Inbound Marketing for ISVs: Which Direction is Your Marketing Headed?

Inbound marketing can help ISVs attract more traffic to their websites and convert more site visitors to leads.

Content Marketing Concept

With limited time, resources, and—let’s face it—patience, for marketing, you want to get the most significant return you can for the effort you put in. Marketing, like any other aspect of your business, is all about working smart.  If you are having trouble finding and chasing down prospects using your current marketing strategy, why not have them come to you instead? It’s possible with inbound marketing.

Are You Primarily Outbound or Inbound Marketing?

DevPro Journal with value-added distributor BlueStar surveyed ISVs to learn how they market and the results they are getting. One of the most interesting findings is that direct mail is one of the most commonly used methods (63%) and is also flagged as the one ISVs have the most success with. But when we asked which marketing methods was least successful, direct mail also had the most votes.

In a way, it’s not surprising. Direct mail is an outbound marketing technique, and the effectiveness of those marketing methods is somewhat unpredictable. Outbound marketing—like direct mail, print or TV advertising, and cold calling—broadcasts your message to a broad audience, sends it to a global list, or “interrupts your program with this brief message.” You never know what frame of mind a recipient is in when the message is received. You send it out into the world and hope for the best.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, draws people to you who are searching for the information that you strategically provide. Examples of inbound marketing include blogs and educational content optimized for search engines, video demonstrations, social media, and pay-per-click advertising. The person searching for information is already interested in the kinds of things you have to say—you just have to make sure when they search, they’ll find you.

Inbound Marketing is All about Strategy

We’re guessing inbound marketing will appeal to those of you tired of licking envelopes. It may also appeal to your budget. The time or cost to write one blog on a topic with a long shelf life can draw people to your website for years if it’s optimized for a keyword your prospects are searching. When part of a strategic campaign, a blog can tease a video, e-book or demo on your site, direct website visitors to fill out a form to view or download, and result marketing leads.  Multiply this by a blog a week, and over time, there’s a continuous stream of names coming into your sales funnel. Granted, the names will most likely be at the top of the funnel, so your strategy must include how to continue to engage them and guide them towards a purchase.

Is it Time to Change Direction?

So, should you forego outbound marketing and change to inbound methods? Maybe, but maybe not. If direct mail is working for you, don’t stop. And no rule says you have to be exclusively committed to the inbound or outbound camp. For example, you can optimize the content on your website for searches, collect leads, and then use that list in direct mail or email campaigns. Or, if you get leads at a tradeshow (outbound tactic), direct them to your website for content they’ll find valuable. Build a marketing engine—using all tools available to you—that will continuously work for you over time to get the results you need.