For many companies, the objective of their marketing is no more than to “get their message out there.” These businesses often spend time and resources on familiar, marketing tactics like direct mail, telemarketing and email blasts, but watch helplessly as their results dwindle. The painful truth is, these interruptive “outbound” marketing methods are becoming less and less effective.
Consumers have become more adept at avoiding the marketing messages they do not want to receive. Spam filters block much unwanted email, consumers sign up for the National Do Not Call List, and direct mail often ends up in the trash without ever being opened. At the same time they have also discovered the power of the Internet to seek out the information that they do want. They do web searches for information, subscribe to the blogs that interest them, and browse social networks and review sites for product recommendations.
For businesses to succeed in this new, customer-centric environment, they must take a different approach to their marketing. It is no longer enough for companies to interrupt consumers with a broad, shotgun approach marketing in the hopes that something will stick. Instead of simply trying to “get their message out,” companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies to get found when customers go looking, and collecting meaningful data that helps them make informed business decisions.
The Inbound Marketing Strategy
The inbound philosophy is backed by a methodology that helps businesses attract, convert, close, and delight visitors, leads and customers through a variety of channels such as social media, blogging, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), landing pages, forms, and email.
Attract visitors to your website
You want to attract buying decision makers and influencers that will potentially become leads. Attract your ideal customer, or buyer persona, on their own time by creating content that’s valuable and easy for them to find – content that answers your customer’s basic questions and needs, rather than a sales pitch.
A company blog is one of the best ways to produce and distribute a variety of content frequently and effectively. Research shows that a company blog significantly improves a website’s performance in search engines by creating 437% more indexed pages and generating 55% more website visitors.
Convert website visitors into leads
Once you start generating traffic to your website, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information via a web form. But in order to get this valuable information, you need to offer something in return. Providing helpful information, such as an educational eBook, informative spec sheet, or useful CAD file download, is more effective at getting strangers to give their contact information earlier in their decision-making process, than a typical “Contact Us,” or “Request a Quote” form often found on most websites.
Close leads into customers through lead nurturing
Once you’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, you need to transform those leads into customers. Targeted, email nurturing and social media interaction are great ways to interact personally with interested prospects. Over time you can capture information about your leads, learn more about their behavior and interests, and better personalize your messages to their specific needs. By keeping track of how your leads interact with your website, such as what pages they visit or what offers they download, you can identify which leads are showing signals that they are more qualified to buy, and which are just browsing.
Delight customers to turn them into promoters of your brand
Using context and personalization to deliver tailored messages, you can continue to engage with, delight, and (hopefully) upsell your current customer base into happy promoters of your company.
Over time, inbound marketing creates and cultivates relationships with buyers. By fostering meaningful dialogue, and positioning your company as a valuable resource for problem solving and advice, rather than just another business with a sales pitch, inbound marketing is more cost efficient per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.