Inbound marketing has become the primary marketing mode for technology companies and professional services firms. In the 2016 HubSpot State of Inbound Report, 73% of survey respondents identified inbound as their primary approach to marketing.
This is a reflection of how business buy products and services today - according to Google, 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases.
Inbound marketing helps buyers find you when they are searching for business solutions and gets them talking to your sales team as they move through their buying process.
So clearly lead generation and nurturing is the bread and butter of inbound marketing. But how else can you use inbound marketing in your business?
1. Use inbound marketing to support employee recruitment and retention
For technology companies and professional services firms, your employees are your product and the engine that drives growth. Recruiting and retaining top talent is one of the biggest priorities for US businesses.
Inbound marketing can and should support your recruiting and retention efforts. Create content that highlights your company culture and the "special sauce" that separates you from the pack.
By creating inbound marketing content that positions you as a subject matter expert and leader in your industry, you will attract top talent to your brand the same way you attract potential buyers.
When they search for answers to questions about the problems you solve, they find you and your content. When you publish great content, you promote your brand with both buyers and potential employees.
Inbound marketing can also support your retention efforts. Encourage your employees to write posts for your blog. It's a win-win situation - you get great content for your blog and your employees build up their list of publications for their LinkedIn profiles and resumes.
2. Use inbound marketing to secure funding and enhance exit strategies
The standard technology company business playbook is to secure funding from venture capitalists and angel investors to help scale and grow your business.
Investors are like everyone else - they find potential business partners on the internet and on social media. Inbound marketing can supplement and enhance your efforts to secure funding.
Great content not only will get you found by investors, but it will also show them the value of investing with you. If you have a unique approach to solving a problem, you should be creating content around your approach to attract buyers. That same content will attract investors.
Many government contractors and professional services firms are managing their businesses towards an exit strategy. The business principals look to a big payoff from growing their business and then merging with or being acquired by a bigger fish.
Once again, inbound marketing can get you on the radar screens of investment bankers and business brokers who have been hired to identify potential M&A targets.
An effective inbound marketing program that's producing leads and customers makes you a more attractive target because it shows you have ongoing revenue potential that is not tied to relationships with the principals.
3. Use inbound marketing to enter new markets and diversify your business
For SMB businesses, there is a constant tension between focusing on target markets and creating a diversified book of business that isn't overly dependent on a small number of customers.
For government contractors, diversifying into commercial markets can take a business to the next level. If you have a high-level cybersecurity product that is deployed at a government agency, it makes sense to grow your business by taking that technology to commercial buyers like banks or insurance companies.
In either case, inbound marketing can help you diversify your business. Blog posts and case studies about how you solved a problem for a customer are a great way to introduce your business to new buyers and new markets.
Inbound marketing content can be used to generate outbound opportunities. Approach new businesses and markets with concise, targeted emails that link to your case studies and blog posts. This is much more effective than unfocused cold-calling that relies more on luck than skill.
Inbound marketing is an essential element of modern business management. Because it's used by so many businesses, it's become very competitive. It's not just enough to do inbound marketing, you have to do it well and constantly evolve your approach. By extending your inbound marketing goals to include these 3 elements, you can take your business to the next level.