Many small businesses have embraced inbound marketing as an effective way to increase their revenue. According to a report by eMarketer, 36% of small businesses are using Search Engine Optimization to grow their businesses and 35% are using social media. However, if roughly 35% of small businesses are using inbound marketing tactics, 65% are not.
Here are 5 reasons those companies not using inbound marketing should start now:
Inbound Marketing Mirrors the Way Buyers Buy
Google has replaced the Yellow Pages there are 3 billion searches conducted on Google every day, of which 46% are for information on products or services. A report from the DAC Group found that 71 percent of enterprise purchase decisions in the United States begin with research conducted on a search engine.
If you want to grow revenue, it only makes sense to seek buyers where they can be found on the internet. Inbound marketing gets your business found by buyers on the web, nurtures and educates them as they progress through the buying process and conducts analytic research to optimize the process.
The Fallout from the Great Recession Has Limited Options to Grow the Bottom Line
In order to survive the most daunting economic challenges most business owners and executives have faced in their lifetimes, they have cut expenses to the bone. They have reduced headcount and slashed overhead expenses. Most businesses dont have any more fat to cut.
If a business that has cut costs to the quick wants to grow the bottom line, it only has one option to grow revenue. Because inbound marketing reaches potential buyers on their terms, it is a solid investment in revenue generation.
Inbound Leads are Less Expensive than Traditional Leads
According to Hubspots 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, leads produced by inbound marketing tactics such as SEO, blogging and social media are 61% cheaper than leads produced by traditional tactics like telemarketing, direct mail and trade shows.
The same study showed that inbound marketing produced higher quality leads. For example, leads produced by search engine optimization had a 14.6% close rate compared with a 1.7% close rate for outbound leads (direct mail and telemarketing.)
Inbound Marketing is Permission-Based Marketing, Not Interruption Marketing
As stated earlier in this article, inbound marketing is based around the concept of educating and nurturing potential buyers as they attempt to solve problems you provide potential buyers with the information they need when they need it. Buyers that find you on the internet or through social media channels give you permission to market to them.
Traditional marketing channels like telemarketing and cold e-mailing interrupt the people who are trying to solve business problems. The massive job losses brought on by the recession have had the effect of increasing the responsibilities of those who kept their jobs. They are busier than they have ever been. Interruption-based marketing techniques not only are not effective, they annoy potential buyers who are stretched to the breaking point.
Inbound Marketing Takes Time
While inbound marketing is an effective marketing channel, it takes time to reach its full potential. Getting to the top of Googles ranking for keyword phrases targeting your buyers requires effort you need to optimize your website for search engines, blog frequently and produce and promote relevant content to potential buyers. Its not like flicking on a light switch; it takes concerted, consistent effort. Theres no better time start than now.
In summary, businesses that use inbound marketing have a jump on their competition. If youre one of the 35% of small businesses that have already got on board, you are likely reaping the rewards of your efforts. If youre one of the 65% who havent got on board, youre risking getting left behind by your competition.
John Beveridge is the President of Rapidan Strategies, an inbound marketing and social media agency and HubSpot partner located in Fairfax, VA. Please feel free to contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions on this article or any other inbound marketing and social media issues.
 Search Engine Land, 2010
 SRI, 2010