Old way - Lure customers with interruptive advertising.
Today's way - Earn trust, create valuable and relevant content and engage customers.
Don’t fight the Internet. Harness it.
Consumers do not have to talk to you anymore. They have the upper hand over sales and marketing. Shoppers research their pain points and identify potential solutions without any help from TV ads or salespeople.
Smart brands quit spending huge amounts of time and money on content no one related to. Instead, they created content the consumer found relevant and valuable. By aligning content with customer interests, these brands were able to naturally attract the right people at the right time.
The Four Stages of the Inbound Marketing Methodology
From Prospect to Promoter
Getting people to your site isn’t your top priority. (Crazy, right?) You want the right people. The people most likely to become customers, and, more specifically, the people most likely to become happy customers. In Inbound Marketing, you do this by creating semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services, personal and demographic information – the more info you use to build your personas, the better your content will be.
Speaking of which, here are some of the most important tools you can use to attract the right users:
Blogs have immense power to help your site get found by customers and search engines alike. They’re also a great way to deliver educational content that quickly creates trust between a person and a brand.
Don't be a needle in the haystack! Ask yourself... How often do you purchase an item from the first page of results? Optimizing your pages and content for the person looking for you and search engines crawling your site is crucial.
Build your social muscle. Share your amazing content, segment your audience into relevant groups to monitor, and engage with those most likely to find value in it. Social is your chance to connect with influencers and amplify your brand voice.
Your website is your store. Your flagship. If it’s not optimized to educate potential customers looking to learn more and sell to those ready to buy – you’re losing out. Your site should be helpful, easy to navigate, and make each visitor feel it was made just for them.
Ok, you have some visitors – now what? Convert them into leads by collecting their info. Start with a name and email address and go from there. They’re not just going to hand it over, though. You’re going to have to trade. Offer your visitors something they find exceptionally valuable – an ebook, white paper, free shipping… The info you get in return is the most valuable currency there is to your marketing efforts.
Tools that convert visitors into leads includes:
Collect a visitor’s info, but don't make it too hard. Consider each field another dollar added to the price of your content. If the price gets too high (you require too many fields) – they’re not going to pay.
When your visitor clicks a CTA for a content offer, they land on a page where they enter their info in exchange for the promised content. This is the most common place for a visitor to convert to a lead.
Get your visitor to do something – you’re going to need a CTA. From simply filling out a form to hitting that “buy now” button, your CTAs are vital for getting the conversions that keep your marketing world turning.
Once you get a name and email address, you’ve got yourself a contact. Keep collecting info to your CRM (customer relationship management) system. Centralizing your data helps you optimize every interaction.
Now that you have leads, create personalized content for their persona and stage in the buyer’s journey. This will help convert that lead into a customer.
Content that works well for converting leads into customers includes:
Keep track of the details about all the contacts, companies, and deals in your pipeline, and easily get in touch with the right prospects at the right time. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems facilitate sales by making sure you have the right information at your fingertips to better engage with prospects across every channel.
What do you do if a visitor clicks on your call-to-action, fills out a landing page, or downloads your whitepaper, but still isn’t ready to become a customer? A series of emails focused on useful, relevant content can build trust with a prospect and help them become more ready to buy.
How do you know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads? Is your sales team effectively closing those best leads into customers? Integration with your CRM system allows you to analyze just how well your marketing and sales teams are playing together.
This process involves creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and lifecycle stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded a whitepaper on a certain topic from you in the past, you might want to send that lead a series of related emails. But if they follow you on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, you might want to change the messaging to reflect those different interests.
Delight and Create Promoters
Delight is the foundation of Inbound. By delighting customers, you can not only generate more sales, but you can also create brand evangelists who in turn create new visitors, leads, and sales all on their own.
Tools used to delight customers include:
Want to know what you could do better? Ask your customers. If it seems simple, that’s because it is. And that’s a good thing. Giving your customers what they want doesn’t need to be hard.
The way you talk to your customers should also be tailor-fit for them. The content you give a customer should be very different from that of a prospect. Acknowledge their support while helping them solve other problems or get more enjoyment out of the product or service they purchased from you.
Everyone wants to be treated like a regular and doing so can really boost a customer’s delight. Be sure your customers get CTAs that fit who they are (their persona) and where they are in their buyer’s journey.
People like companies who listen, and social media is a great place to do that. Listen out for your customers’ questions and opinions and provide relevant answers, support, or content whenever you can.
Story Block Media is an inbound marketing, sales, and technology agency based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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