Why Inbound Marketing Conquers All

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-salesman-vintage-image29689455Are you a fan of the door-to-door salesman? What do you do if some stranger comes knocking while you’re in the middle of a meal or your favorite TV show …Ignore them? Most people do. What about annoying telemarketers that intrude on your dinner conversation? That’s what traditional outbound marketing is all about. Outbound marketing, also aptly named interruption marketing, attempts to approach people with no demonstrated interest in a product or service and reel them in. This type of marketing abruptly bursts into people’s lives uninvited and includes radio commercials, TV commercials, direct mail, telemarketing, door-to-door, spam or e-mail blasts, and even networking. It is also often ignored, just like the salesman.


Times Have Changed

Best-selling New York Times business author Daniel Pink who recently wrote To Sell is Human points out that this predatory approach to selling is quickly becoming outdated. He believes that sales has changed more in the past 10 years than it did in the last century, and most of this is due to the internet. Many adept marketers and business professionals have taken note of the same, and realize that the predatory approach is slowly being phased out of our culture. Most of us these days have a radar for aggressive sales tactics and don’t appreciate being hunted down like dogs. So, what is taking the place of these outdated, bothersome sales tactics? That would be inbound marketing, or inbound demand generation.

Rather than wasting time with trying to convince uninterested parties to take a second glance at your product or service, inbound marketing draws people who are already somewhat interested in your business, and they have the choice as to whether they want to listen to what you have to say or not. Creating inbound demand generation involves blogging, social media, SEO, and targeted emails. Does this really work? Companies that practice inbound marketing and marketing research institutes emphatically say that yes, it works even better than the old approach, and it’s less expensive to top it off.

Average cost per lead and cost per customer are lower with inbound marketing than with outbound –about 61% less according to the Search Engine Journal. Inbound marketing also generates more qualified leads through blogging and SEO:

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound 1

What Do Professional Marketers Think?

The majority of CEOs and marketing executives are devoting more of their marketing budgets each year to inbound marketing.  2013 budgets for inbound were around 50% higher than that of the previous year.  Almost every marketer realizes that SEO is a valuable aspect of inbound, with about 54% of clicks going to the first search result of search queries.  Apart from SEO, 60% of marketers dedicate at least 6 hours per week to social media. Interaction on social media platforms produces 2X more leads on average than trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and even PPC. Companies report that social takes more time than blogging and email marketing, but most of them are putting aside the resources to do it for obvious reasons. Marketers also enjoy the fact that inbound marketing efforts are far easier to measure than traditional outbound efforts.

Why SEO is important

Customers Prefer Inbound Marketing over Traditional Advertising

On the side of the customer, 82% say that they enjoy reading relevant content from a brand. Over 70% would rather learn about a company or product by reading an article rather than seeing an ad. Wouldn’t you? Through inbound marketing, potential clients and current clients are able to learn about a company on their own time instead of having it shoved in their face, and they can explore products that revolve around their interests.

Switching over to a mostly inbound marketing system can be difficult and time consuming, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If you don’t rank on the first page of search results, or you’re not blogging or bothering with other inbound tactics, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic, leads, and revenue. Most companies can’t do it all on their own and get outside help from professionals. Drop us a line or give us a call to learn more about getting leads to come to you, not the other way around.

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*Data from the chart above compiled from Hubspot, The Houston Chronicle, & Smart Insights.

*Data throughout compiled by Hubspot unless otherwise indicated.

Force Multipliers, Vietnam & Our New Badass Software

This week I had breakfast with a good friend of mine who is recovering from knee replacement surgery. We hadn’t seen much of each other in recent weeks, so it was great to see him. There are many reasons I enjoy spending time with Bill. One of those reasons is that he is a living encyclopedia whose knowledge covers a wide range of topics. In fact, the only time I ever won a trivia contest was when I was partnered with Bill at a local sports bar on trivia night.

One of the interesting things about Bill is that after he graduated from the University of Texas in Austin he went straight to Vietnam. He served there in the U.S. Army from 1968-1972. His official title today is LT. COL. Bill Puckett, U.S. Army (Ret.) The other interesting thing about Bill is that he also worked for the CIA, and that comes with some incredibly interesting stories.


LT. COL. Bill Puckett, U.S. Army (Ret.) at right


I’m not sure how it came up in conversation but somehow we started talking about force multipliers. I wasn’t surprised when Bill started telling me a story about an important development during the Vietnam War when Laser Guided Bombs were used to destroy a target for the first time. The story began with the attempts to destroy a bridge in Vietnam named the Thanh Hóa Bridge. It was a critical link between different regions in the North Vietnam and a strategic passage for supplies and reinforcements to the Viet Cong fighting in South Vietnam. Both road and rail traffic passed over this bridge.

From 1965 to 1972 many attempts were made to destroy this bridge. In all, 873 sorties were flown, the largest being the first strike which was comprised of 79 aircraft. After dropping 1200 bombs on the bridge, many of which drifted off course, the only damage was some charring and traffic only stopped for a few hours. Sending that many planes up to hit the bridge gave the enemy an incredible number of targets including bomber aircraft, radar jammers, search and rescue and tankers to name a few. Realizing the importance of the bridge, Bill said the Viet Cong had an impressive air defense network with 5 regiments being assigned to fight off U.S. air attacks.

In 1972, the bridge was finally destroyed by 12 USAF F-4 Phantoms, 8 of them equipped with laser guided bombs (LGBs), making it the first time in U.S. Military history that LGBs were used. This was a breakthrough moment as now fewer troops would be put in harm’s way and fewer resources would be needed to accomplish the same mission, making LGBs a force multiplier for the U.S. Military.

After breakfast as I was driving home, I thought about the term “force multiplier” and how it relates to my digital marketing business. In no way was I comparing it to the gravity of the story Bill had just told, but how the term itself relates to what we do.

One of the things we do to continue to provide value to our clients is to try and squeeze as much out of an hour of work as we possibly can. Companies like Leverage Marketing are paid for our time and knowledge, and if I can add efficiencies to any one of our processes or services, we’re helping our customers get more out of the money they spend with us. A good way of looking at this is through the term “force multiplier” we have a number of platforms and technologies we use that fit in this category.

Our latest force multiplier is a new PPC management tool on the market right now. It works backwards from business goals to achieve the ultimate efficiency and profitability in PPC for our clients. The platform is called Marin and it is a bad ass system.


Marin-software-logoAt its core, Marin is not a PPC management tool. It’s a revenue acquisition management platform. It’s built to acquire insights that drive bottom line revenue. That’s something we like!  At Leverage, we take pride in transparency and delivering the most profitable results to our clients. This tool helps us do just that by separating the wheat from the chaff of digital advertising, and then taking that wheat and turning it into bread. Marin integrates data from nearly any data source you can think of: CRM systems, accounting software, AdWords, Analytics, Site Catalyst, you name it. The data needs to be free in order to be useful.

The system takes this data and uses algorithms that are informed by business goals to forecast profit potential, find pitfalls and help advertisers turn on a dime. Scaling is more efficient when technology takes into account the realities of your business like seasonality, margins and competition. Software like this allows analysts to spend more time on high value tasks like strategy, market share, messaging, and building lifetime value. We can move faster and more efficiently.

Combine these features with insightful executive-level reporting and granular reporting for analysts, and you have a force multiplier that is a unique competitive advantage in the right hands. A well-trained analyst will see and proactively prepare for potential pitfalls while simultaneously growing revenue.

Increasing speed, efficiency, profitability, and insight at the same time is the definition of a force multiplier. Just like the U.S. Military was able to take out Thanh Hóa Bridge.  By combining our highly trained and experienced analysts with the world’s best revenue acquisition platform, Leverage is able to take down the competition of its clients.  If you’re a competitor of one of our customers reading this, hopefully you’re not going to show up with a bow and arrow and expect to win.

The Best Place to Hide a Dead Body

Goodfellas has gone down as one of the greatest mobster movies that doesn’t contain the word “Godfather” in the title. Watching it the other day, I drew some parallels to a unique incident that happens in our industry. Let me take you through it. In Goodfellas, Joe Pesci, playing the role of Tommy DeVito, shot someone (Spider for those who remember it) and then had this exchange with Jimmy Conway played by Robert Deniro. (Graphic language blocked out for the young ones.)

Jimmy Conway: You stupid b*****d, I can’t f****n’ believe you. Now, you’re gonna dig the f****n’ thing now. You’re gonna dig the hole. You’re gonna do it. I got no f****n’ lime. You’re gonna do it.

Tommy DeVito: Who the f**k cares? I’ll dig the f****n’ hole. I don’t give a f**k. What is it, the first hole I dug? Not the first time I dug a hole. I’ll f****n’ dig a hole. Where are the shovels?

What a great scene in a mobster movie! BUT what does that have to do with digital marketing? I’ll tell you what it has to do with digital marketing. Jimmy and Tommy spent a lot of time digging a hole to make a body disappear to never be seen again. But the best hiding place for a dead body is really on the 2nd page of Google or beyond. Studies have shown that about 91.5% of search engine click throughs occur on the first page of search results. The rest of results pages only make up a slender 8.5% of clicks.


Even worse, recently, we have been approached by more and more companies that have been serviced by non-forward thinking SEO firms. These SEO firms pursue outdated and frankly lazy SEO tactics that put their clients’ sites in jeopardy. These tactics might have worked some time in the past but now, they do way more harm than good. Companies using these SEO providers have seen sharp declines in their organic traffic due to Google penalizing their site for spammy SEO tactics. In these cases, your site’s rankings go the way of Spider – buried on the second page of search results or far, far beyond that. We’ve even seen companies ranking on the 10th page of search results for their own brand names!


More and more companies are facing sharp declines like this because their SEO agency took the easy way out. The road back to Google’s good graces is not a fun one and can leave your business struggling while the traffic is not coming in. Overall, when confronted with a penalty there are really only 3 approaches.

  1. Fix it – Go through the arduous process of fixing it and pleading with Google trying to convince them that you’ve sworn off anything spammy.
  2. Hybrid – Look for a place to move your site or fold it into an existing partner site. This will allow you to distance your site from the past practices but still build off the SEO value of an already existing site. An example of this approach is folding a penalized satellite site into a subdirectory of your main company site.
  3. Start over – The cleanest approach to get back your rankings over time is closing shop at your penalized domain and reopening on a different server with a different domain name. This is also perhaps the clearest path to success since the ball is in your court and not left to the whim of Google and the responsiveness of their web spam team.

Each of these approaches has pros and cons, but you have to determine the best approach for your business based on what the data is telling you to do. We are strong believers of the mindset that the data has all the answers and that the answers are just waiting to be uncovered. So the next time Goodfellas comes on, enjoy the movie, but you also might want to think about how close your site is to being buried in a deep, deep hole never to be seen again.


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