If inbound marketing is responsible for convincing Americans to buy small plastic parts made by American companies in America, as opposed to the popularly held view that everything plastic is made in China then surely getting your marketing campaigns past your CEO shouldn't be difficult, should it?
Unfortunately, for those tasked with inbound marketing, often the toughest sell is getting it past your own boss.
Having an inbound marketing campaign is a proven strategy for driving sales traffic, yet because results aren't always immediate, management are sometimes still reticent to commit to it.
It all boils down to fulfilling the all-important question - and directive of decision-makers - of 'what's my return on investment (ROI)?'. This is usually the first and last question they ask and you'd better be able to come up with objectives and evidence of how you are going to achieve them.
Boosting your ROI means adopting the most effective of marketing strategies for your campaigns, which just happen to be the main components of an inbound marketing strategy:
- email marketing
- content marketing
- social Media Marketing
- online advertising
If this isn't a compelling enough argument for management to buy-in to your inbound marketing campaign, then we can break it down for you.
1. SET REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS
The problem of buy-in partly lies in the belief that these tactics are difficult to implement, and require a lot of creative content. However, unclear timescales and setting unreasonable or expectations will not help you prove that inbound marketing is going to work. Inbound marketing campaigns require months of planning and implementation in order to return the numbers your company needs to see to justify the cost of it. So set reasonable expectations that provide the time needed to generate leads and start channeling contacts down the sales funnel.
Key Point: Approach your inbound marketing campaign methodically.
2. GENERATE LEADS & SALES
Setting up your content, giveaways and landing pages will capture leads. As more leads sign up for offers and leave their contact information keep track of them using tools like Google Analytics. Doing so will mean you can track engagement of your content, information you can arm yourself with when justifying your efforts to your boss, hopefully meaning they can see how powerful your marketing strategy is.
It is also vital to track your numbers in order to prove the conversion of leads to customers. Having statistics linking strategy, content, lead capture and sales is the very persuasive.
Key Point: Create a content plan that shows your customer journey enabling you to track and demonstrate success.
3. IT'S NOT YOUR INBOUND CAMPAIGN IT'S THE ORGANISATION'S CAMPAIGN
You will need to involve as many people in the company as possible, ideally having as many senior and decision-making people writing industry-leading content as possible (because that's what your competitors are doing). Even if you have to bullet point their views, its worth getting, having senior management see their direct input - or blog article - play a leading role in generating actual, trackable sales is pretty persuasive.
It's not just senior staff that need to be involved. Everyone has to play their part, especially your sales staff, who are the ones talking to your customers and able to ask them what content influenced their purchase.
Key Point: Look at your organisation holistically, the more buy-in you can muster throughout the ranks, the more likely senior management will take notice and want to get on board
Senior management want to know your inbound marketing campaign's expected ROI before they commit their funds and resources. Inbound content is different, it isn't just another decision, it's a methodology that needs to be committed to for a long time before seeing the rewards. An organisation can't just dip its feet in the water of inbound marketing and expect to win the Olympic Breaststroke gold. It doesn’t produce impressive short-term results; it guarantees long-term profits.
You can improve ROI by finding out (from your sales team) what content is driving the most sales, quite simply by getting your sales team to ask them. These insights will demonstrate how content indirectly influences the sales process.
Key Point: The most convincing argument is usually ROI.
5. TIME MANAGEMENT
While ROI might be the most compelling argument, you need to convince management that pledging their time is needed. If you plan your marketing campaign, create effective timescales to implement it and ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities in its success, you can encourage management buy-in; management don't want to feel like they are running the strategy but like to see their input valued.
Key Point: A comprehensive plan should include timescales and set out how much time management need to invest.
Your inbound marketing strategy, whether it is B2B lead generation or B2C lead generation is a no-brainer when you can demonstrate the way it enhances the bottom line - try this handy ROI calculator to see if it could benefit your inbound marketing.
If you can demonstrate these benefits, backed up with the right numbers, it can make your inbound marketing campaigns get signed off quicker by your boss and encourage commitment from your organisation.