What is inbound?
Inbound is essentially what’s overtaken old school,
above-the-line broadcast advertising, replacing
huge spends and variable measurability with the
ability to guide unknown visitors to your website.
In the process, they’ll become known individuals
in defined business sectors, undertaking a journey
that could well result in a sale.
Without the principles and practices of inbound,
prospects probably won’t find you online. They will,
however, find some of your competitors, and will buy
what they need from one of these. Using inbound
effectively, you can tease relevant information out
of unknown visitors, exchanging this for information
they’ll find useful. You can also use analytics to
improve the performance, efficiency and effectiveness
of your demand generation activity.
This could be a long description of inbound
marketing: the continual process of attracting
unknown prospects, converting them to known
contacts and optimising channels to improve
Majority of marketers integrate inbound
with corporate strategy
81% of inbound strategy is at least somewhat
integrated with broader goals
This could be a short one: inbound makes marketing
more effective to unknown contacts in specified
90% of business buyers say
when they’re ready to buy,
they’ll find you.
Source: DemandGen Reports (2012)
As one-third of a demand generation triangle, using inbound
means your audience can find you when they are ready, but
you have to earn their attention. Guides, articles, eBooks,
videos, calculators and digital tools are just a few examples of
content that can help you to earn attention by meeting your
audience’s need for information.
It’s not rocket science. It is, however, a bit of a leap of faith.
You have to trust that what you’re offering will resonate with
prospects looking to fulfil a business need. Which, perhaps,
goes some way towards explaining why over two-thirds of
marketers don’t yet feel that inbound is fully integrated into
their communications activity.
93% of business buyers use
search to begin their journey.
To get the attention of people who don’t know
who we are, or aren’t ready to buy from us.
n Content engine to deliver relevant content
n Asset library
Guidance in content marketing
People don’t find us, or what they’re looking
for from us, online.
Greater online visibility
Make relevant information easily available
Ask them to give us some information
Giving them the right information at the
right time to move them towards purchase
n Understanding their needs
n Marketing automation process
n Personalised communications
Sticking to traditional selling strategies doesn’t achieve
the bottom line benefits available now. Every piece of
communications activity has to be purposive and justifiable.
A demand generation strategy with inbound at its core
provides exactly that.
Modern marketing using demand generation makes marketing
budgets work harder, messaging more flexible, and results
more quantifiable. The internet is largely responsible for
fundamental changes in buyer behaviour. Today, your
prospects go online to source the information they need – this
will include other customers’ experiences with the product or
service being considered.
Social media, SEO top both lead sources and 2013 budget allocations
A complex process, and with higher value purchases
at stake requiring stakeholder buy-in at various levels,
broadcast advertising to a B2B audience has always been
difficult to entirely justify.
Marketing spending closely tracks lead generation rates
A bit less push, a few
Search and social – the power
behind inbound marketing
When someone wants something these days, they do
a search. In fact, 93% of buyers begin their journey with
an online search and 88% click on organic search results.
Your goal here is to appear high enough up the search
engine’s rankings for this someone to click on your link in
their quest to find what they want.
Organic, search-driven leads
even have the highest leadto-close rate at 15%. Yet,
proportionally, spend is low
on SEO and search engine
marketing, being only 4% of a
given annual budget.
Source: Hubspot and B2B barometer
People perceive high search rankings as a sign of trust,
credibility and authority. So it’s worth picking up all the
information you can about how to reach the top of the search
First up, what search isn’t. It isn’t a one-off activity in launching
web pages with tags and metadata. It’s an ongoing process
with over 60% of page rank now determined by off-page
factors. In effect, how search engines view your website’s
relationships with other websites, not just web pages that you
control. These factors include referral links and social signals
and are growing in importance.
In order to optimise your website and web pages, the first
step is to identify exactly what words you want to rank for and
be associated with. You should have a limited set of keywords
to optimise your website for, and a specific for each web page
linked to the theme of each article.
As with traditional PR, leading journals and journalists carry
more weight, more authority. Companies with unique,
interesting stories and news gain more coverage. The same
is true for the web. So, even if you have good on-page SEO,
leading domains may have more authority than you and will
rank higher for your desired search terms. Growing authority
is fundamental in increasing organic search traffic. So how do
you grow authority?
Authority is given by domains linking to your website. They
pass you link juice. The more authority they have, the more
link juice is passed to you. It’s not the number of links, but the
value of each link that’s important. In order to attract links from
reputable sources you have to earn it – they won’t give you
credit or authority for nothing. Having unique, valuable content
is the most effective way to drive link-baiting.
Keywords are about how your audience will search for something you can help with, not what terms you want to promote.
Always do keyword research to identify preferred search
terms, not the terms you’d like them to be.
Broadening your reach – social
Social media, in all its guises, is connecting people in ways
never imagined before. Be a part of it, and it exponentially
increases your ability to be found via online communities.
These communities and the people who make them can
become spokespersons for your brand and spread your
reach beyond known contacts, identify prospects you can
actively nurture and even boost search performance.
Larger, slower-moving or more traditional organisations have been
reluctant within many B2B markets to embrace social media.
Common reactions to using have included: ‘it doesn’t deliver
ROI’, ‘our audiences don’t use it’ or ‘we don’t have the resources
available right now to manage it’. Simply put, this isn’t true.
In addition to lead acquisition, social media is replacing PR
and traditional forms of earned media, in enhancing brand
image, perceived reliability and thought-leadership. 94%
of business buyers’ state C-suite social media participation
enhances a brand image, with 77% saying they are more likely
to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. The fact
is, four out of five of your own employees trust your company
more if the CEO uses social media to communicate to them!
With social media as with search, the more people linking to
you, the greater positive impact on search results. Once again,
you must earn this. People won’t link your website to their
communities without something worthwhile to share.
One of the most effective ways of enhancing keywords on
your website and building backlinks is blogging. This requires
continual creation of newsworthy material that people want
to share socially and link to from their websites. B2B companies
that blog have even been found to generate on average over
50% more leads per month than non-blogging organisations.
Source: Socialmedia B2B
Amplifying your message
Social provides a free channel and a platform to distribute
your messages and content, expand your reach beyond
existing contacts, and enables customers to become
third-party advocates and objective, external brand
ambassadors. If someone shares something about you,
you reach new audiences with earned credibility. Just like
word-of-mouth being the strongest form for endorsement
offline, online it is word of the web.
The key is providing something people want to share; a
fantastic experience, timely and downtime-saving support,
a great product or a guide. Once again, content is seen as a
driver. However great your product, without content you’re an
empty vessel, unlikely to engage customers and do your sales
Social media provides a flexible, cost-effective, trustgenerating channel to reach new audiences, enhance
relationships with customers and enrich brand personalities.
When viewed like this, who wouldn’t want a piece of it?
Customers have better visibility of you, and you have the ability
to nurture prospects through the buyer cycle. Marketing now
has the tools in place to demonstrate tangible ROI with social
channels, not just click-and-follow metrics. Prospects acquired,
customers acquired and increased loyalty – all and so much
more is down to the intelligent, creative use of social.
In complex B2B markets, it’s neither fair nor realistic to think that
engaging an audience via social media will immediately lead to a
flood of sales. The decision process will involve multiple stakeholders,
and will take place over an extended period of time. In fact, only
27% of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated.
Search and social
Mobile and Generation Y
As web sophistication increases, social is seen to play an
ever-rising role in search. 64% of marketers now see only
strong content (82%) more important to search rankings than
Let’s play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and say that your audience isn’t
socially engaged right now. Broad adoption of smartphones
(usually company phones) are blurring the lines of work and
The launch of Google+ with personalised results, and
Facebook search graph only act to demonstrate the converging
mutual relationship between search and social.
Now consider the impact as Generation Y enters the
workplace and progresses to more senior roles with decisionmaking responsibilities, and the native digital world begins
to become reality. Social will be embedded as one of the
definitive communications vehicles at marketers’ disposal. Get
in now, and you’re ahead of the game.
82% of CEOs already acknowledge smartphones
as being the primary device for business searches.
Yet already, 9 out of every 10 internet uses on
mobile is a social channel.
Unknown to known
Long buyer cycles, multiple decision makers and
complex channels – it’s common for B2B purchases to be
complicated. Stimulating organic or social traffic may only
have limited impact if these visitors remain unknown to
you, especially with pressure to justify marketing spend
and demonstrate ROI. Even a ten-fold rise in web traffic
may not convince the board of success unless sales or
customer retention dramatically increase.
An exchange of information which offers mutual
benefit is the simplest way of finding out who they are.
The primary currency you have to exchange for their
contact information is content; eBooks, webinars, guides,
demos, reports and tools are just a few examples.
If someone isn’t ready to purchase but has shown interest in
your company or service, you need to know who they are in
order to help nurture them towards a sale. One thing is clear,
the prospect who remains unknown to you is neither useful
The level of content should also reflect the level of customer
data required. For a detailed report you may want full
information, but for a simple online tool it may just be a social
@handle. But without something of value to your audience,
engaging and converting a visitor to known is rarely possible.
15% of marketers say SEO delivers above average
62% of top performers
indicated the top reason to
implement inbound marketing
was to increase sales from
27% of marketers report below average CPLs for
both email and social media
Justifying the investment in inbound is proving a
challenge to the marketing community, with 25% of
marketers concerned with proving their bottom-line
results, even though these survey results show that
inbound is more than capable of looking after itself
where the numbers are concerned.
Social media, email deliver lower
The cold hard cash
Inbound elements deliver 4/5 of the lowest
sources of cost per lead. And provide the
highest-2-close to sale rates
Nearly 95% of [European
marketing] companies are
already practicing inbound
marketing, and all plan
to increase their inbound
marketing spending by 2015.
25% of marketers concerned with proving bottomline results
When brought together under one banner, inbound marketing,
content marketing and marketing automation make a whole
that’s worth more than the sum of its parts to your bottom
line, with the marketing automation element providing the
analytics that feed continual improvements into your inbound
ands content marketing efforts.
Proving ROI tops challenges faced by
It doesn’t do, however, to view inbound in isolation. In
the same way that a company blog doesn’t constitute
an inbound strategy, an inbound strategy alone doesn’t
represent a commitment to demand generation.
source: Sirius Decisions
10 Steps to
About Ledger Bennett DGA
Telephone: +44 (0)8458 383883
Ledger Bennett DGA
Tungsten House, Warren Road
Little Horwood, Milton Keynes
Ledger Bennett DGA
1st Floor Centric House
390-391 Strand, London
We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses
sales and marketing know-how to help customers
increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing,
Content Marketing and Marketing Automation
strategies. Our highly focused Demand Generation
programmes drive our customers’ business
performance, helping them to:
n Generate more opportunity
n Convert that opportunity into sales
n Retain customers and grow their value
Using more measurable and cost effective
techniques than traditional full service marketing
agencies we are able to maximise business revenue
in the modern world where the internet has
fundamentally changed the behaviour of the buyer.