In my last blog post, I focused on why inbound marketing is so necessary to attract new customers. In part two of this series, I focus on why inbound works and why manufacturing companies need to get in the game.
Why is Everyone Talking About Inbound Marketing?
Basically it comes down to this: Consumers buy differently today than they did even 10 years ago. Before the full adoption of the internet, buyers typically didn't have access to the amount of information they have at their fingertips today. Their journey from initial contact to sale was linear and predictable, and marketing strategies focused mainly on interruptive methods like cold calling, advertising and direct mail.
Today, it's a different story altogether. While the methods mentioned above are still viable and important, especially in the industrial space, today's buyers are well informed. The glut of information can be overwhelming, but by doing inbound marketing right and focusing on freely sharing information, your company will rise to the top of the search window. The buyer journey is no longer a straight line. It's fluid and random, and if a potential buyer doesn't see your company name often enough, it won't be "top of mind.".
Why Did This Change Happen?
To understand what to do, it's important to look at why this changed occurred. First, the number of media channels exploded, each one evolving into its own advertising medium. Second, consumers became skeptical about brands. With no checks on over promising and under delivering, lawsuits increased and regulation followed suit. Lastly, technology advancements like spam filters, broadband IT and no call lists spelled trouble for businesses employing traditional marketing techniques. Companies had to change the way they put their message out, and it became clear that permission was quickly becoming more effective than interruption. Don't be mistaken. Interruptive techniques are still the gold standard in many instances, but inbound marketing presents a new method to reach customers who don't even know they need you.
So, Where Do You Begin?
Start by integrating these five pillars of the inbound methodology. The content you publish needs to align with your customer’s interests and address their pain points. You are taking them on a journey to eventually land on your company when they are ready to buy.
Content Creation - This first step can sometimes be the hardest for many manufacturers. The thought of freely sharing information can make engineers cringe with worry about giving away trade secrets. Setting your company up as a trusted adviser who can answer buyers' questions will pay far greater dividends than staying home from the party.
Lifecycle Marketing - Buyers have different needs as they interact with your company. Companies need to alter marketing techniques for each stage of interaction. Starting with ebooks, white papers and case studies, you can quickly acquaint potential customers with your expertise. As they move through their individual journey, you can advance them through the sales funnel with different types of content.
Personalization and Context - Each time a potential buyer interacts with your company, you're getting to know them better, too. With personalization, your message becomes more compelling and addresses their specific needs. This builds trust, and increases the chances that a buyer will trust you with their future business.
Multi-channel Presence - Inbound marketing is specifically designed to be multi-channel. Multi-channel refers to the different marketing platforms like email, social media, website and blogs through which buyers seek information. Finding where your potential customers get their information will help you reach them more effectively.
Integration - Use marketing automation tools, like HubSpot,to help analyze and optimize content that works and which channel is most effective. Your company's marketing will be like a well-oiled machine, allowing you to focus on publishing the right content in the right place at the right time.
To sum it up, once buyers recognize you as a trusted company, you can earn permission to market to them, hopefully convert them into customers, and delight to the point they become your brand champions. Doing inbound right, you can outsmart your competition, not outspend them. More importantly, you will drive new revenue growth.
In thenext part of the series, we'll focus on the HOW of inbound marketing: the methodology. In the meantime, read about how we help other companies reach their marketing and sales goals.