This blog post is an excerpt from our eBook, "How To Grow Your Professional Services Firm The Inbound Way - A SMART Growth Guide For Professional Services." If you'd like to download the 60-page eBook, please click on the call-to-action in the middle of this page.
Is your professional services business new to inbound marketing or not sure if inbound marketing is a good fit? For three straight years, inbound market expenditures have increased by nearly 50%, according to HubSpot. Sixty percent of companies used inbound marketing in 2013.
Of these companies, marketers allocated over one-third of their overall budgets to inbound marketing tactics, 11% more than they spent on traditional outbound strategies like banners and direct mail. What have these companies discovered that your business doesn’t know? They know that inbound marketing works – it’s that simple.
Inbound Marketing Is More Than A Tactic, It's A Philosophy
Inbound marketing is not a tactic or a channel, but a marketing philosophy. When compared with traditional marketing, it produces both a higher quality and quantity of leads for a business. Furthermore, when executed correctly, inbound marketing can more than double the average website conversion rate for your professional services business.
While the majority of marketers have embraced inbound marketing, many are still unsure how to categorize their efforts or measure ROI. Furthermore, many are not even sure if investing in inbound truly yields results for their businesses. Content is a critical, but not standalone, component; the effective distribution of this content is equally important. And despite the push for better analytics and ROI measurement, businesses should also not overlook the importance of aligning their marketing department with sales in order to achieve better lead nurturing.
Inbound Marketing Is Suited To Selling Professional Services In A Down Economy
The economic downturn has profoundly changed how everyone from global executives to small business owners make buying decisions. Gone are the days when the C suite purchased from their golfing buddies; today’s decision-makers seek a broad consensus amongst all parties before making a purchase. Thanks to this increased risk aversion, the B2B buying cycle is now longer than ever.
During the last five years, the average sales cycle has become 22% longer, typically with three or more decision makers participating in the buying process. (Sirius Decisions). It now takes an average of seven touches to convert a sales “suspect” to a sales “prospect” – and even more lead nurturing to close the sale. (Bridge Group)
The economic downturn is also changing how professional services buyers make purchasing choices. Remember the common expression, “You can’t go wrong buying from IBM?” For SMB companies purchasing professional services, this statement could not be further from the truth. When an SMB purchases from a global professional services firm, they are more likely to be serviced by a young, inexperienced practitioner. High performing partners are there during the sales process, but disappear once actual work starts getting done.
For savvy professional services firms, inbound marketing demonstrates your expertise to potential buyers and helps minimize the perceived risk of doing business with your company.
Getting Started With Inbound Marketing
While traditional marketing models have not completely disappeared, they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Since professional service firms are knowledge-based businesses, content marketing is essential to providing businesses with a free sample of your services, which in turn is critical to generating leads. Inbound marketing is key to targeting today’s increasingly fragmented digital audience with a cost-effective, ROI-proven tactic.
In order to effectively execute inbound marketing campaigns, your business needs the right software, strategy and expertise. HubSpot’s software, for example, provides an all-in-one toolset, unified web and email analytics, and personalized adaptive content. This includes everything your business needs to post a blog, send an email, monitor social media, create a landing page, automate lead nurturing campaigns, manage SEO efforts, and more – all from a single, integrated platform.
If you are brand new to inbound marketing, however, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all these different options. This is why it’s essential to putting a clear, effective strategy in place from day one.
Our Professional Services eBook is for those SMB professional services firms that know they’re better than their enterprise competition. If you’re like me, you know that once you’re in the game, you’ve got a great chance of winning. The intent of this eBook is to give you a framework to create a scalable growth process to grow your firm. If you need help getting started, please feel free to schedule a free, no-obligation assessment.