There is a big shift underway in how we market professional services. I’ve blogged about it as the move from traditional to digital marketing. One of the key features of this evolution is the emergence of the concept of inbound marketing.

Put simply, inbound marketing is a strategy in which potential clients find you. It’s contrasted with outbound marketing techniques such as advertising, trade shows, direct marketing and networking in which you actively seek out new clients. At the core of inbound marketing is the notion of developing content that is so compelling clients will find you as they search for solutions to their business problems.

While sharing expertise has long been a staple of professional services marketing, two technological trends have moved it to center stage. The first of these is the rise of search engines. Got a problem? Gallop to Google. The second is the rise of social media.

Taken together, content, search and social have made inbound marketing a viable strategy for professional services firms. Need some proof? See if these results don’t open your eyes.

A recent report from Hubspot showed the following:

  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less to generate a lead. Average lead cost was $143 vs. $373 for traditional outbound marketing.
  • Firms with more content on their website get more leads. Firms with fewer than 60 pages get about 5 leads per month. Firms that have over 300 pages of content get 74 leads on average. That’s almost 15 times greater.
  • Firms that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not.
  • And it’s not just leads — 61% of firms reported signing clients through LinkedIn and 41% through Facebook.

Our own experience parallels these results. Last year our biggest source of new business was inbound marketing generated leads. For the first time it outstripped referrals and networking. Needless to say, that has gotten our attention and caused us to do what any smart marketer would do: focus more resources on inbound marketing.

Is inbound marketing the right strategy for your firm? This related post on traditional vs. digital marketing may help you strike the right balance. Another important consideration is aligning it with your overall business strategy and brand. Download a free copy of Spiraling Up from our library to see how they work together.