by Frances Leary
So, what this heck is this Inbound Marketing thing really?
Basically, it's the process of attracting customers to you...instead of chasing after them for the sale (traditional outbound marketing).
At the core of inbound marketing is the philosophy that your purpose is to benefit your audience, to provide them with the help they need in order to solve the problems they are experiences (problems that ultimately can be completely solved by your products or service). While you don't have to give it all away for free, inbound is aimed at serving your audience and helping them in some way, right now in thos moment...no strings attached.
Of course, it's not all about just bring your audience value with no benefit to you. That's just the first part. Ultimately, you want to help your audience through a process that has them wanting more and more of what you offer, ultimately realizing that what they really want and need are the products and services you offer.
Thus, through this process of attraction, you bring your audience to you, give them little bits of what they need to turn them into leads, build relationships with them by giving them even more, and ultimately converting those leads into customers.
There are 4 key processes that are part of inbound methodology: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.
The first step in inbound marketing is to attract your target to you by offering them content that solves their problem right now. This involves these steps:
- Create content that is helpful to your audience and solves a variety of problems they may be experience.
- Publish longer more informative information as blogs, and make sure they are optimized with SEO strategies so that they are more likely to appear in search results when your ideal audiences search for that keyword phrase.
- Share links back to your blog via your social channels.
- Also use your social channels for shorter content marketing, such as tips, in order to increase audience engagement and garner more interest in the lengthier content housed on your blogs.
- Also, Ensure that your website is well optimized so that when your ideal audience is search for long-tail keyword phrases that relate to your products or services, your website will appear.
Voila....now you have visitors coming to your website because you are offering them content of value.
Visitors to your website arent't actually valuable to you unless you can convert those visitors to leads. In order to do the following:
- Create a specific content offer that speaks to a pain that your ideal client may be experience.
- Build a targeted landing page on your website that tells visitors about that content offer and how it can help them.
- At the end of your blogs, place calls to action (like with a button similar to the one you see below) that will prompt your visitors to click that button to receive the additional help it is offer.
- Those call-to-action buttons should then lead people to the landing page with your detailed content offer.
- Put a form on that landing page so that visitors must fill out the form in order to get the content offer.
Once a visitor has filled out the form to access the content offer, that visitor is now a lead.
In order to convert that lead into a customer, you'll need to nurture that propsect and build relationships with them. You can do that by using techniques such as:
- Use email to stay connected with your leads and nurture them through the buying process, continuously bringing them more value.
- Employ a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to faciliate your communications with each lead.
- Create additional content offers that address problems in a deeper way so that your leads begin to understand your real value.
- Track your leads through this process using a marketing automation process so you know what leads are accessing what additional offers.
- Create different emails and different offers depending on what actions your leads take.
Ultimately this process will lead to customer conversions.
The process does not end there. You want to keep bringing your customers valuable content and strengthening your relationship with them. There is no better advocate for your organization than a happy customer.
What can you do to delight your cutomers?
- Ask them. Use surveys or other forms of social media inquiry to find out what your customers really need from you. Then give it to them.
- Keep creating more content that is of value to them.
- Proactively engage your audience on social media with your clients and provide superior customer service.
- Stay in touch with them. Use email and social media to remain top of mind and make sure they know that you're there to help them.
When you delight your customers, they become your biggest promoters. It's like having your own marketing army at your fingertips.
When you consider that at the core of why you're doing what you do is to help your audience and solve their problems, inbound marketing is simply the perfect fit. Stop with the door-to-door salesman approach, and give the attraction approach a try.