Every year Hubspot produces a report on inbound marketing to give all marketing enthusiasts a glimpse into what has happened the previous year so that we can appropriately adjust in the current year.

There is probably no one better to provide these statistics than Hubspot, given that the term ‘Inbound Marketing’ was actually coined by Brian Halligan, the founder of Hubspot, in 2005. Today, inbound marketing is still one of the most effective ways to do marketing.

In 2017, a study on the ROI of using inbound marketing using a particular software, showed that:

  • Over 3X more visitors were attracted every month within one year of using the software
  • 3.5X more leads were attracted per month within one year. And,
  • 79% of all customers saw an increase in sales revenue within the year

In as much as these are statistics of one just software in the industry, the numbers are quite compelling fairly consistent industry wide. They show that inbound marketing can potentially increase revenue exponentially if executed strategically.

That being said, this doesn’t mean that the journey is easy nor short. Far from it. It takes a lot of consistent and arduous work and effort.

In order to succeed with inbound marketing, you have to do more than just be active on social media or just be good at SEO or blogging for that matter. It takes a more holistic approach and one that is customer-driven in order to bring together all the elements of inbound marketing to produce the results that have been cited above. By using inbound marketing strategically you will organically turn:

  1. Visitors into audience members who know more about you, your brand and your products
  2. Audience members into potential customers who have grown to like you, your brand and your products. And,
  3. Potential customers into paying customers who now trust you, your brand and your products

With all this in mind, below are some of the strategic tips that we can learn from Hubspot’s 2017 Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data – The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics (we shall call it, the 2017 IM Report)

1. The key is in tracking inbound marketing ROI

According to the 2017 IM Report, currently, the three biggest challenges are:

  1. Traffic and lead generation
  2. Substantiating the ROI of inbound marketing. And
  3. Acquiring enough budget to run inbound marketing activities

Challenges (a) and (b) are metric driven challenges. They are still challenges to this day because marketers don’t have the right tools and strategies that can help them track their inbound marketing campaigns accurately.

It has been shown that tracking marketing campaigns accurately, and specifically by tacking ROI, not only builds the confidence of marketing teams but it also allows the finance teams to have more confidence in the campaigns and therefore more readily justify budgets for inbound marketing.

When respondents in the research were asked whether they felt a marketing strategy was effective especially with respect to calculating ROI; 72% of those that track ROI said yes while 51% of those who don’t track ROI said no.

Clearly, if inbound marketing metrics are going to be tracked accurately, then useful software must be used.

2. Too much on your plate? What’s your marketing team’s proficiency in your inbound marketing strategy?

According to the 2017 IM Report, 88% of marketers don’t know how to measure the ROI of social media activities and yet 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. As for sales people, they say that prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process.

Clearly a lot of training is required to allow sales and marketing teams:

  • To be better at what they do individually,
  • To work together and understand that their activities are closely linked and interdependent. And,
  • To better understand the inbound marketing strategy holistically and the tools required to execute it.

Through better team training and job management, sales and marketing teams will be better able to handle what’s on their plate and do it in a more productive way.

3. What channels are your customers using to communicate?

According to the 2017 IM Report, for business communication there is a preference for email, face-to-face and phone conversations. 42% still like to use social media to communicate while 29% use messaging apps like WeChat and WhatsApp. Interestingly, Yelp, was mentioned as less trustworthy than a salesperson.

According to Pew Research, in 2015, 72% of all adult internet users used Facebook. While other statistics show that a third of the world uses social networks regularly.

What do these numbers tell us when I comes to inbound marketing? Well, one thing it tells us is that it takes effort to find out where customers are talking. All this is useful for building strong relationships.

To build strong customer relationships, you should consider 3 key elements:

  • What channels are your customers using to communicate?
  • What answers or messages do your customers seek? And,
  • At what stage of their sales journey are they?

The bottom line

Launching an inbound marketing campaign can be quite electrifying and exhilarating. There is usually a lot of excitement in witnessing marketing ideas being converted into a plan of action. However, the catch is that, that is just when the work begins and not where it ends. A lot of fine tuning an optimizing is required along the way if you want to boost your inbound marketing performance.

Some of the things that you could do to achieve this include; collecting and tracking useful data like ROI, training your teams to constantly work together and following what your customers are paying attention to. If you do this, then your inbound marketing performance is bound to improve significantly.