Posted October 20, 2011 10:09 am by with 6 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Inbound marketing encompasses a lot of Internet territory. It includes blogs, e-mail marketing, social media, content marketing, SEO and more. Best put, there are less areas of Internet marketing that do not fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing than do.

One nuance in inbound marketing is something that happens in every area of business: not everything works well for everyone. What works for a traditional B2C company may not work for a B2B company. What works for a company looking for new prospects may not work for solopreneurs or smaller shops. Sounds simple but many overlook the fact that there are inbound marketing options that simply work better in certain verticals than others.

Apparently in the agency world social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) don’t work nearly as well as the time tested (and too often dismissed) blog. This data from research done by RSW/US and RSW/AgencySearch and reported by eMarketer shows just how valuable blogs are to agencies looking to find new leads in the online space.

So why are blogs more effective? This next chart may give an indication. It appears as if the less “two way” the communication is between marketers and agencies the more comfortable the marketer is. One can only guess that marketers don’t want to open the door directly for any type of sales pitch which agencies are known for.

Based on these findings it looks like marketers have made it clear to agencies and have essentially given them their prospecting marching orders. They are simply saying: Let us make the decision for you based on what you supply to us (in terms of content and information) rather than throw at us (in terms of sales pitches etc). So marketers are, in essence, no different than consumers who respond well to inbound marketing practices that allow the prospect to judge whether a business is one they want to work with rather than being “sold” anything.

If you work for an agency and are reading this post, do you feel that your inbound marketing efforts are working? Do you agree with these findings that blogs are one of the most effective ways to attract prospects for your agency? Are you having the same level of success with social media as was reported in this research? More? Less?

Check in with us in the comment section.

  • I think if you’re blogging just to get leads you’re doing it for the wrong reason, and you’ll be sorely disappointed. I have been blogging for over 5 years, and while I have gotten clients because of it, the blog isn’t the only thing that convinced those site owners to hire me. A blog is a way to connect with and educate your target audience, to become a resource for them now so that they remember your name 2 years down the road.

  • Blogs are just one part of an overall inbound marketing strategy… you had to take a balanced approach and utilize all aspects… i agree with you… each company/industry is slightly different, so the approach to gain exposure is difference… agree with nick…. blogs are a great way to gain credibility and show you are an expert in your field. For me, blogging about my industry has not been just to get leads, but also has been a great way to stay current on techniques/ideas.

  • I agree with the comments already posted above: it depends on what your agency does, what your vertical market is (if you have one), and thus what the actual connection between your agency and its prospects is based on.

    If your prospects read your blog looking for fresh and new thinking (to my mind the purpose of blogging for B2B, period), and they already have an understanding of what Agencies do and why they would hire one, you’re in great shape. They come, they read, and you eventually conquer.

    But if the prospect has no idea about what an Agency can do for her, doesn’t understand much about marketing (has been told to “get some”), and visits to read a post on your blog and then leaves – you’re not going to win her business easily from just using your blog.

    I believe Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation, or what we call Inbound Marketing Automation or IMA, relies on content more than any other individual component. And while blog posts are an important aspect of your content, they should and must not be the only part. A great white paper – so great that the person is willing to register to read it – is generally a more valuable tool for generating leads than a single post (with no registration required). But no matter how good the content is, if people don’t know about it they won’t visit. Hence the need for using Twitter to publicize your content, posts to promote it, LinkedIn and Facebook and Wiki to broadcast it, and your website and its IMA system to manage the whole process from and then collect, qualify and nurture the resulting leads.

    Anyone interested in learning how you can put all this together is welcome to visit our website (click on my name), and check out our Resources section for more information.

  • “if you’re blogging just to get leads you’re doing it for the wrong reason, and you’ll be sorely disappointed” caught my eye. Every minute of the day I spend online is effort made toward getting more leads and sales. I offer great content too, and I have fun online doing what I do, and am able to contribute to the betterment of peoples’ lives…all that stuff. But when it comes right down to it, I blog for money and not at all ashamed to admit it.

  • Nikhil Khandekar

    Hi Frank,

    I was attracted to this post on account of the title. I expected a little more on WHY blogs are one of the best inbound marketing tools. The point that marketers do not want to progress directly to the sales pitch (and the reasons why) is already amply clear.

    Something on the perception of blog posts among online readers would also have been in place, perhaps. Or I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

  • Łukasz Terkowski

    It is obvious that inbound marketing is the most comfortable and efficient way of promoting agencies. Therefore online marketing needs a strong support. ColibriTool – a great interactive app to generate backlinks fulfills that function ideally. It is available here: