You may have heard the words “INBOUND MARKETING” more than once, especially if you are a company or professional that seeks to position and sell their products/services online, and are familiar with content creation, Internet, blogs or social media.
Consider the following idea: INBOUND is like real life social interactions. Do you recall, while at a school dance or club, asking someone to dance and systematically being rejected? Do you remember what happened next? Maybe you changed your hairstyle, or maybe you learned a couple of new dance moves. The next time you walked out on the dance floor, you had everybody up on their feet and grooving with you in no time. You reevaluated your image, made some changes and managed to showcase something new and exciting about yourself, so everybody wanted to dance with you. That’s INBOUND! 🙂
This concept is developed as an alternative, or as a complement, as the case may be, to the traditional way of bringing the products and services of professionals and companies to their potential clients. In life, everything changes, and that change has included our traditional ways of marketing to potential clients. Gone are the times of using more intrusive techniques like phone calls, mass mailing, pop-up ads and the like. These are known as OUTBOUND marketing techniques. However, no longer does the consumer allow commercial advertising to be presented to them without it being of their interests.
Believe me, with the level of access to content that we have today, Outbound does not spring Click to Tweet
In other words, if you want to get customers, instead of tapping their shoulders to tell them that they want your product, you must make the potential customer be the person who asks you about them.
When we talk about Inbound Marketing, we talk about a methodology that in turn encompasses many disciplines and tools, which can be summarized in the following phases:
Closing and Loyalty
How to attract potential clients
Step One: Attract
The first of these phases listed above plays a very important role in what is known as Content Marketing, which is, in my opinion, the best way to form a customer base. Content Marketing means you must create relevant, high-value content that considers the wants and needs of the consumer audiences you wish to target. However, instead of talking strictly about the product, the most effective examples of content are pieces of content that are of value to the potential client. A security company, for example, might choose to avoid selling their services outright in favor of writing articles that contain tips on how to avoid electrical appliance fires, what to do if their house gets burglarized, or recommendations for optimal home safety. The effect we are trying to impress on the potential client is that they recognize you or your business as an expert and/or a company truly committed to the well-being of their clients, capable of offering solutions to any concerns they may have in their everyday lives (as they apply to your services.)
To make your content achieve maximum impact, you must first decide on what your ideal Buyer Persona is. A Buyer Person is simply a set of parameters describing your audience, incorporating individual factors like age, tastes and other specifics. You can do this by analyzing the statistics of visitors to your website and social media.
Ways to track exactly who and what type of visitors are going to your websites and social media networks include:
Social Media Marketing
Advertising, promotion of relevant publications
Events, Public Relations and more
How to turn visits into leads?
From atop of the funnel, we have to take advantage of our website visits and turn our visitors into clients. To achieve the goal of sustaining contact with our visitors, we can put some mechanisms in place that allow us to gain their information like names, phone numbers and emails, usually done using online forms, such as contact forms, request for budgets, newsletter sign-ups, etc. While this step is a big one, these contacts aren’t necessarily ready to commit to you or your product/service. True, they have shown interest, but not enough to start a closing process just yet. However there is something really valuable that you have obtained: an email from a qualified contact that has been attracted thanks in part to your content. It is therefore the contact who knocks at the door and asks to be let in.
Once we have gained familiar status with the new prospective client, we have arrived at a new phase in which we must continue to gauge the interests of the client via our content and how we can harness those interests into a solid working relationship and consumption of our services. This phase may consist of access to things like information of higher value or free product testing. Determining a client’s true level of interest (Lead Score) and how to take it further is crucial before continuing with the next phase.
Closing and Loyalty
You will see during the Educate phase that of all the leads you have gathered in Step 1, some of those leads show more interest and feel comfortable being more proactive with your content. It is at this stage you can bring these interested, proactive clients a product offer and thus convert these leads into customers. This doesn’t mean you should forget the other leads who haven’t been as proactive, by any means–it simply means that you have to be a little more patient with them. Last and certainly not least, it is important to develop a loyalty strategy in order to maintain those new customers.
Resources on Inbound Marketing
You made it to the end of this post! Congratulations! I know that summarizing the details of InBound Marketing methodology, useful phases and tools in a single blog post barely scratches the surface but I hope it will help you.
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