What Is Inbound Marketing?
Is your business still trying to make cold calls or buy email lists? Are you having a hard time finding qualified leads?
Let’s be honest. Most methods of traditional outbound marketing just don’t work anymore. What type of person is just sitting around on the other end of the line waiting for a sales call? Doing business this way is disruptive, annoying, and quite frankly, outdated.
At NeuWeb Marketing, We do things a little bit differently. We take an inbound approach to winning new customers for one reason only. It works!
Inbound marketing helps your business build a good reputation and solid platform for reaching your target audience. Rather than interrupting your customers lives with a message they don’t want to hear, they actually come to you because of the value you bring to the table. This means more happy customers and greater success for your company.
So how does this methodology work?
Outbound marketing is liking bombing a city and hoping someone defects to your side. Creating radio ads, billboards, sponsoring events, appearing on TV, etc… It’s repetitive and expensive. (Not to mention the ROI is getting worse and worse).
Inbound marketing is a completely different focus. It draws your ideal customers to you naturally. But how? Through creating and sharing high quality content that is geared towards your target audience. This content speaks directly to the person you’re trying to attract and helps them understand their problems, their needs, and their future goals.
By being pre-emptive with the value you add to your customer, you build an authoritative relationship with them. By the time they contact you for help, they are already the ideal customer for your services. Not only that, but because you’ve helped them since the beginning of their buyer journey they will be more likely to promote your brand and come back for repeat purchases.
It’s not easy to shift from outbound to inbound marketing. It may take awhile to wrap your head around the concept. It takes a mindset shift and this is how it can be done.
The Buyer Persona
They buyer persona is the most important aspect of inbound marketing. Your efforts need to be centered around your ideal prospect. What are their needs? Wants? desires? Habits? To better speak to your audience, the first step is creating buyer persona profiles. They will become the foundation to your marketing strategy and provide direction for the success of your company.
What is a buyer persona? Personas are also known as avatars or profiles. It is a fictional representation of the ideal client. You may have one persona or many depending on your product or service. Even though your buyer persona is not a real person, you may want to think through your best clients and use their demographics as a starting place for this fictional character.
Research is vital in getting this step right. Look up major database indexes for income and job demographics. Interview current customers and find out what their needs are. (you may even have to do some internet stalking on similar people to find out their habits and tendencies.) Through this entire process look for trends and commonalities between your customers. For example:
- Job title
- Income level
- Challenges and problems
- Frustrations and objections
The Buyer Journey
Once you’ve created your personas, it’s time to start making content that is relevant to them and their stage of the buying process. Whenever anyone buys anything, they always go through a similar 3-step journey.
The buyer realizes they have a problem but has not yet defined the issue in detail. They begin their journey online by searching for information related to the problem they think they have.
At this stage the buyer has now defined through research the exact problem they have. Now they are searching for solutions to that problem. They read specific articles or watch video on solving the problem. They look at reviews and comparisons between possible solutions.
The buyer is now ready to make a purchase and is looking for the perfect product or service to solve the problem based on their previous research.
For your business to attract the ideal persona within this journey, you must create valuable content that meets the buyer in each stage. When you know your buyer personas and the specifics about how they go through the journey, you will be most effective in reaching them where they are at.
Take Action With Inbound Marketing
There are four key ways to effectively guide your buyer persona through the buyer journey. Lets take a look at them in depth.
Here you pique the interest of the buyer by posing a beneficial offer to them. Some ways this can be done:
- Website Content: Landing pages and content offers that your persona would be interested in downloading.
- Blogging: Creating blog posts with the similar topics as your offer and help answer questions related to it.
- SEO: SEO(Search Engine Optimization) helps optimize where your pages and offers show up in search engine rankings. The higher you rank, the more likely that your persona will find your content.
- Social Media: You can use social media to entice customers by giving them a sneak peak and the content in your offer and creating a compelling value exchange.
This type of content must be positioned in the places that your buyer persona naturally hangs out and must speak to a direct need. When you do this well, it will draw them in like a big blue light does flies.
Now that you’ve attracted your persona into visiting your website, you convert them into a lead. One poor approach is asking for email address straight up. This typically scares people away. However, if you afford a valuable piece of information that will help them solve a problem, they are more likely to freely give you their lead info. Here are some examples of how you can do that:
- Write an eBook
- Develop a Whitepaper
- Create a Checklist
- Create an on-site tool to help them define their problem
Once the visitors see value they will fill out a form in order to download the content. You then establish yourself as a valuable resource and as you continue to nurture them with information, they gladly receive it.
Congratulations! You are now getting conversions. Now you need to turn those hard earned leads into customers.
This becomes a challenge that traditionally has been on the shoulders of the sales team to solve but with improvements in technology there are several resources that can make the sales process easy. Utilizing the following tools will help you keep track of leads, conversions, revenue and seal up those holes in your pipeline.
- CRM System (Customer Relationship Management)
- Automated Email Marketing Nurture Campaigns
- Closed Loop Reporting Systems
Finally the deal is made! Your work doesn’t end there though. Once the customer has purchased from you, they have just become a prime suspect for promoting your brand to others. Always deliver the best work possible so they are happy with the results.
The real work begins and you develop a relationship with your customer to continue to add value to their lives. Work on giving them more content to help them solve problems. Perceive their needs and preemptively solve them. This process delights your customer into bringing you gobs of referrals because they know that you will take care of the needs presented.