Shaun Kanary is the director of marketing for WeedPro, based near Cleveland. Kanary works directly with the company’s inbound marketing program, using software called HubSpot to draw in new customers.
How does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing really is a change in philosophy of marketing whereas before we used TV, direct mail, radio to broadcast out advertisements for our services. Instead of that, we’re taking an inbound approach, meaning to put information out on the web, on social media, through various channels, drawing people in not with advertisement, but with content and offers of downloads and information that they can consume.
You serve as a viable resource for this people, educating them and teaching them and guiding them. Then when they’re ready to buy, when they’re in that part of the sales funnel and where they’re ready to purchase, you’re the logical choice because they’ve built up a relationship with you. It’s relationship selling at its best.
What does it cost?
Really it’s as much as you put into it. Now, we use software called HubSpot, who’s kind of the godfather of inbound marketing. HubSpot allows us to automate this process. If you go to our website, we have a lot of downloads and a lot of information that people consume. We set up automated nurturing emails that go out to these people.
If someone downloads our free hiring guide, it’s followed up with an (automated) email from our director of sales a half an hour later saying “Hey I’m glad that you downloaded this guide. Let me know if you have any questions.” A couple days later it’s followed up with “Hey hope you’re enjoying the guide. Would you care for a free estimate from us? We have all the traits that are in that download.”
It is pretty expensive, a good $1,000-2,000 a month but this is the kind of thing that you can really set up with a Wordpress website and something else too if you want to manually do it.
What’s the ROI?
The ROI for us has been fantastic. Our average cost per lead has dropped 50 percent. We’re getting leads cheaper than we’ve ever gotten before. We’re getting more of them. For instance, before we started inbound marketing, we averaged around 11,000 to 12,000 unique visitors to our website a year. This year so far, it’s not even July and we’re eclipsing 60,000 visitors. We’re putting content out there and drawing people to our website to consume information and become leads.
What kind of business does it make sense for?
It makes sense for every type of business. Inbound marketing is really the way marketing is going in the future. If you’re looking at traditional marketing, it’s getting harder to get leads through direct mail, it’s getting harder to get leads through TV. We as consumers are getting smarter. We have DVRs that can blow right through commercials.
We’re a society that’s built on finding information online and reading reviews and reading about companies and developing relationships with companies before we buy. You almost have to turn your company into a content company. If you look at all the successful companies right now, they all produce all this content that draws people into the website and interacts with their brand. That’s where we’re going as a future in marketing. It really makes sense for everybody.
What kind of investment in time/personnel is required?
It really depends on how gung ho you’re going to get into it. We’re a $4 million dollar company and we only have one person and an intern. Thanks to software like HubSpot, it’s automated and you set up the different areas that you want to concentrate on, so it helps with time management and makes things a lot easier to do. There’s several different inbound content marketing automated systems that companies can look and check out. Obviously we use HubSpot and we’ve been happy with it. We just keep increasing every year.