The business buying decision process is quickly evolving with the advent of broadband technology and the proliferation of social media. Modern B2B buyers are now self-directed, meaning they prefer to systematically research and compare products/services on their own before engaging a sales rep.

They want to be in control and are not looking to be directly marketed to anymore; they want to be the ones to seek out the information and purchase when ready.

As a result, today’s buyers are tuning out traditional advertising methods and turning to information rich channels.

Get Found with Inbound Digital Marketing

Modern buyers, especially millennial B2B buyers seek information that will aid them in their purchase decision process. Traditional forms of advertising no longer drive today’s buyer to purchase.

A recent study by Meltwater revealed that “Eighty percent of B2B decision makers prefer to get information from articles rather than advertising, and 40 percent of millennials don’t trust ads.”

To reach today’s self-directed buyer, a company’s marketing mix needs to include inbound content marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on creating information-rich learning experiences through content generation. The strategy centers on using content to help get found by customers during the information search and evaluation process. Strategic content is used to reach, lure and disseminate influential brand messages during each stage of the buyer decision-making process.

When developing your web content, it is also important to consider how search engines work and the search queries people use when conducting their product/service research. Web content needs to support query types to ensure targeted prospects can find you. After all, leads that come from search engine optimization have a 14.6 percent close rate, compared to the 1.7 percent close rate of outbound marketing, according to Search Engine Journal.

Businesses can no longer blatantly sell to targeted buyers. Instead, the optimal choice is to use content and other forms of soft marketing to attract prospects. Content will help you nurture and funnel target buyers through the decision making process until they decide they are ready to purchase.

Inbound Content Marketing Helps Close More Business

Let’s start with the fact that inbound content marketing works. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing brings in three times as many qualified leads as outbound marketing.

Now, besides the fact that inbound content marketing is effective, businesses should choose it because it is significantly cheaper than outbound marketing. In fact, in this study from 2012, Hubspot marketers found that “Inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 61 percent lower cost per lead than organizations that predominately leverage outbound marketing.” That’s a substantial savings on a technique that delivers better results.

Hubspot also reported that according to participants of their survey, inbound digital marketing tactics like blogging and social media marketing are the least costly forms of online marketing. Whereas, survey participants reported traditional outbound marketing tactics like attending trade shows, sending out direct mailers and telemarketing were among the most expensive.

Costs of Inbound Digital Marketing

Each business may choose to focus on a different pillar of inbound marketing, so costs can vary. In general, the key components to building a B2B inbound marketing machine include:

  1. Content

    Includes: quality blog posts, YouTube videos, webinars, podcasts. These are lead generators that can attract attention and bring optional buyers to a company’s website. Content creation can also include marketing materials like whitepapers and website copy.

  2. Search engine optimization

    It is extremely important to find someone who knows a thing or two about SEO. Making sure your site is fully optimized and ranks well for its desired keywords will be what enables buyers to find your content in search engines.

  3. Social media

    It’s also important to be on social media. Not just on there, but engaging and interacting with followers. According to Meltwater, “Fifty-five percent of B2B buyers say they search for product/vendor information on social media.” Communicating company messages and sharing product information through a social process builds customer trust. This can take some time; so many businesses should have a dedicated person to handle their social media channels.

  4. Email marketing

    An email list is said to be worth its weight in gold. Content should go out to your subscribers regularly to continue the nurturing process and remain top of mind.

    B2B buyers are smart. They know what they want, and they don’t want to be sold. They want to be taught, informed and catered. Because of this trend in today’s advertising world, inbound digital marketing beats outbound marketing in effectiveness and in cost.

Download this free guide to get started on you inbound digital marketing strategy.