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5 Tips for Maximizing Your Inbound Marketing Investment

4 min readApril 30, 2013

If content isn’t already the king of your marketing department, it might be high time to schedule a coronation. New data from Hubspot shows that inbound marketing (i.e. social media, blogging, SEO copywriting and other content creation efforts) can not only generate more leads than outbound efforts, but also deliver a lower cost-per-lead (CPL).

Call Tracking for Inbound MarketersHubspot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, which surveyed 3,300 marketers in 128 countries, validates inbound in a major way. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than outbound
  • 2 times as many marketers say that inbound delivers a lower average CPL
  • 48% of marketers will increase their inbound budget over 2013
  • Only 58% of marketers practice inbound

According to Hubspot’s data, 2013 will mark the third year in a row that marketers have substantially increased their inbound budgets. Yet, nearly half of marketers are still not using inbound tactics at all. This presents enormous opportunities for savvy marketers to ramp up their content creation efforts in order to bolster marketing ROI. Here are five inbound marketing tips that can help you maximize your inbound budget over the next year.

Seek Executive Support

According to Hubspot, only 11% of executives lend full support to inbound marketing efforts. But getting executives involved in inbound marketing efforts can add a sense of legitimacy to campaigns. For example, when top executives get involved in social media, it can help cement them as leaders in their field, as well as inspire other members in the organization to get social. However, many top executives—even in the tech space—are not adequately social.

In an interview with Mashable, Forrester Research CEO George Colony indicated that execs who are short on time should engage in what he refers to as “social lite.” This, according to Colony, is “where they would do maybe six to eight posts a year on their blog, and … two tweets a month or maybe one tweet a month.” Colony estimated that within 10-15 years, boards will require top executives to be social, “because the Facebook generation will demand to be communicated to that way.”

Formalize the Content Handoff to Sales

Hubspot reports that 200% cheaper CPLs were driven by organizations with a formalized hand-off between marketing and sales. Marketing can generate the best leads on earth with inbound content, but they’re completely useless unless sales reps follow up with those leads right away. CRMs like Salesforce.com can be an excellent tool for bolstering sales and marketing alignment. Marketing can gain real-time visibility into which leads are being followed up with. Improving Sales and Marketing alignment has always been one of our primary goals at Revenue.io. When the phone rings, our solution allows sales reps to instantly see which marketing efforts drove sales calls. We also give sales reps tools they can use to give marketing instant feedback into lead quality.

Hire Storytellers and Brand Evangelists

Any viable brand has an interesting story that, when correctly told, can generate interest and, ultimately, revenue.  Inbound marketing hiring is expected to grow 125% in 2013. When recruiting inbound marketers, seek individuals who can help craft engaging and creative brand stories. This can mean scouting journalism students or even employing seasoned writers to help tell your brand’s story via blogs, webcontent and other inbound efforts. As social media grows in importance, it’s likewise crucial to build a team that is socially savvy and can add value on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Maximize Each Content Investment

Imagine your company sells river rafting equipment and you just created an ebook called “The 7 Deadliest Rapids in the U.S.” Sure, you could simply throw it up on your site and hope it attracts interested users. But the best inbound marketers know that one great piece of content can yield additional content. For example, that ebook should be promoted through social channels then spun into a blog post that links to the the ebook. Then social media can be used again to promote the blog post. By producing new content that promotes previous content, you can maximize the ROI of each content investment.

Note: When respinning content, remember that it should deliver some new value. For example, if I were writing that rafting ebook, I might not overtly discuss my brand’s products. I’d just write a compelling ebook and brand it with my company’s logo. But in the blog post, I might discuss how some of the company’s rafting products were built to help withstand extreme rafting conditions.

Invest in Proven Efforts

Sure, Hubspot’s data indicates that it might be a good idea to pull back your outbound marketing budget in favor of a larger inbound investment. But depending on the products or services you offer, TV advertising or paid search campaigns might actually deliver the best returns. The point is, you should eliminate all guesswork and know which channels drive the best ROI. Then you can invest in the best efforts for your particular business. CRM integration can help you track which campaigns and keywords offer the best returns. But if your business closes any deals over the phone, you can lose crucial visibility into marketing ROI unless you invest in a call tracking solution. You can use our call tracking system to provision unique phone numbers for every inbound and outbound marketing campaign to see which ones are driving the best calls.