More than likely you’ve heard of the term “inbound marketing” before, usually when marketing professionals are talking about strategies aimed at growing business lead generation and website traffic. So, what makes it so important and why should businesses bother with such marketing? Also, why is traditional marketing alone not enough in this day and age?
A snapshot of today's consumer would be incomplete without a smart phone or online access. Let's face it, today's shoppers are “constantly connected.” According to Retailing Today, "a whopping 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase." A lot has changed since the days of relying on getting the attention of sales agents in departments stores.
As consumers change the way they research and shop for products and services, so must the businesses looking to attract them. Instead of the costly outbound marketing methods of buying ads, radio spots, purchasing email lists, and inundating consumers with bulk mail flyers – inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that attracts customers to you. This is why a comprehensive strategic approach to marketing is so important in order to stand out and appeal to today's buyer.
So, how do you begin and how can inbound marketing services drive business growth and your online presence? There are five core services that any proper inbound marketing strategy needs to adopt. Let's take a comprehensive look at each of them and show you how best to use them to your advantage.
1. ATTRACTING MORE QUALIFIED VISITORS
The first step in any inbound marketing strategy is to drive customers to find your clients online and make them aware of their brand. Sadly, there is no single button to push "on" and have your website overflow with traffic. Rather, it’s a set of strategies and supporting tools working together. Those tactics include:
- A solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy: Meeting traffic goals is impossible without this. In a nutshell, you must strategically define your targeted keywords based on your customers buyer personas, and place them within on-page content. Your site should be populated with the right phrases and words your prospective customers will be searching for. This way, when potential customers search for those terms, you site will be displayed among the results.
- Blogging: Each page on your website is another opportunity for a potential customer to find you. Frequent blog posts show that your site is active, current, and “fresh,” which helps boost the site’s ranking on search engines. The higher you rank, the more easily you will be found.
- Social Media Sharing: Now, you need a place to actively promote your blog. That’s where social media comes in. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms gives you an outlet to share your blog posts with people who are interested in your company and products. Every time you post, the higher the chance you will be spotted by your next customer!
2. CONVERTING VISITORS TO LEADS
Generating traffic is only the first step. Those website visitors need to be converted into usable leads, which can then be converted into sales. How is this done? By creating landing pages, with premium content designed for lead generation.
Taking what you learned of your ideal buyer persona, develop premium content offers suited to their wants and needs: things like white papers, ebooks, guides, and other valuable content. When a visitor fills out the form to access this content, a lead is created. You can then use what you know about that content, and your target prospect, to build out both an personalized electronic and human follow-up process. The more aptly tailored to your persona and their current buying stage, the better.
3. TURNING LEADS INTO CUSTOMERS
It’s important that your content spans the length and range of the buyer persona’s sales funnel. You will want to have customized content ranging from those just getting familiar with your services to those ready to make a purchase. For this reason, you will need to create lots of targeted content. All leads, who have downloaded your content, must either have a human follow-up with them personally, or an automated process in place.
Automated follow-ups can be used in moderation, but in general, a live person is more likely to reach a potential customer and connect with them. Some of that follow-up should be deeper content and offers, which invites them to access more of your content. Let the quality of those leads set the priority for how deeply you follow-up.
4. GENERATING PROMOTERS FROM CUSTOMERS
When inbound marketing is done correctly, and the content you provide is helpful to your potential buyers, you create brand promoters. Think of the last experience you had where a service provider went above and beyond for you. It left you feeling positive about the company, didn't it? You see, if you please your customers, they won't stop talking about their amazing experiences. They then become advocates, evangelists, defenders, and champions of your business — your biggest brand promoters.
The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses 6-7x more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But despite that fact, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations (Source: ECHO and American Express). Advocates buy more, more often, and actively convince others to buy as well. That's when this all comes together. That's when the magic starts!
5. MEASURING, ANALYZING AND INTERPRETING
All of this sounds good on paper but it is absolutely necessary to review your process and see exactly what’s working and even as important, what’s not. Analyze which content is drawing the most leads and which is failing at gaining traction. One of the most rewarding advantages of content marketing is that you can track your progress, analyze the avenues of traffic, and customize your strategy easily and accordingly.
With the proper Marketing Automation System in place, you will gain an abundance of data on every piece of content you offer and every step your potential lead takes along their buyer's journey. For this reason, we recommend a willingness to adapt your content to your audiences wants and needs. Eliminate unsuccessful efforts, tweak and fine-tune those that can be improved, and repeat the successful ones. By analyzing your efforts, you will find the right path that will lead you down your personalized path to inbound marketing success!
The return on investment businesses are reaping from inbound marketing is huge. The Five Core Inbound Marketing Services are a powerful foundation for any company or business who wants to grow in the digital age. Follow these steps and you are well on your way to growing your online presence, generating online leads and inbound marketing success!