Inbound marketing is not just nice, it’s necessary
The world of marketing has changed. The internet irrevocably altered this previously untouched landscape. What was once a competition for space is now one for attention. There were only so many available slots on billboards and print media. Now, space is not an issue. The internet is infinite and everyone is scrambling to reach consumers. The question is how do you rise above the noise? The answer: inbound marketing.
This methodology differs from traditional marketing in that it focuses on the customer rather than the vendor. In the past, you could push your product towards consumers with interruptive advertising or cold calling. This is not as effective anymore. Consumers are so sick of the ‘hard sell’. So much so that an entire industry has emerged based on blocking adverts.
Inbound marketing is the art of attracting customers naturally, instead of pushing your products. The methodology has four basic stages to turn website visitors into leads:
Stage 1: Attract
At the heart of this stage is the desire for customers to find you. You can attract people by writing SEO optimised blogs addressing issues important to them. Use relevant keywords in these blogs to increase your search engine rankings. WordPress is a good tool as it has many plugins which can help with this optimisation. The more relevant your content is to your customer, the more likely they are to find it.
This doesn’t mean you create content and then wait for people to find you. You must also promote it yourself. The best ways of doing this are through social media promotion and pay-per-click advertising.
Stage 2: Convert
Once you have attracted visitors you need to convert them into leads. Leads are someone who has expressed interest in your service, information or product. You can turn visitors into leads when you get information about them. This can be basic information such as your name or email address, or any else you may need.
There is a trade off in this stage. To get this information you need to make yet another, more useful, offer to the visitor. For example, using a call-to-action you can offer visitors a free guide. When they click on this offer it takes them to a landing page. Here, they input information into a form in exchange for the whitepaper.
Once you have these details they are now a lead and a potential customer. If you don’t know how to build landing pages there are apps like ‘Unbounce’ which help you make landing page quickly.
Stage 3: Close
Now it is time to sell. The leads have given their information over and expressed their interest in your company. Remember, the customer has much more control than they used to. Only those interested will speak to you. Typically, customers make
60% of their purchasing decision before first contact with a company.
So, you need to focus on how you interact with your leads. Here’s a few tips for
turning leads into customers:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Using CRM software, such as Microsoft Dynamics ensures you have all the necessary information to convert a lead to a sale. Remember that you may have access to Dynamics CRM Online as Internal-Use Rights benefits, use it within your business to enhance your digital marketing and demonstrate the value of the product to your customers first-hand. It’s easier to sell something if you know everything about it
- Closed loop reporting – Sales and marketing should always work together. They should report to each other about what activities bring the best leads to make more sales
- Lead Scoring – Use a numerical scoring system that ranks your leads readiness to speak to your sales team. That way you are not wasting anyone’s time
- Email marketing – when leads are not ready to become customers, you can still interact with them. Send emails with useful and relevant content to build their trust in your business. This will help them become more ready to buy
Stage 4: Delight
This stage is all about how you run your business. The lead is now a customer, they’ve paid you. This doesn’t mean you can forget about them. Word of mouth is a powerful tool; you can turn customers into promoters by treating them well. You can find out more by monitoring their social media patterns, surveys and visitor analytics.
Don’t go down with the ship: Outbound Marketing in Decline
‘What you seek is seeking you’
– Jalaluddin Rumi
As people are more in control of the information they receive; traditional outbound marketing is in decline. Traditional marketing tactics are failing:
- 86% of people skip TV adverts
- 84% of 25-34 year olds have left their favourite website due to intrusive advertising
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
The internet is full of people looking for the answers to their problems. If your business has that answer, make sure they can find you.