The chief challenge with traditional marketing is it’s grossly skewed in favor of the marketer—ads on TV and other media, cold calls etc. present the marketer’s content to people at the marketer’s convenience. For regular people, they are irritants—we hate being interrupted by them, right?
So we respond by changing the channel, blocking cold calls, spam filtering emails, turning the page and so on.
Inbound marketing overturns this model completely to help people access the content that they want to see at their convenience—basically, educate and enable rather than irritate and interrupt.
While just about every business has a website, a mobile app and social presence, many have very little idea of what to do with them to drive business. Here again, it’s inbound marketing that provides clarity on how to link every digital channel together into a united, cohesive and successful marketing strategy.
If people want to see videos of your product/service, they visit your YouTube/Vimeo channel. For reading material, they go through your blog. And if you make a convincing case for your business through such content, they will call you instead of you cold calling them.
The four stages of the Inbound Marketing methodology
Stage 1: Draw
In this stage, blogs, online video channels and social media presence are the most important tools to help people understand the necessity for a service. For example, a mutual fund company would write about the need for savings and investments in general instead of a specific product.
Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing. – Rebecca Lieb
SEO, SEM and SMM help strangers find these articles and become visitors—provided adequate analysis has been done to target precise buyer personas.
Stage 2: Acquire
Here, if visitors find the content educating, compelling and useful, they will be agreeable to provide their contact details for more. The deal can be sweetened further by offering something in exchange too like free ebooks, guides etc.
Compelling calls-to-action, lead capture forms and relevant landing pages help acquire lead information from visitors.
Stage 3: Close
Not all leads are alike, right? So, a cardinal mistake to avoid is passing on any and every lead to Sales. Instead, engage some more with them through targeted content leading to further calls-to-actions. Qualify the leads before sending them to Sales. This will lead to better lead prioritization and increased closure rates.
Emailers, lead scoring, outbound calls, workflows, product demos are some of the important tools to use in this stage to successfully close out sales with qualified leads.
Stage 4: Reap
Provide extraordinary customer service to delight and build trust. This means resolving queries/complaints swiftly, taking feedback regularly, innovating continually to stay ahead of competition and so on.
Delighted customers are easier to cross sell, up sell or deep sell to. More importantly, they will become loyal advocates of the entity and promote its products/service.
Feedback surveys, remarketing, mobile apps, effective CRM, regular social monitoring and engagement are some of the practices to delight customers and reap the benefits thereof.
By applying the right digital tool at the appropriate time to the envisioned audience, the online marketing strategy obtains focus and purpose—this is the heart of the inbound marketing methodology.
From being a noisy megaphone bragging about itself, inbound marketing transforms a brand into an approachable magnet that attracts potential customers.
“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue” – Andrew Davis