Over the years, your website has become more and more important to your marketing. Since 2006, inbound marketing continues to be a proven marketing framework that delivers results. Inbound marketing is a marketing framework that delivers marketing the way your customer wants it. The days of pushing your marketing message through television, print, and radio are gone.
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting a new customer to your website through compelling content. This content earns your customer’s attention because it is highly valuable to the end user. This content not only helps find new traffic, but it helps bring traffic back to your website over and over.
There are 4 phases of the inbound marketing methodology. These stages outperform other marketing techniques because they do not stop at finding new customers, inbound marketing helps nurture visitors through the entire buyer’s journey. The 4 phases of the inbound marketing methodology are attract, convert, close and delight.
Phase 1 of the inbound marketing methodology – Attract Visitors
The goal of any marketing campaign is to find new customers. Traditionally, this has been done through television, radio, and print. The goal was to place your advertisement in the right place and gain as many impressions as possible. The more people that saw or heard your marketing message, the more potential customers would knock on your door.
Well, times have changed. Think of the last time you watched television without DVR. That’s right, it has been awhile. If you did watch television without DVR, you probably picked up your phone and checked in on Facebook when that commercial came on.
Today, attracting potential customers is done a little different. The focus of inbound marketing is attracting your ideal customer with quality content. The content created for inbound marketing campaigns needs to answer a question, solve a pain point, or entertain the user.
There are 4 main things you can do to attract your ideal customer.
Blogging for Business
Starting a blog for your business is the best way to drive traffic to your website. Your customers are searching Google right now looking for answers. Every time you create a blog post, you are given the opportunity to answer this question for them. Blogging for business gives your company a platform to engage and add value to your customer base. Starting a blog for your business is the first step in the inbound methodology.
Quick tip: If you are not the written word type, maybe your business blog is video based. Video marketing can be another form of blogging. In fact, it is best practice to take your blog topic and turn it into a video.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing scares a lot of business owners, marketing managers, and just about everyone. However, this is where your customers are hanging out when they are watching television commercials. Creating compelling content for your customers and posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any new flavor of the month social platform will get your inbound marketing message in front of your buyers.
If anything, social media is a great place to promote your blog that you worked so hard on. Creating a social media strategy that appeals to your buyers will attract more buyers to your business. Inbound marketing gives your social media a purpose, not just posting funny cat videos (unless you are a veterinarian, cat videos are great).
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the marketing tactic of attracting visitors to your website through search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Finding the right keywords that your customers are searching for will attract more visitors to your website. Optimizing your website for high-traffic keywords will increase the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy.
Your blog and search engine optimization go hand in hand. Every time you blog for your business, the blog post should be optimized for one identified keyword. The more keywords your business targets, the more traffic your website will receive. Optimization of your website can pay off both short and long-term.
Phase 2 of the inbound marketing methodology – Convert Web Traffic
Your website is crawling with new traffic. Phase one of the inbound marketing methodology is starting to pay off. Phase two of the inbound methodology is about converting this website traffic into leads. The conversion process is what makes the inbound marketing method different and more effective than other marketing methods.
Let’s face it, marketing is only as good as the leads it creates. Without leads, marketing was a failure There are three main conversion mechanisms that will turn your website traffic into leads.
Call to Action
You have the attention of your potential customer. It is now time to tell them what you want them to do. Your call to action is going to be tied to the goal of your inbound marketing campaign. This can be as easy as downloading an eBook with further valuable information or scheduling a free inbound marketing consultation.
Your call to action is the first step in the conversion process. Typically, this is a link that directs the visitor to a landing page.
A landing page is a page on your website that has a specific purpose. This purpose is to pay off a call to action or give additional information about your product or services. Your landing page will include a form that the user can fill in order to get the offer from your call to action.
The exchange of information has happened. You now have a lead. Your customer database or CRM is a piece of software that holds the data and contact records. The customer database is vital to the inbound marketing method because it will aid in the close phase of the inbound marketing method.
In order to get the best results, your customer database should be tied in with your marketing platform and website. Having these pieces of software connected will ensure that your inbound marketing efforts are deployed and tracked accordingly. Your customer database is essential to the inbound marketing methodology.
Phase 3 of the inbound marketing methodology – Close Leads
In the past, it has been the job of sales to knock on doors, make cold calls, and attend as many networking events as possible. The inbound marketing method helps sales professionals close more deals because of the helping nature of inbound marketing. The close phase of the inbound marketing methodology is the phase where visitors are turned into revenue.
Now that your customer database has filled up with leads, it is now time to close these leads and create lifelong customers.
Finding Warm Opportunities
It is easier for sales professionals to close leads when the lead is ready and willing to make a purchase. Because inbound marketing is built on a customer database that is tracking leads behaviors, the inbound methodology is able to identify these willing customers through lead scoring. When your lead is ready to purchase, your sales team will be notified.
Sending The Right Message at The Right Time
When your potential customer is looking for a solution, odds are they are also shopping your competition. The inbound methodology is about adding value to the end user through valuable content. While looking to close a lead, sending the right piece of content at the right time is critical. Every lead takes a different path to close, so sending content through email based on the behaviors they take on your website will deliver content at the right time to close the deal.
Add Value Through Email
Sometimes leads go cold. Maybe the budget changed, they are demoing the competition, or maybe the needs of the business changed. This does not mean that they are a dead lead. Well-crafted email marketing can turn a cold lead into a ready and willing buyer. Email marketing is still one of the most profitable marketing tactics out there when executed correctly. Email marketing aligned with value-based content will help move the lead through the buyer’s journey.
Closing The Loop With Analytics
You did it. You landed that new lead. First off, congrats. This is a huge day for the company, the sales professional, and your marketing team. In the past, marketing has never been held responsible for revenue. The inbound marketing methodology is built around data. By tagging and tracking inbound marketing through your customer database, you are going to be able to track revenue back to the campaign and the source responsible for the revenue.
Phase 4 of the inbound marketing methodology – Delight Your Customers
The customer has officially closed and revenue has been recorded. It took time and hard work to get here. I hope you treated your team to coffee or lunch. Here is where most marketing efforts stop, at realized revenue. However, it is much easier to keep a customer and get a referral from a customer than find a new customer.
The last step of the inbound marketing methodology is to delight your existing customer. That is right the inbound method really never stops, it just continues to add value and pump revenue back into your business.
What does your company do when you close that deal? Turn on the app and walk away? A great onboarding campaign will help your customer understand the ins and outs of your product or service. Make sure that your new customer is getting the same attention as when they were a new lead.
Again, the on-boarding process is about creating valuable content through your blog, customer portal, or automated email series. Customer on-boarding is the first step to keeping and retaining a new customer.
Deliver The Right Up-Sell
By tracking your customer’s behavior, you are able to tell what problems or questions they are having. Maybe your company offers a service that compliments their already purchased product. Make sure to send them a relevant offer at the right time. Sending the wrong up-sell could tarnish the brand and the relationship you worked so hard to build.
Use Social Media
Yup, social media strikes again. Use your social media channels to deliver customer service or ask for that referral. Once your customer is fully on-board and loving your product or service, ask for that social media share. Social media is a great way to get your customer to share their feedback and review of your company. By delighting your customer, you are able to make the ask that many companies would love to get.
Stop Interrupting, Start Converting – The Inbound Marketing Methodology
The inbound marketing methodology is about adding value to the end consumer. It is time to deliver value to your customer. The inbound marketing methodology is about attracting new visitors, converting visitors to leads, closing leads to customers, and delighting customers to become brand advocates. The inbound marketing methodology will drive the results your business is looking for.