Still being a relatively new term, Inbound Marketing often comes up against lots of objections.
Most of these are rooted in the problem that successful Inbound strategy relies on a change of mindset.
Here are some of the common misconceptions about inbound marketing that you may face and some ways to overcome them.
1. "We don't need to change from traditional marketing methods which work just fine."
"Traditional, outbound advertising hasn't done any harm since, well, forever. So why change?" Your boss will say.
Well, advertising agencies as we know them today have been around for a couple of hundred years, true. But really outbound, intrusive advertising became what we know it as today when television granted access into people's home.
But people's behaviour is changing.
We record TV onto hard drives to watch when we want. We skip adverts. We download things on demand. We make our own schedules. And this is only going to grow as manufacturers and broadcasters take us down the On Demand/Smart TV route.
The psyche of society - and with it your potential consumers - is changing too.
Look at millenials and teens when they don't know the answer to something; "One second, let me Google it."
The rise of micro-blogging and pictoral sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, all accessed via mobile devices, place the power in the eye of the beholder. Or to be more exact, in the hand of the person holding the smartphone.
"You're coming at me to tell me why I should give you my money? I'll just head over to listen to what that guy is telling me for free instead, thanks."
And That Guy will gain the person's trust and when it's time for a purchase, where do you think they will head?
2. "Inbound Marketing costs too much."
To encompass all aspects of the inbound methodology does involve a lot of up front costs. Software, writers and designers, monitoring systems and campaign planning all incur a cost which takes time to build results. But this is a long term strategy.
The temptation is to go for a "quick-win" via outbound methods.
For what you may spend setting up an inbound campaign (and by campaign I actually mean building the whole methodology and mindset, and maintaining it) you could generate a large number of leads in one short, sharp outbound campaign.
The trouble is that these tend to be short term, low quality leads. To maintain this rate of conversion means maintaining a large outbound marketing budget.
The difference with Inbound is that your content is out there and accessible forever. This is becoming more important as consumer - nay, people's - habits and behaviours mean they choose what content to look at and listen to.
The leads that come from Inbound are nurtured, interested, high quality contacts which results in more conversions.
3. "Ah, yes, but that takes too long."
Granted, the whole idea is built around it taking time.
Attracting people to your content, coaxing their contact details out of them, nurturing them via follow up reach outs, saying yes when they've enjoyed getting to know you and they come to you to make a transaction...
But you are only nurturing people who want to be reached.
Purely in terms of time, it does take longer. But to look at a campaign in terms of time alone isn't looking at the full picture.
In terms of more important numbers - efficiency of conversions and cost per lead - inbound marketing is up to 61% more effective than outbound.
This isn't to say outbound should be neglected completely, it's still relevant but is on the wane. This means that your company's marketing budget could be spent more wisely.
To include inbound is to include a more holistic, efficient and slow-burning approach. As covered in point 2, it is the way people will be reached in the future.
4. "I can't create remarkable content for my business as it isn't interesting or exciting enough."
A common misconception.
If you can operate as a business, whether B2B or B2C, people are paying you for your services or a product. This means that there is something interesting about your business. Also, expand your scope to covering your industry generally.
Educating people by giving them the answers they need makes them more likely to remember you when they need more than free advice, some time in the future.
People are nice like that.
This is made effective by only targetting your Personas. Not everyone is going to be interested in your business but you're not marketing to everybody, just those with a problem that your business can solve.
5. "It's too risky."
Once you focus on your Buyer Personas, you can use your knowledge and expertise to create useful, well-detailed content that helps people. This cannot be associated with risk as it is useful, genuine knowledge that can only make you look good to future customers.
They will be following your brand prior to even realising they need to purchase and will turn to you once nurtured into the closing stage.
Really, it's a risk NOT to be doing this and rely purely on discounts and ignored outbound advertising.
6. "Our CEO is old-school. He'd never sign this off."
This is something we have noticed a lot.
This attitude most probably comes from two places; people who benefit from maintaining the old, soon to be outdated status quo, or people who don't behave in a "new fashion" way themselves (covered in point 1).
Why not show them some statistics?
- It's cheaper than outbound marketing techniques (television, radio adverts, etc.). Inbound leads cost at least 67% less than outbound.
- Improves your own understanding of your customers - building repeat business.
- Focuses advertising to your ideal customers so is more efficient.
- Inbound leads have a close rate of 14.6%. Outbound has a rate of 1.7%.
Or look at this blog post which goes into more depth.
And for yet more ammunition to help you remove misconceptions about Inbound, check out our FREE state of Inbound Report.
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