by Mona Mangat
The best way to kick off 2017 successfully for your business is to put a plan into place for your marketing strategy that will allow you to change complete strangers into loyal customers.
No plan is effective without a tried-and-tested formula, and inbound marketing’s methodology has exactly that. So why not review the basics in hopes of mastering skills that will boost your business?
Inbound marketing’s basic principles really come down to evolving our business perspective away from the type of marketing we have traditionally grown up with—outbound marketing—and transitioning it toward a more open and interactive communication with our customers, inbound marketing.
Here is a great video to get you started that will help you understand why inbound marketing is so important to your business:
Traditional marketing has always been based on aggression and interruption. Take for example television…we’re constantly interrupted during our favorite TV shows and are forced to watch commercials for things or services we might not even want or like. Our physical mailbox is over-wrought with flyers, and even our email inboxes can be flooded with offers we never signed up for. On the radio, in between our favorite songs the radio station pushes ads we don’t want to hear on a constant basis.
Due to all this forced advertising, consumers and customers have trained themselves to block out messages, and now technology makes it even easier to bypass ads altogether. Caller ID blocks telemarketers, satellite radio and our pod-catchers let us to listen to our favorite music commercial-free. TiVo, streaming and digital cable have almost eliminated all television advertising, and SPAM filters and new legislation has made email marketing really tough to do if you don’t follow the regulations.
So, what changes the game plan? Inbound marketing, which is a permission-based marketing strategy that respects the consumer and draws them to you. How do you do that? By creating amazing content that people actually want to read and share, whenever they want. It’s no longer stuffed down their throats. You turn your content into a resource and you’ll gain loyalty. Offer your potential customers genuine help, and they’ll come to rely on you. Do this by regularly publishing valuable content so that your audience and search engines define you as a trusted authority in your area or field. Then, when the time does come to buy or make an investment decision, your company will be at the top of their list.
To be successful at this, your content marketing strategy can be broken down into four main marketing actions outlined by the inbound marketing methodology: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.
Inbound marketing uses a multichannel approach. Read below to see how to use these channels to attract, convert, close and delight your customers. The mantra of inbound marketing is about converting a stranger into a visitor to your site, a lead to a customer and—if you do a good job—a customer into a lifetime supporter and promoter of your business.
Attract – Make Strangers into Visitors
This means you have to know who your potential customer is and then try to get that type of visitor to come to your site. Knowing your buyer persona will guide you on what kind of content to create. The most useful channels to attract strangers are:
Keywords/SEO: Optimizing your content ensures your pages get organic search traffic, so you get the right leads.
Social Media: Where you create awareness about your brand and put attractive content in reach of total strangers.
Blogs: Blog posts create sought after content that is educational and helpful, so visitors keep coming back for more insight.
Convert – Make Visitors into Leads
With the right people checking out your site you can convert them into leads. Offer something good to gain their trust and personal info. Offer eBooks, guides, white papers, that could be helpful in their buying process. You can turn them into a lifelong customer so make sure your content is king and includes the following:
Landing Pages: Make sure your home page lays it all out in a simple and clear manner. Earn their clicks with excellent content.
Call-to-Action (CTA): Inspire your visitor to take action and make them want to follow your brand with compelling offers and CTAs.
Contact Database: Create a database of contacts and stay on top of it to make sure you implement actions correctly.
Close – Make your Leads into Customers
Now that you have the lead, close them out, and what that really means is transform them into a paying customer. This is where your efforts literally pay off, but don’t rush it. The key to lead nurturing is patience and guidance since almost 90% consumers now do research before they buy almost anything, and they can consult up to an average of 10.5 resources. So, your job is to be one of those. The tools to close the deal are:
Lead Scoring: Keep score by finding out which of your efforts are successful and have created leads and which have converted into customers. It’s also good to know which haven’t. Keep track of these statistics to build a more effective strategy.
Email Marketing: Use emails to stay in touch, make offers and keep your clientele informed and interested. Deliver awesome content directly to their inbox and win them over repeatedly.
CRM: Customer Relationship Management contained in a CMS system will help keep your contacts and conversations in one place so you can use them when the time comes and understand your customers’ behavior.
Delight – Make Customers into Supporters and Promoters
Now that you’ve won them over, make them into cheerleaders of your brand. Let them help spread the word about how awesome your services or products are. People obviously will trust their family and friends so if they hear about you through them you might win over a brood of life-long customers. The best channels for providing delight to your customers are:
Social Media/Social Monitoring: Check out what content is being shared and spread and if anything has gone viral, and respond to both positive and negative posts respectfully. Make note, interact with, and engage with your market and make them feel important to your brand.
Surveys: Surveys are perfect for asking what your customer thinks about you. The good and the bad feedback will help you understand what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on to make your customer happy.
Email Marketing: This is the best way to keep in touch post-sale and remind your customer of what’s on offer. Send deals or discounts since this will create loyalty and repeat visits.
So, there you have it, the basics of Inbound marketing broken down into four main marketing actions (attract, convert, close, and delight). Using these channels will help you manage and progress your potential customers through one phase and action into the next, that’s if you implement the Inbound marketing basics thoughtfully. When done right, your marketing plan and strategy will be ready to deliver you long and lasting customer relationships and renewable success.
Contact us now to find out how we can help you put Inbound marketing principles to work for business in 2017.