Inbound marketing has revolutionized the way that we interact with businesses today - well it can if you are using it. There are many companies, however, that still rely on traditional methods attempting to interrupt your day with a message that generally is out of place in context and timing. If you are like most people, you probably don’t like getting spam emails, and loads of mailed offerings for pre-approved services or goods. If you’re like me, you probably spend more time stacking them on your desk and throwing them away then actually putting them to use.
The great news is that there is a far more effective way to reach your target audience - doing so on a permission based approach that turns strangers into brand advocates for your business - that is using “inbound marketing.” Inbound marketing - or the inbound methodology - starts with four stages. First, you have to attract visitors to your site. You can do this by interacting online with social media, blog articles, and keywords.
Next, you want to narrow down your list of visitors to determine which are actual qualified leads. It’s one thing to have a million users visiting your site, but if these visitors never convert into customers then the number of visitors becomes irrelevant. You would much rather have maybe 100 really qualified leads visits to your site, then thousands of bounce hits. Some great ways to help determine which visitors are categorized as such is to create things like calls-to-action (CTA buttons) that take your visitors to specific landing page in order to download an offering - e.g. ebooks, white papers, guides, etc.
By building out these CTAs and landing pages, you can help build credibility with the potential customer by exchanging their information in a form in order to receive the offering. This helps your business ask questions that can nurture the lead into becoming a customer by allowing them to “opt-in” and engage when they are ready. Again, the offerings should be relevant to your best customer - your “buyer persona(s)” - to really address their needs and provide the benefits of your good or service, not the features.
The third stage is to close the deal and turn your qualified lead into a customer. To do this you you first deliver the offering as promised, but then set up automated emails and workflows to help nurture your leads to engage more and build trust. Customers converted in this manner often have considerably less sales cycles than customers that are converted using traditional marketing methods.
Moreover, customers that are nurtured using inbound methods are more likely to become sales advocates - or promoters - of your business. This is the last phase - the delight phase. Once you have created the customer, your job is not over. By continuing to nurture the relationship you can use their stories for events in the future, and encourage them to continue to share social media posts. Furthermore, they become your best sales people - working for free and sharing an emotionally relevant experience with other potential customers that often cannot be replicated.