At this point, inbound marketing isn’t a buzzword or a flashy fad, but a way of life for companies looking to attract new business and retain existing customers online.
Inbound marketing – a strategy that is driven by the creation of unique and high quality brand-specific content – is one of the single most effective forms of marketing ever devised, and it has done wonders for huge national brands and small local businesses alike.
You may have heard some remarkable success stories and stats yourself by now - that inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, yet generates more than three times as many leads; that brands using content marketing generate six times more conversions than brands without; that content marketing users experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-users.
So by now, you’ve probably given some thought to having at least some sort of content-driven inbound marketing strategy in place for your brand. Perhaps you want to create unique content, like SEO-focused blog posts, infographics, or eBooks; maybe you want to increase your presence on social media; maybe you want to reach potential customers in their email inboxes; or, better still, maybe you want to adopt a comprehensive approach, where all of these elements work together in tandem.
Now comes the big question: How are you going to do it?
For most brands looking to get started with inbound, there is a crucial crossroads that inevitably comes up: To go it alone and try to enact a content strategy by yourself, or to bring in an outside firm to lead your inbound marketing, or at least assist in some capacity?
Now, we’re obviously biased, since our comprehensive approach to digital marketing is what sets us apart here at Geek; helping brands create, implement, and maintain content strategies is what we do. But still, we would almost always recommend opting for the help of a firm (even if it’s not ours), rather than going it alone.
First, it’s important to realize that the competitors in your field who are using inbound are likely already working with professional marketers in some capacity: 64% of B2B marketers outsource writing, according to TopRankBlog, while 76% of brands attempting marketing believe they could increase ROI or brand lift by two to five times with an expert team producing high-quality content. Even among businesses that try to keep all of their marketing in-house, 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy.
With so many other brands already outsourcing or seeking guidance with their content strategies, do you have the time and resources it takes to give your content its due? Are you able to add the extra burden of maintaining a social media schedule and writing long-form blog posts to your workload?
It’s also important to remember that those brands going to professional content marketers are going to have access to skillsets and technologies that most business owners are going to lack without extensive training.
As an example, consider infographics: They’re shared 3x more than other types of posts on social media, but they require a lot of work. Creating just one infographic will require - to different degrees - research, copywriting, graphic design, illustration, and, likely, a little bit of coding skill. Do you really want to take on all of those tasks on your own? Or hire contractors to do separate pieces? Or does it make more sense in the long run to go to a firm or agency, who can keep your costs down by already having all of the necessary team members and tools in place?
And that’s just one type of content. In practice, most B2B marketers use at least 13 content marketing tactics, according to Content Marketing Institute. Audiences expect a lot from their online content today, and video content, personalization, and high quality photographs aren’t the exceptions anymore, but the norm.
And, with all of that being said, all we’ve talked about before is simply what it takes to create unique content. Sharing that content will require a social media strategy and an email marketing strategy, at the very least. What about measuring and tracking your results? Do you understand how to use Google Analytics? What about the various analytics tools built into social media platforms? Do you have time to do the monitoring and testing that it takes to really maintain a successful strategy? Will you be able to keep on top of trends as they occur?
We’re not saying all of these things to sound intimidating – if you answered yes, or if you’re excited about the prospect of educating yourself, by all means, we’re not going to try and stop you!
But it’s important to realize that getting a lot out of your content marketing strategy will mean putting a lot in; having a firm by your side to help can only make the process easier, cheaper, and more successful in the long run. And most content creators – Geek included – will likely be more than willing to help with any or all of your needs: Whether you want to outsource your marketing completely or work out a more collaborative strategy, a little bit of guidance can go a long way.
Want to talk shop? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line today to see what our team can do for yours!