This is the translation of my article published on the blog of a French inbound marketing agency based in Paris (Remarqbl). As it is a quite long article, I decided to split it into 2 parts (6 objections each).
In these articles, I gather the 12 most common objections to inbound marketing, and how I would overcome them.
I present this article as a dialogue between a marketing responsible of an SME, and a inbound marketing agency’s representative (who wants to sell his services).
The company that stands for the prospect here has a turnover of a couple of millions of dollars, and its ROI is decreasing.
Between each objection and its answer, I add a « What you should understand » paragraph in which I’m explaining what is really going on in the head of the prospect.
If your are working in the inbound marketing field, some of these objections will probably sound familiar to you.
If you are not convinced (yet) by inbound marketing, I hope this article will change your mind.
Objection to inbound marketing 1: We always used classical prospection methods in our field of activity. Why should we change?
What you should understand: This is a typical resistance to change. Human beings fear any kind of change and do everything possible to avoid it. You have to realize that you are asking him to entirely shift his marketing, his communication, his prospection. Moreover, your potential customer knows how to do his outbound marketing, but you are telling him that it isn’t good anymore, and that he has to stop, change his habits, and do a work that he has not been trained for. Without mentioning the risks for the company, it is him who takes the risk to be incompetent for these new tasks. So you have to reassure him and make him understand that he doesn’t take a so huge risk.
Answer: You are telling me that you always have done the same things, that you are planning to follow that way and that you are expecting different results? If you keep harassing your potential customers, it won’t lead to something great. Your ROI will keep decreasing and your market shares will follow. I understand that you feel like taking a risk by changing your marketing methods, but ask yourself this question: Persevering with a losing strategy, is that not even more risky?
Objection to inbound marketing 2: I spoke to our marketing agency about your inbound marketing. They recommend us against your methods…
What you should understand: His marketing agency probably confirmed his doubts and suspicions, and maybe even gave him some of these objections. The problem here is that the potential client is more likely to trust his long-time partner than you. The goal is to highlight the lack of objectivity and the obvious conflict of interest.
Answer: What if your customers ask you if they should switch of provider? What would you answer them? You are a loyal customer for them, they won’t let you leave without saying anything. This is normal. But do you think that their opinion about this subject is impartial? They maybe don’t even know precisely what is the inbound marketing. The truth is that they only advise you methods that they can provide. Nothing else. It’s not in their interest to advise you differently.
Objection to inbound marketing 3 : I looked at our competitors, and none of them chose the inbound marketing. How can you explain that?
What you should understand: It is a resistance to change again. The company he is working for is probably following the well-known and long-time established path of its field of activity. Any idea that doesn’t follow this path is considered as risky and to be avoided. If others do, we do; if others don’t do, we don’t do. But this is not a winning strategy. The company is missing opportunities, and you have to explain him that they must leave their « comfort zone » to lead the market, instead of just following it.
Answer: The day Apple launched its iPhone, NONE of its competitors offered smartphones. Do you really think it was a bad move from Apple? The fact that your competitors don’t use inbound marketing (yet) is an opportunity for you. The first company which will do it will have a great advantage. Do you prefer catching these easy-to-reach market shares today, or fighting in few years for remaining ones left by your competitors?
Objection to inbound marketing 4 : Let’s suppose we start an inbound marketing strategy. How will I measure my ROI. You promise me great results, but how can I track the real efficiency?
What you should understand: He needs proves, figures; and we are going to give him what he wants. Even if he is not convinced so far, his objective is to show to his hierarchy that his work is efficient. It is essential that he can present to his company what will be the benefits of such strategy, especially if top managers don’t believe in inbound marketing. Moreover, some bonuses might be in stakes for him.
Answer: Show me how you measure the ROI of an advertising campaign, or radio or TV ads… The ROI of inbound marketing is very easy to measure thanks to few tools (Google Analytics, or marketing automation software for example). I can tell you if your visits increase, what is the conversion rate of each of your landing pages, determine from where visitors come from and who is more likely to become customer… On internet, almost everything can be tracked. Your ROI can’t be more precise than with inbound marketing.
Objection to inbound marketing 5 : Six months to before getting results ! I have to present results on a regular basis. I need to do more than just making promises, I need to bring customers!
What you should understand: He can’t afford spending 6 – 9 months without bringing any results. The goal is not to convince him, but to give him enough arguments to convince his hierarchy to give him enough time to « experiment » a long term strategy.
Answer: Indeed, it takes time. The visibility of your company online won’t come within a day. This is another reason to not start after your competitors. Are you aware of any study that foresees the decrease of internet use in our lives for the coming years? It is time, if it’s not too late, to launch your company on the web wisely and effectively. Suppose a company which didn’t wanted to use emails and would have remain using mail through post services… I let you figuring out how this company would have ended. Do you want to be that kind of company in few years because you persisted to not see the evolution of technologies and consuming trends?
Objection to inbound marketing 6: I think there is a misunderstanding: we are already doing what you are describing (blog, social media and so on). We don’t call it « inbound marketing », that’s all.
What you should understand: It is maybe the most honest objection. It is very possible he is already using some tools of the inbound marketing. But he might think that being on internet is enough to do inbound marketing. Being on Facebook and only doing self-promotion is not inbound marketing. The objective is to show and explain him that technical knowledge and experience are necessary to perform a good inbound marketing. And the most efficient way for him is to hire you, instead of trying to do it by himself, so that he can save a lot of time (and money).
Answer: You might have already done some inbound marketing, without calling it this way. PR actions could be inbound marketing for example (if the goal is to provide information, and not doing self-promotion). At the opposite, having a blog doesn’t mean you are doing inbound marketing. Too many companies are still using internet as a one way communication medium. What I’m offering you is to have a global and consistent communication and marketing strategy based on the attraction of customers instead of « hunting » them. We have the skills and the experience to maximize efficiency of such strategy, and get an high conversion rate. This is possible thanks to the expertise we acquired in many fields such as SEO, PPC, copywriting, community management, marketing automation, lead nurturing, and so much more.
The second part of the article is here: 12 objections to inbound marketing & How to overcome them (part 2)
Feel free to give me your feedback according to your own experience.