For the past seven years, HubSpot has conducted its annual State of Inbound report, collecting data on inbound marketers from all around the world. The report has focused on common challenges, return on investment (ROI), new trends and technologies, and top priorities for the upcoming year.
However, there’s something different about this year’s report: inbound is no longer a concept understood by a select group of marketers – it has been widely adopted. Inbound marketing is used in businesses large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, in hundreds of countries around the world. This has allowed HubSpot’s data collection to really hone in on what is working well and why, helping businesses understand how to best utilize inbound in their own strategy.
HubSpot’s research shows that businesses are three times more likely to see a return on their marketing investment if they focus on inbound rather than outbound. So how do you put inbound to work in your own company to see these types of results? In this report, HubSpot refers to it as copying “off the smart kids.” They analyzed what companies with the highest inbound marketing ROI are doing right so that you can compare your current marketing plan and make changes as you see fit.
Here are some of the top ways to become an inbound marketing success story:
Track ROI to increase your budget
Inbound marketing has proven to be more effective than outbound, regardless of company size or budget. So how do you use this to your advantage? Tracking ROI is by far the most effective way to not only see what strategies were most effective over the course of the year, but achieve greater buy-in from executive management. This means more money for future inbound initiatives, which will lead to higher ROI and hopefully even greater investment in inbound down the line.
What’s most important to remember is that inbound marketing is a long-term process, and you may not see the return you were hoping for in your first couple of years. However, it’s important not to back down in terms of your budget. You may even want to consider increasing it to jumpstart your inbound strategy. But if you can track your ROI each year and show upward progress, you’ll likely get the budget you need to achieve even greater success.
Pay attention to marketing metrics
It’s important to note, however, that ROI is not the only thing you should be paying close attention to. Marketers should keep an eye on a wide variety of metrics, from web traffic to search engine rankings to social media followers, to get a sense of where inbound is working and where it could be improved. HubSpot’s research determined that over 50% of successful inbound marketers in North America check their marketing metrics three or more times per week, and all other locations were around 30-40%.
Save time and money through automation
In recent years, automation software and tools have taken off in the marketing space. Some companies use it to streamline a couple of tasks, like social media and email scheduling, while others accomplish every aspect of a campaign this way. Over 50% of marketers who used some sort of automation software saw higher ROI year-over-year, and 60% were awarded a higher budget for future campaigns. So while certain automation-based programs can be costly, the benefits tend to significantly outweigh the costs.
These are just a few of the many takeaways from HubSpot’s research, and no matter what your position within your organization, you are likely to find some statistics that speak to you – maybe even shock you. To learn more about the successes and challenges of thousands of inbound marketers, read the full State of Inbound report by clicking the link below!