If you have a business website, you have likely heard about inbound marketing. It isn’t just a buzzword marketers use, but a new way of marketing adapted to the reality of the internet!
Reach your customers where they are
Traditional marketing, or outbound marketing, involves randomly looking for clients by sending them advertising messages, regardless if they are interested or not.
The objective of inbound marketing is to attract consumers who are already interested in your products and services. Then, get to know them better to convert them into customers and make them loyal.
Inbound marketing is made possible because of the web and the new tools available to consumers, such as search engines that allow them to search by keyword(s) or social networks that enable them to share content that excites them.
Also, marketers now have easier access to distribution platforms like blogs, email campaigns, community management tools and customer relationship management systems (CRMs). I, therefore, offer you this introduction to inbound marketing; aka Inbound Marketing for Dummies.
Good content is central to a successful inbound marketing strategy. Branded content should meet customers’ expectations and respond to their questions while relating to the product or services.
Creating a branded blog is a common inbound marketing tactic since it also allows you to incorporate relevant keywords that will improve the site’s ranking within the search engines.
Furthermore, consumers will share content that reaches them the most on their social networks. Creating the most viral content possible in many formats is important. Of course, the blog is the most popular form, but videos, infographics, eBooks or even webinars and podcasts can be used.
Producing relevant and quality branded content also helps a company to assert its expertise in its field and to position itself as a leader.
Once visitors are attracted to the site, they are converted into known visitors (prospects or leads). But to convince visitors to provide their contact information, you have to give them something in exchange.
It involves promoting specific offers tailored to the customer segments to be reached. For business customers (B2B), an eBook containing industry news would be relevant, but for individuals (B2C), a simple discount can be sufficient.
This offer is then showcased on a landing page or accessible through a form used to collect visitors’ contact information to begin developing the relationship which is at the heart of inbound marketing and to move visitors through the sales funnel.
In fact, visitors probably won’t become customers upon their first visit. You must nurture the relationship and use a CRM to monitor customer interactions.
If the leads are not ready to become clients right way, you must convince them to do so! There are many tools to maintain the customer relationship to convert leads into paying customers.
For some products or services, you have to sometimes “re-heat” the lead through a series of automatic emails (email automation) presenting opportunities to learn more about the services provided, or offer additional services. Automation can be used to direct leads obtained from a free offer to a paid offer. For example, leads that have downloaded your eBook could be encouraged to try your services for free.
For other categories of products and services, there is nothing better than a personal touch to complete the transaction. This is why you sometimes collect the leads’ contact information to be able to contact them by phone after.
It’s not enough to convert leads into customers; you still have to keep them! Some industries lend themselves well to additional purchases or cross-selling so their customers can be very valuable during their entire lifetime (consumer lifetime value). It is often the case for clothing, in particular. It is wise to focus on current customers rather than recruit new ones through expensive advertising. Opportunities for additional sales over the short-term are less frequent in some industries, such as real estate. In these cases, converted customers still have significant value as they may play the role of ambassador and recommend your brand to their friends.
To take advantage of current customers, it is important to take care of them well and delight them during every interaction. Unparalleled customer service should not be overlooked!
Automation can also be used, like sending a tutorial automatically after downloading software, or even a special discount to celebrate a boutique customer’s birthday.
This completes our introduction to inbound marketing for beginners. To implement an attractive marketing strategy on your site, there are now many easy-to-use tools, like LeadFox. I suggest you try the free version here, which will help you implement everything you need.