Just What Is Inbound Marketing?
Last updated October 17, 2017 - Frank Ramey
Inbound marketing is the focus of attracting prospective customers by creating relevant & useful content that adds value to your customer’s buying journey. Your potential customers find you through channels like search engines, blogs, social media, and other authoritative websites.
With inbound marketing, you’re pushing beyond the standard “red ocean” strategies of traditional/outbound marketing (like advertising). Instead, it’s about producing content that is created to address the pains of your customers and helps them know, like, and trust your company.
It’s about turning strangers into promoters for your business.
(Strangers > Visitors)The Attention phase is about providing relevant content to the right folks in order to get the right customers. Not all traffic (ie strangers) are the same since many of them aren’t your ideal customer. Make sure your messaging is focused on the right people.
Blogging – A quality blog is a reliable channel for attracting new visitors to your site. As always, make sure your message is focused on adding value to your ideal customer. Your content must speak to them and answers their questions.
SEO – Up to 71% of customers begin their buying journey by using a search engine. Your goal here should be to rank well for the key search terms that drive converting traffic. Every niche and industry is different, so it will pay dividends for you to do your homework and understand why and when a customer looks for a solution like yours.
Social Media – Not all companies need a social media channel, but you should certainly only make that decision after understanding how your ideal customer uses and interacts with social media. From there you should work to develop a more human (versus a faceless company) relationship with them.
(Visitors > Leads)Now that you have relevant visitors on your website, you need to convert them into leads. Open up communication with them through forms, chat, meetings or whatever works for your niche. After you’re in contact with them, you must answer questions and provide relevant & interesting content for the persona you’re interacting with.
Forms – This can be the standard “Contact Us” form that is ubiquitous online or a different form that can help qualify a lead for you.
Live Chat – A friendly and helpful chat session can help your business grow. Forrester Research found in one study that “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.” Just know and understand if your customers will value being able to message with a live person while browsing.
(Leads > Customers)Congrats, your visitors have turned into leads and now it’s time to turn them into customers. Be sure you have the right and relevant tools at your disposal to make this a win-win conversion for everyone.
Lead Nurturing – The more a lead knows you and your company, the more they’re likely to trust you and the more they’ll willing to become customers of yours. Understanding where they’re at in their customer journey and what they know or what they don’t know can make all the difference to a successful pitch. Sometimes a well-timed handwritten card is all you need to tip someone over to you.
Email – A well crafted automated email campaign that’s specifically targeted towards helping your lead know, like, and trust your company helps your lead be more receptive to your pitch. If they’re still not ready, find out why and work to provide a way to answer and soothe their concerns.
(Customers > Promoters)Adding value to your customers shouldn’t stop once they hand you the money. You need to focus on continuously delivering a remarkable experience. After all, the cheapest lead you can get is a customer you already have. If your company decides to roll out a new product or service, the people that are already the most familiar with you are apt to be your first customers.
An additional benefit to wildly satisfied customers is that they can become promoters for your company. That means they effectively become a marketing arm for you. However, rarely does a mediocre product or service with mediocre support generate promoters. Think of what you can do to profitably turn customers into evangelists for you.
Successful Customers – Your product or service must follow through on all your promises and actually add value to your customers and make them more successful than before they met you. If you fail this metric, then your business won’t be long for this world.
Conversations – Keep abreast of any and all chatter about your company in the social sphere and be sure to constructively and personally interact there. That means if a customer posts a review negative review online about your business, respond publicly to them about wanting to correct the issue (and don’t just use a boilerplate response, actually create a personal response). For many buyers, they’re more apt to read negative reviews than glowing reviews, so this is a great chance for your business to shine and show how you handle issues.
While this is all a fairly quick overview of inbound marketing, at enotto, we’re happy to talk with you about your inbound marketing goals and provide you with insights to accomplish those goals. Just reach out to us via email or keep up with us by signing up for our newsletter (below).