Some people fish by dropping their line in a pond, while others cast a net in the ocean. To some degree, this is the difference between traditional “Outbound Marketing” and Internet-based “Inbound Marketing.” But what about the quality of the fish which are caught? Let’s look at a few statistics about the current state of things, especially for technical and niche companies. The numbers may surprise you.
Facebook — Big Numbers, Diverse Interests
Let’s start with a large subset of Internet users. Each day, Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video. That includes technical presentations from conferences, product information from niche tech companies, and corporate video libraries from multinationals. A few examples in technical fields: GE has 1.6 million “likes” on their Facebook page, which represent people who want to keep updated on their products and information. DTS has over 970,000. Agilent Technologies has over 148,000.
Companies also have followers on Twitter who read short, frequent updates with links to content, regular readers of their “blogs,” viewers of their videos on YouTube, and subscribers to their e-mail newsletters. Some users searched by brand name, but many also found companies by the information they posted, the types of products they offer, and even the names of their researchers. Sharing among users can multiply your website visits significantly.
Inbound Marketing — A Century Old Idea?
According to a history of Inbound Marketing, buyers searching the diverse and information-rich Sears and Roebuck Catalog over a century ago experienced an early version of the technique. Instead of identifying and targeting buyers, Sears became a search destination. The term itself is credited to HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan, who used it to describe the use of a well-presented website that also is a technically adept search target. In other words, it combines search engine visibility with status as a quality destination. Give the people what they want and they will beat a path to your door, as the saying goes.
Social Media Interests are More Eclectic Than You Think
The Internet has a diverse, global population. Again on Facebook, there are one billion monthly users checking out “groups” based on their specific interests, technical interests included. Everything from Chemical Engineering at MIT to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have their Facebook groups. On the “Open Internet” there are even more technically oriented users. Some examples of monthly search volume on Google for specific technical keywords (from Google’s “keyword planner” tool):
- Interferometer — 18,100 searches/mo
- Stochiometry — 1,600 searches/mo
- Mass Spectrometer — 60,500 searches/mo
- Semiconductor Manufacturing — 1,600 searches/mo
- RF connectors — 3,600 searches/mo
- BNC connector (common RF/signal connector) — 27,100 searches/mo
- Bathophenanthroline (a research chemical) — 320 searches/mo
- Cctv Baluns (an electrical signal conversion device) — 720 searches/mo
If your Internet presence includes content, videos, whitepapers and other information which mention even very specific technical topics, your net can catch an amazing number of fish.
Where “Inbound Marketing” Comes Into Play
Marketing professionals have plenty of numbers to help focus your efforts (and maximize your ROI). Most business-to-business (B2B) marketers put a priority on blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers. These are information-dense products providing high value to searchers. B2B marketers diversify, using on average 13 different approaches, from information-dense products to social media interaction. Also, from surveyed B2B marketers reflected in the ROI data mentioned above:
- 63% look to video for effective marketing
- 66% use content throughout their marketing channels, from live events to social media
- 44% have formalized their Inbound Marketing strategy with documentation
- Inbound Marketing budgets are exceeding those for traditional Outbound Marketing
Results reflect their strategies:
- An 80% drop in cost per lead after five months with an Inbound Marketing Strategy
- Blog posts keep new leads coming — 15 per month brings about 1,200 leads per month
- Companies that focus on business-related blogging have a 13 times higher chance of positive ROI from Inbound Marketing
These are numbers from the general Internet, and can vary for specialized industries. HubSpot comments on this in, of course, a blog post. They mention a few key advantages for specialized companies:
- It’s easier to be a specialized standout in Google Search results
- Site visitors from searches are looking for your specific field and products
- Each potential customer represents an especially high value sales relationship
- Customers are seeking specialized information and education from you
- Your specialized competitors are likely to be slow to change and adopt Inbound Marketing
- You probably already have content to publish
- You can help frustrated specialty searchers find a home base to return to
You probably already have some quality content. You know who your potential customers are, and what they are likely to be looking for. You have a website for them to visit. To bring these together, create a world-class specialty destination, and generate qualified marketing leads for your business, your first step is creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy.