Inbound marketing is a frequent topic of discussion in my daily conversations with Owners, CEOs and Business Development professionals from manufacturing and industrial companies. Irrespective of the size of the company, they all have one thing in common – they want to boost sales as quickly as possible.
These industrial professionals have heard about inbound marketing being the “in” thing these days from marketing consultants like me and from other sources. However, it is a shock to them when I tell them “Inbound marketing is not a short-term fix. It is a long journey.”
They don’t want to hear that, they want their phones to start ringing, RFQs coming in and their sales team involved in deep conversations within 30 days.
Those are unrealistic expectations in my opinion. Here’s why; unlike a one-off ad or direct mail campaign, inbound marketing requires assessment of your current marketing programs to identify weaknesses, developing a strategic plan of action, implementing tactics, auditing existing content to identify gaps, creating new content and repurposing old ones, tracking, measuring and refining the process. These steps take time, at least six months for all the moving parts to mesh together like a finely tuned engine that will drive lead generation and generate sales.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait six months to see any measurable results. A well-planned and executed inbound marketing program will produce incremental improvements and quantifiable results every month in the first 3 to 5 months before lead generation really takes off in the sixth month or earlier. The great thing about inbound marketing is that it will continue to generate sales that are exponentially larger than the cost of the consultant’s initial retainer.
I understand the skepticism about what I’m saying and accept the fact that my motives may be suspect – trying to convince someone to sign up for a long-term marketing consulting retainer. Let me provide you some evidence from other experts to validate my position.
In this short video, you can listen to small business marketing expert and successful author, John Jantsch (@ducttape) of Duct Tape Marketing explain why building a content marketing strategy is a long-term commitment, and not for the short-term.
“Be Patient! It took two years for us to really see the fruits of our labor, but the wait was worth it. By setting and sticking to a specific inbound strategy, we were able to grow our newsletter subscribership from zero to 11,000 and increase traffic to our three sites by 600 percent. Inbound marketing takes time to be effective, so don’t bail on it after six months — even if you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for.” Brian Zimmerman (@BrianZimm1), Managing Director of OpenView Venture Partners, an expansion-stage venture capital firm for technology companies.
“There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.” Darren Rowse (@problogger), Founder, Problogger.
“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.” Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki), Former Chief Evangelist, Apple Co-Founder, Alltop.Com.
Here is an excellent infographic from Marketo (@marketo) that visually explains what inbound marketing is all about. Pay close attention to the sections on Why Inbound Marketing Matters to your Company, and Staffing and Budgeting for Inbound Marketing. Scroll down to the bottom to see where it falls short.
While I have no doubts in my mind about the effectiveness of inbound marketing within the industrial sector, the strategy does have its shortcomings if you are looking for a quick boost to your sales.
Now that you have a better idea of how long it takes and where it can fall short, head over to my company’s website for help with launching an inbound marketing program for your industrial company.
Do you use inbound marketing? Share your experiences about what it takes to increase industrial sales using this marketing strategy.