Gleanster recently published an infographic that tells a compelling story about the value of inbound marketing, particularly in the context of small businesses. It incorporates both Gleanster research and third-party stats from a number of different sources.
For those not paying attention to the evolution of marketing best practices, a brief explanation of the differences between outbound marketing and inbound marketing may be useful. With outbound marketing, companies rely on push channels like TV, radio and print, as well as both offline and online display ads, to reach masses of people who may or may not be in the market to buy a product or service in their industry. With inbound marketing, companies get found by people already learning about and shopping in their industry. People are naturally drawn to their websites through search engines, the blogosphere and social media.
Not surprisingly, top-performing small businesses are shifting an increasingly large percentage of their marketing dollars from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. If you’re a small business, here are just a few of the stats highlighted in this infographic that may be worth pondering:
- 25% of small businesses don’t show up in Google search results due to their lack of a website presence (Source: Search Engine Land)
- Only 35 percent of small business websites focus on lead generation. (Source: E-Marketer, Barlow Researchers, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Jupiter Research)
- 37 percent of small businesses fail to measure their website marketing performance (Source: Google Analytics)
- 30 percent of small businesses say that intuition is their main gauge of social marketing effectiveness (Source: ContentLEAD)
The key takeaways are obvious even to the most casual observer. Like large companies, small businesses need to establish a strong website presence. They need to develop and promote relevant (and compelling) brand-related content on an ongoing basis. They need to invest in search engine optimization and lead generation. And they need to build links by creating shareable content.
Unfortunately, most small businesses have neither the resources nor the expertise to execute on this to-do list internally. They can, however, partner with outside marketing agencies and solution providers – Pronto Marketing being just one example – that can bring a lot to the table. To that point, Gleanster research reveals that 86% of top-performing small businesses use one or more partners to manage their social media marketing needs while 81% of top-performing small businesses use one or more partners to manage their social media marketing needs.
Today inbound marketing is fast becoming the minimum ante that companies large and small need to put on the table just to stay in the game. That investing in inbound marketing has become a prerequisite to attracting, retaining and increasing the value of customers conjures up the work of Frederick Hertzberg, an organizational psychologist who made his mark more than half a century ago. With respect to job satisfaction, Hertzberg argued that there exists one set of factors, called hygiene factors, whose presence is no big deal but whose absence causes significant discomfort. That’s in contrast to motivation factors, whose absence tends to go unnoticed but whose presence pushes employees to do their best.
A compelling website, an active blog, high rankings in search returns and a strong presence in social media once qualified as motivation factors. They have since become hygiene factors. Excelling in these different facets of inbound marketing won’t necessarily catapult a company to the next level. But doing so may allow it to stay in business.