability to maximize exposure, increase conversions and compete with larger companies with larger marketing budgets.

 Chart Showing Inbound Vs. Outbound

Does this mean that the $150 / day Paid Search campaign you currently have running in your backyard is suddenly a bad idea?  Is the 2,000 piece direct mail campaign you are sending out next week going to result in crickets?  No, not exactly.  What is being stated here is that Inbound Marketing is quickly being adopted and is producing results for many businesses that fall into a group trying to compete against larger budgets in the “shouting match” of Outbound Marketing.  These same businesses also are finding that measuring ROI is much easier to do and producing better results than previous Outbound Marketing campaigns.

Tracking Results and ROI

When it comes to seeing a higher ROI, Inbound outperforms Outbound 4x for SMBs with annual budgets less than $100k.  

Chart comparing those who recieving returns using inbound VS Outbound.

When you peal back the covers and look at Inbound Marketing, there are several components that can contribute to this higher ROI:

  • Quality content is the foundation of Inbound Marketing.  Much of this content is in the form of blogs and web content that is indexed by the search engines and drives traffic to a website month after month.  Many forms of Outbound Marketing have short shelf lives such as a 30 second TV ad or a click to your website through a PPC campaign.
  • Inbound Marketing focuses on attracting visitors at all points of the purchase cycle… not just the small percentage ready to “buy now”.  Capturing site visitor information allows continuous marketing to consumers no matter what stage of the buyer journey they are when they visit the website.  Leveraging every site visitor leads to a higher ROI.
  • Easy to manage, real-time tracking that is part of a sound Inbound Marketing program not only makes it easy to determine ROI, it also makes it easy to determine what is working and what is not… allowing for quick adjustments.  Outbound Marketing can be complicated and cumbersome to track resulting in difficulties identifying winning and losing activities within a campaign.

Digging In Deeper

If you’re anything like me, you love digging into the numbers.  When it comes to marketing, what’s more telling than numbers?  Click on the banner below to download the entire 2015 State of Inbound from HubSpot and check out the remainder of the metrics from the survey.  Enjoy!