You’ve just been emailed a link to a funny video on YouTube and your friend texts, asking if you’ve watched it yet. You click the link, prepared to laugh, only to be served an ad you must watch for 20 seconds on chewing gum. You didn’t ask for that ad, and frankly, you might not like to chew gum.
While marketing may be transitioning online, traditional methods — what we call interruptive messages — are still being used, like the chewing gum ad showing before your video starts. This type of marketing isn’t pleasant for the viewer. And in some instances, it might backfire.
Inbound Marketing as an Alternative
As buying habits change, marketing to buyers needs to change as well. That’s why more businesses are using inbound marketing as an alternative. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be educated.
So what is inbound marketing? Hubspot defines inbound marketing as a fundamental shift in the way we do marketing. Instead of the interruptive and intrusive way we previously did business, inbound educates and helps customers make smarter decisions.
What does that mean exactly? It means your business and your sales staff should be a resource for consumers and potential customers. Instead of selling something, you’re offering information.
Let’s take a closer look. To offer relevant information to customers or potential customers, you have to know who they are. Think about your business and types of products and services you offer. What need do you fill? Create a buyer persona based on the type of person that would be most likely to buy from you. Now, identify what type of information would be important and helpful to them.
4 Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
In a buyer’s journey, there are four stages. Having relevant content and information for each stage will help you close and convert a sale. But you also have to do four things to be successful in creating an inbound marketing strategy.
1. Attract strangers to become visitors
More than 2 billion people use the internet. Are all those people potential customers for your business? Probably not. Identify your buyer persona to create content to attract the right person.
2. Convert visitors to leads
When you attract a visitor, you’ve probably provided them some general tips on their issue. Now you want to help your potential customer learn more about the specifics of their problem and how to solve it. By providing free content that can be easily accessed, your potential customer uses you as a resource and learns to trust you.
3. Close leads to customers
In the decision stage, your potential customers will want product comparisons, case studies, a trial download or a live demo. They’ve decided on their solution strategy and approach at this point.
4. Delight customers so they become promoters
Retain your customers and upsell them. By continuing your customer service and engaging them after the sell, they’ll tell their friends and share their experience on social networks.
Make sure you are analyzing each step of your campaign. Plan your content and identify topics that matter to your prospective buyer. Distribute your content online through blog posts, social media, and e-marketing. And be consistent. Take what you’ve learned from each campaign and apply it to the next one. And make sure to follow up with customers to make them feel like their needs are important to you.
As always, we are here to help. We’d love to hear from you if you have inbound marketing any questions.