Inbound marketing might sound like two buzz words but it’s something you should know about if you don’t already.
Wave goodbye to the traditional ‘in-your-face’ advertising because this is effective no longer. How often do you receive pamphlets in the post trying to sell you something you’re not interested in, meaning you ditch it straight into the bin?
Or you might be watching TV and a car ad comes on – you’re already happy with your car – so you change the channel.
This is traditional marketing and over time we as consumers have become too smart to pay attention to its techniques.
But if you’re a business owner, how can you reach your customers?
The answer is with inbound marketing with creative content.
The steps of inbound marketing
Thanks to the digital age, we can attract customers who are not only interested in our products but are suited to our business. How is gathering a targeted customer base possible and easier than it ever has been? Through a certain number of steps which are labelled under the term inbound marketing.
The four marketing steps can be seen as attracting customers, converting them, closing the deal and then impressing your customers with more creative content.
The main way of doing this is by sharing content – for free – which not only makes you look like an expert in your field but helps your customers to become more informed.
So rather than screaming BUY ME like traditional advertising does, instead you’re saying ‘this is how I can help you for free’ – which is a much more interesting proposition for your customer.
But how do they become paid customers?
Well, as we’ll show, through the four steps of inbound marketing your customers will begin to value, trust and respect you as a company meaning they’re more likely to purchase from you over your competitors.
Although it might be tempting, you don’t want to attract everyone to your business – you want to attract the right sort of customers. These are customers who are in the right demographic for your product and who share the same challenges as your other customers which draws them to your product in the first place.
Attracting the right customers is important because it means they’ll be more likely to purchase from you in the long term.
But how do you find these customers?
It’s easy to do online with three main inbound marketing steps:
Don’t have a company blog? START ONE. This is the key to inbound marketing and is the best way to attract new customers to your company. Not only will your customers find the information useful but having frequent fresh content on your website improves your Google ranking, mean you’ll be the company your potential customers find before others.
However, make sure the blogs are helpful and informative otherwise it could backfire and damage your reputation rather than enhance it.
Social media turns your company from being just another business to one that’s human. People like to see who’s behind the business and social media allows you to do this because it gives you a chance to interact with your customers directly.
It also can be used as a tool to promote your blog and other useful information you create or want to share.
Keywords are important because you want your customers to be able to find you. By optimising your keywords, you will appear more highly in a search and this will work in your favour.
Once your customers see how invaluable your information is, they are ready to convert. This is the step where you gather their information. It could be by asking them to download a helpful PDF or perhaps by signing up to your newsletter.
Call to action
You need to make sure your customers click through to your download / sign up by telling them why it’ll be beneficial for them to do so. This is called a call to action.
See below for a call to action example from the book The 4 Hour Work Week. The ‘START HERE’ sign is bright and stands out. Then customers are encouraged to sign up for a newsletter and in return they will receive exclusive bonus materials.
I know it must work because I’ve signed up for this in the past!
Once your customers have clicked on the call to action, they should be taken through to a landing page. This is where they fill out their information thereby giving you the opportunity to get in contact with them in the future. This now means they’re a ‘lead’ because they’re a potential purchasing customer as they’ve shown interest in your product.
Make sure you don’t lose your customers at the point of conversion. Make the landing page form simple – just ask for their name and email address, for example. Make sure you store all this information properly so you can analyse it.
Closing the sale
Now you have customers on board, you want to turn them into paying clients. But how?
Keep in contact with your customers by sending them useful information. Don’t spam them but create cleverly crafted e-newsletters and other resources that you think will continue to benefit them. Check out image below for an example of an effective e-newsletter from Disney.
Keep track of what information your customers have read – by what they’ve downloaded from your website, or what they’re interested in – judging by how they interact with you via social media. Then send them targeted emails you’re certain they’ll be interested in.
Impressing your customers
Now you have customers on board, don’t let your attention slip – keep your focus on them to make sure they remain your customers. You can do this by using the tools above, such as with targeted emailing, blogging and social media.
Inbound marketing – make it work for you
There’s no doubt that inbound marketing takes effort. Converting customers into paying clients is no mean feat but if you can prove yourself as an expert in your field through blogging, connect to your customers via social media, and then gather their details you’ll be well on your way to growing your customer base.