Have you jumped on the inbound marketing train yet? Here’s why you should.
Just about every marketer, franchise system or other types of business we work with has at least heard of inbound marketing. It’s no longer a new concept; however, not all marketers understand it, and fewer have adopted it. Here we’ll discuss what inbound marketing is, why it works, and how you can use it.
Think of inbound marketing like a magnet. Instead of traditional marketing methods such as cold calling, purchasing email lists, and spending a fortune on advertisements whose results are hard to measure, inbound marketing is a way to attract quality leads using educational and relevant content that draws prospects in. Instead of interrupting potential customers with broadcasts of why they should buy from you and beating them over the head with advertisement after advertisement, inbound marketing allows for quality leads to come to you when they are ready.
Inbound marketing works by providing relevant material to your audience at each stage of the buyer’s journey. By building trust and credibility along the way, you turn strangers into repeat customers and promoters of your brand.
Four steps or stages are common in the process, and there is a distinct inbound approach for each:
Step 1: Attract. You must gain the attention of strangers who fit the description of your target audience. You can do this by writing and promoting blogs, posting interesting articles on social media, and optimizing your website for search.
Step 2: Convert. Once the strangers have visited your website, blog, or social media channel, you have the opportunity to convert them into leads. As one example of a conversion mechanism: this can be done by embedding CTA buttons that direct them to a related landing page with an offer for a free download containing more information – in exchange for their email address and possibly other information. Contact information thus collected can be entered into a workflow to be nurtured.
Step 3: Close. Continue to warm them up and provide them with content that they find valuable. In other words, nurture them. Email marketing campaigns are an excellent way to communicate with leads and establish the trust needed to turn them into customers.
Step 4: Delight. Once the lead becomes a customer, your work is not over. You want to continue engaging with them on social media and through email marketing to provide the best customer service and stay top-of-mind when they need your product or service again. Customers can become your biggest promoters if they have a positive experience.
Leads generated through inbound marketing cost 61% less than leads generated from traditional outbound methods. Inbound marketing is more affordable and more successful because it allows brands to speak directly to their customers’ needs and provide them with information they value.
Here’s the general workflow to get started with inbound marketing:
- Set a goal for your campaign
- Identify strategies that will help you achieve your goal (e.g., email marketing, online videos, social media, blogging, webinars, etc.)
- Create detailed buyer personas
- Identify your target market’s need or problem
- Create a campaign that promises to solve that need or problem
- Build supporting collateral
- Create corresponding landing pages
- Once the campaign is live, constantly measure its progress to identify areas that need tweaking.
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