Want to talk direct to your customers and only deal with pre-qualified leads? Louise Abbott offers up her tips and advice for companies considering an inbound marketing campaign, with a four-step guide to who needs inbound marketing and why
Marketing has got up close and personal in recent years. It’s about converting strangers into customers and then taking it a step further and turning them into product or brand ambassadors.
Put simply, the process is Attract – Convert – Close – Delight.
It’s about playing the long game, rather than using sales gimmicks and discounts. It costs time, and money, but it is well worth it.
I’ll let the figures speak for themselves:
Companies running inbound marketing, or marketing automation if you prefer, can expect to see organic traffic to their website increase by up to 200%. What’s more, companies with an inbound marketing plan in place can achieve a 14% higher lead close rate.
Inbound marketing is about quality over quantity. It’s about pre-qualifying leads so far in advance that they are already part-way down the sales path and in the conversion process before you even speak to them. It’s about attracting the right people who have a genuine interest in your products or service. But who are the right people?
The first step in your inbound marketing journey is to identify who your customer(s) are. Spend time creating your buyer personas. Build them so that you know them inside and out – only then can you hope to truly understand their wants and needs.
Tools to attract the right leads to your site include blogs (yes, just like this one!) and other on-page content that engages and educates, SEO to ensure your page shows up in web searches, web development to present the most dynamic shop front possible, and social – to build up your persona with them and keep the conversation going.
Once you have attracted visitors to your site you need to engage them and convert them into leads. You do this by getting data from them. It can be something as simple as getting an email address – just so long as communication can become a two-way street.
People don’t hand over their personal details easily. They need enticement. And this comes in the form of gated content – eBooks, How To Guides, Tip Sheets, Podcasts and Webinars. Here, you continue to offer a value add, and establish yourself as the ‘Go To’ point for whatever service or product you are offering. You are constantly endorsing yourself with your content, and now you have a way to make that communication even more personal to your lead.
You have site visitors and now, thanks to your valuable gated content, you have leads. Now is the time to convert those leads into customers. However, your approach and timing has to be right.
Use a CRM platform to manage all your new data. Adopt a closed-loop reporting system to enable you to drill down and find out which marketing efforts are garnering the best leads. Are your eBooks flying off the virtual shelf while your podcasts go unlistened to? This is valuable data. It continues to build your buyer persona.
Use email to provide gentle reminders to those leads that have responded to a call-to-action (downloaded an eBook, for example) but still haven’t become a customer. Use focused, relevant content to continue to build trust and confidence.
Take this a step further and automate the process so that your emails are tailored to their download, for example. Again, you are tapping into their needs and desires.
The inbound marketing journey doesn’t stop with the sale. Some might argue that is only the beginning. Inbound companies continue to engage with and delight their customer base, and this in turn will produce up-sell opportunities along with satisfied clients happy to promote your organisation.
Keep the conversation going. Use customer surveys and social media to continue to engage, and make sure this is filled with smart copy that taps straight into their wants and needs again.
Remember - repeat customers spend more, are less price sensitive, and are brand loyal. Inbound marketing is about creating and sustaining these loyal brand ambassadors.
Who Should Consider Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing works for companies of all size and budget.
Marketing managers need to ask themselves three questions before considering an inbound campaign:
- Do we have a complex product or service?
- Do we have a long sales cycle?
- Do we have the potential or capacity to grow?
If the answer is Yes to all three then inbound marketing should certainly be a consideration.
Companies with a complex product or service benefit because of the opportunities to educate clients through inbound marketing. Content such as eBooks, Whitepapers, Tip Sheets and the like are invaluable resources and, while they educate your customers, they are also presenting your expertise and, essentially, selling on your behalf.
Companies with long sales cycles benefit because inbound marketing offers a ‘softly softly’ approach. It does not aim to convert and sell a client in one hit. It is about building trust and developing a relationship. This is ideal for B2B clients, who typically enter into long-term sales or service agreements.
Do you have the potential to grow? Inbound marketing will drive traffic to your site. It will convert and give you a host of new leads. And in turn, these will buy your product or service. Do you have the capacity to handle this?
Want to delight more with your marketing strategy? Get in touch