'Inbound' Inward Investment Marketing: What It Is and Why It Works

Monday 9 June 2014
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In this post, we look at what 'Inbound Marketing' is, why it works for Inward Investment Lead Generation, and why it's more effective than traditional investment lead generation techniques.

1. What is 'Inbound Marketing?'

Inbound Marketing is all about attracting 'customers' to you when they need you, not bombarding them with 'Buy Now!' type messages when they don't. The approach involves strategically creating, publishing and distributing high-quality online content (e.g. prose, data, infographics or video) that solves their problems, establishes you as a trusted source of information, and makes the customer want to engage with you, as a basis for doing business with you.

2. Why Does Inbound Marketing Work?

Inbound Marketing works because it responds to how businesses actually research and undertake 'buying' (including location and site selection) in the digital age. According to recent data, online research is now central to 87% [1] of all business buying, and 97% [2] of site and location selection decisions. At this research stage, businesses are only interested in trustworthy, factual, source-verified information and data that they can reliably use in their buying evaluations. 'Sellers' that provide it are most likely to be found online, trusted and contacted, as a basis for winning business. (On the other hand, 'sellers' that only offer unreliable 'sales spiel' are very likely to be ignored.)

3. Why Does Inbound Marketing Work for Inward Investment Lead Generation?

Like many people working in the field of Inward Investment Promotion, I learned through hard experience which lead generation techniques work, and which ones don't. At the 'sales' end of the spectrum, strategic networking, based on sound market intelligence, works. At the 'marketing' end of the spectrum, traditional lead generation techniques simply don't.

Firstly, there are traditional 'outbound' marketing approaches such as advertising and brochure mailshots. The problem with advertising is that business decision makers, responsible to shareholders, are highly unlikely to base location and site selection decisions on 'spun' advertising boasts. Regarding brochure mailshots, the basic problem is 'who do we send the brochure to?' Companies with a 'profile fit' (e.g. they match your regional priority sector) aren't necessarily expanding, and don't necessarily have a strategic interest in you location. Then there's the question of 'who are the right people within those companies?' The result is investment agency store rooms bursting with hundreds of expensively printed brochures, because they don't know who to send them to.

Secondly, there are 'lists of investment leads' provided by 'lead generation consultants'. Typically, in my experience, these turn out not to be investment leads at all, for the reason described above - a 'profile fit' doesn't constitute a real 'inward investment lead'. Once again, we find ourselves approaching the wrong people, in the wrong companies at the wrong time, with predictably poor results.

Inbound Inward Investment Marketing is more effective than traditional approaches to inward investment lead generation because it helps you to find the right people in the right company at the right time. It does this by discarding the traditional 'needle in a haystack' 'outbound' marketing approaches described above, and enabling investing businesses to find you instead. True, it requires patience (results never come overnight with inward investment promotion), carefully targeted content, a highly optimised website and effective integration with your 'off line' activities. But if you understand and address the location and site selction problems facing investors, and communicate your 'solutions' in an effective way, it's highly likely that they will find you.

4. What Does Inbound Inward Investment Marketing Involve?

An effective Inbound Inward Investment Marketing strategy involves:

a. Attracting More Inward Investment Leads to You
  • By 'solving their location and site selection problems', and projecting your unique Location Value Proposition
  • Utilising techniques including innovative content formats, content optimisation, blogging, e-marketing and social media

b. Sustained 'Nurturing' of Inward Investment Leads
  • By addressing their 'location and site selection problems' on an ongoing basis, through a sustained content campaign (to build your online profile, address a range of 'location choice drivers' and win the trust of prospective inward investors)

c. Converting Leads to Real Inward Investment Prospects
  • By engaging their interest (with excellent content) and making them want to make contact with you
  • Utilising website-based lead conversion and identification techniques, including calls-to-action, landing pages, forms and databases
  • Utilising an Inbound Marketing Website that functions as a highly optimised Investment Lead Generation Machine, not just an 'online brochure'

Generate More Investment Leads with Inbound Inward Investment Marketing

According to marketing industry data [3] Inbound Marketing costs 61% less per lead than traditional 'outbound' marketing techniques. In other words, it's a better use of your marketing budget.
Clarity partners with locations worldwide to apply proven Inbound Marketing techniques to the specific challenges of inward investment lead generation.

Contact us to find out how we could work with you.

Nick Smillie
MD, Clarity Business Strategies Ltd.

Information sources:
[1] CMO Council, 2013
[2] GIS Planning, 2013
[3] Hubspot, 2012

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