Growth doesn’t just happen. In order to get your business (or life) from where you are now to where you want to be, you have to take action. You have to leap. This is a lesson I learned first hand. A year ago, I found myself having to ask a very real, challenging and hard question. Do I close up shop and go to work for someone else, or do I take a leap and invest in growing my business? I decided I wanted to grow my business and control my own destiny. This posed another question, how?
Marketing is not optional. In order to get your message to those who need your products or services, you have to market yourself. For many small business owners, investing in inbound marketing seems like a giant leap. The thought of spending a significant amount of money on marketing seems risky. But what sets inbound apart from traditional outbound approaches, is not just lower cost, but higher ROI.
For the past 50 plus years, marketing was dominated by the TV industry. If you had enough money to spend on this platform, you would be able to get your message out to a large audience. The more money you spent, the more exposure you got. Smaller businesses focused their marketing budgets on Yellow Page ads and direct mail. Again, the more you spent the more exposure you received.
The internet changed this in a huge way. Now, everyone had a platform to share their story with the world. One thing didn’t change. Businesses large and small still bought into the idea that money was the game changer. As a result, companies threw money into online ads and tops trends without really thinking about who they were trying to reach and what those dollars we actually going towards. Some had success, others spent their way out of business. Money isn’t the problem, the process is.
The folks at Sequoia Capital, one of the top venture capital firms in the country, have an amazing principle they adhere to, “Don’t throw MONEY at problems, throw IDEAS at problems.” Even among the small businesses that are running on tight budgets, many still function with the old idea that “more money” will fix their marketing problems. Money is a resource, and like any resource, must be used in the most efficient way in order to get the best return. So what if, instead of blindly throwing money at our problems, we found better way to market ourselves and businesses? What if we challenged the traditional model and took a risk with inbound marketing?
Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality, targeted content that pulls people toward your company and products. So instead of casting your message to a broad audience and hope that you reach the people who need your services, inbound focuses on getting your company and its products in front of the people who actually want and need your services. By targeting your customers only, your dollar goes farther and your return on invest is much greater. A recent study by Hubspot, the world's leading inbound marketing software firm, found that companies who use inbound marketing are 3X’s as likely to have a higher ROI than those who use a traditional marketing approach. (Download the full study here)
What’s even more eye opening is that the study also found that most marketers believe outbound marketing strategies are overrated. Out of those interviewed, nearly one-third, or 32% to be exact, of outbound marketers said outbound marketing tactics, like traditional paid advertising, are overrated.
My question is, if those who are selling these outdated marketing tactics don’t even believe in them, which is truly the riskier option? But I will continue to prove my case.
The internet has changed the way people look for the products and services they need. Our culture is so used to being advertised to that we have gotten very good at ignoring the noise. Instead, people search the internet to find the solution they need. This is where inbound really crushes outbound. By creating content that helps your prospective buyers make an informed decision and marketing it through channels they actually use, you cut through the noise and position your company as a trusted source.
I began this post sharing a little of my own story. I took the leap and put inbound to the test with my own agency. The result? We saw more than 100% growth last year and this year is already off to an even better start. The investment I made into my agency wasn’t cheap, but it produced results. The risk wasn’t so much the money I invested (although it was a significant risk), but challenging the way I had been doing things before. It’s not easy to try something new or challenge what everyone else is doing. But those who make the greatest impact and see the biggest returns are the one who “throw IDEAS at problems.” Inbound marketing is about searching for the best solution to the problem, not throwing money into ads and hoping someone engages. So I guess the real question becomes, which is actually riskier?
Taking a leap with Inbound or continuing with an outdated marketing approach?
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.