What is Inbound Marketing
The web and social media fundametally changed the way we discover, consume and judge information sources both off and online.
People switch over during ads on TV. They hang up on telemarketers and now they're installing adblocking software on their desktops, laptops and and phones in droves. We all hate interruptive advertising!
Inbound marketing on the other hand is delivering qualified leads because visitors are looking for valuable content that provides them with the information and advice they need during their research and decision making journey.
Unlike old school marketing tactics which interrupt to gain attention and push a sales message, the inbound marketing methodology is based on attracting visitors actively looking for information, advice and products or services which solve their problem.
You don’t want just any traffic coming to your site. You want to attract people who are likely to be interested what you offer. To attract these people you need to first define who it is you want to attract - your ideal customers.
Creating Buyer Personas enables you to define those customers - not only the demographic profile but their psychographic profile (their goals, challenges, pain points, motivations etc).
Download our free e-book HOW TO CREATE BUYER PERSONAS
Tools to attract your buyer personas include Blogs, SEO, Web Pages, Social Publishing.
Once you've attracted visitors to your site, the process of collecting their contact information converts them into leads.
Because our contact details are often fiercely protected - particularly if we fear the dreaded and inevitable sales call that will follow - you need to offer something of real value to your buyer persona in order for them to give up their valuable details.
How do you know what your ideal customer will value? The research conducted during the development of your buyer persona is crtical to helping you answer this question. It may be an e-book, white papaer, tip sheet or anything else that your ideal customer (your persona) wants.
The tools to convert those visitors to leads include well designed Forms, Call-to-action buttons, Landing Pages and an automated marketing platform that captures the data and allows you to nurture these personas.
Get the free guide: 30 BEST LEAD GENERATION TIPS & IDEAS learned from successful inbound marketers.
Ok, so you've captured their details - but before you hit the phone and potentially scare them off, remember some of your visitors are likley to be right at the beginning of the buyers journey and not at all ready to start talking specifics about your products or services.
While others will be much closer to making a decision and may be interested in talking to a sales person now to complete their research picture.
This is where marketing automation really adds value to the inbound process. You can tailor and server different lead nuturing processes for the different buyer journey stages.
The tools to help you nurture and close your leads into customers include email, marketing automation software, Marketing data integration with your CRM, and a CRM which provide your sales team with all the information they need to help convert those leads into customers.
Word of mouth (referrals from trusted family, friends and colleagues) is still one of the most valuable and effective marketings tactics you can benefit from.
The best way to make sure your customers become valuable promoters of your brand through word of mouth (or social tweets and posts) is to ensure you delight them during and after the sale. Not only do you keep top of mind giving you the opportunity to upsell (80% of future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing clients - Gartner Group) but customers delighted by the experience of being your customer will tell their friends.
How do you delight customers? Ask them what they want - use (personalised!) feedback forms and surveys to make sure you're giving them exactly what they want.
Take the annoyance out of the experience by employing 'Smart CTAs' these are call to action buttoms which change depending on the buyer persona and stage of the lifecycle - there is nothing more annoying that seeing the same offer pop up again and again when you've already taken advantage of it!
Keep providing them with valuable content that is tailored to their specific needs.
And engage with them at the right time, with the right content through social monitoring - whether answering questions, providing relevant tips or acknowleding and thanking them for positive feedback.