So, if you've been reading this series, you have an understanding of what inbound marketing is, and you maybe even understand why you need to ramp up your efforts to attract new buyers. In this post, I delve a little deeper into how to put this philosophy in action using marketing automation.
There's a Method To The Inbound Madness
Using proven techniques, you take your prospects on a journey through the sales funnel (see image). The idea is that contacts start as virtual strangers and eventually become customers and promoters of your business and products. Through carefully planned and executed tactics unique to your company and your prospects, you engage a multi-channel marketing approach to ultimately drive people to your company.
The Who, What, When and How
The Who refers to your prospects. The What is the change in their relationship with your company. The How is the delivery of content that appeals to your prospects at each stage of their journey. Knowing and understanding this process is absolutely key to creating a plan that will deliver new business.
Start with the STRANGERS. You want to attract people to your company. Do this by creating content that’s valuable and easy for them to find. A great place to start is with a company blog and social media presence. Getting into the right conversation with the right people starts with understanding who your prospects are and where they get their information. With a particular focus on their problems, you can create meaningful interaction by proposing solutions. Focus your content here, and you'll be off to a good start.
Next, make them VISITORS. If you've been successful in attracting prospects, these strangers will become visitors to your site. You'll need to make sure your website is up to snuff (I'll explore how to evaluate your company's page later this summer). Website content needs to be readable, engaging and grab a visitor's attention. If visitors aren't satisfied with what they see on your homepage, it isn't likely they'll stay very long.
Converting your website visitors into LEADS is your next challenge. You need to up your game by writing content so compelling that these visitors are willing to dole out their name and email address to get it. Typically this is done via ebooks, videos or company white papers. This is where some companies stop dead in their tracks. Overwhelmed with taking the time to create this marketing collateral, many small businesses simply give up. It's important to remember that the time and money invested in a good ebook or white paper has the potential to generate far more in revenue down the road.
Now that you have their contact information, it's time to close and turn those leads into actual CUSTOMERS. Engaging with leads requires targeted, automated nurturing. By understanding more about your prospects' needs, you then use email and social media interaction to deliver valuable information directly to them. The relationship grows, the trust builds, and when these leads are ready to buy, your company will already be on their mind.
Ideally, your new customers will be so happy with your product that they will become PROMOTERS of your business, telling everyone they know how great you are. This is where I see so many companies go off the rails. They forget that marketing doesn't stop after the sale. Build on the trust your customers have in your company with carefully selected content, meaningful social media interaction and satisfaction/promoter surveys. Not only will you have a happy customer willing to give referrals, but you create opportunities to upsell them different products and services.
Don't Panic. Plan.
Any business owner knows that you have to fill the top of the sales funnel with enough prospects to generate the needed sales at the bottom of the funnel. Inbound marketing techniques can deliver those numbers if carefully planned and executed. Lead generation tactics are constantly evolving, so you need to stay up to speed. If you're feeling anxious, don't be. Just sign up below to receive our blog in your inbox - you'll get information designed to help you generate more leads and grow your business. Next week, forlast post in this series, I'll detail the many tools you can use to deliver inbound marketing effectively.