Business growth begins and ends with your customers. When it comes to marketing strategies, the customer is the only logical place to start. Without an in depth understanding of who your customers are, and what they need, you can’t create value for them or effectively communicate with them.
This is what makes Inbound Marketing so powerful. It’s about your customers, and creating marketing your customers will love.
Traditional marketing methods, such as TV, radio, print ads, and direct mail, no longer work as they once did because the customer is now in control. In the age of AdBlockers, Spotify and Netflix, customers are in charge of the advertising they are exposed to. So, marketers cannot continue to push out generic messaging to broad audiences and expect to achieve the same results they may have achieved in the past.
The key to successful marketing, is to create marketing your customers love and will want to see. It needs to be personalised, and it needs to be designed with your specific customer in mind. Inbound marketing does just that. It is a marketing strategy designed for your customer. It considers the entire customer journey, and applies targeted techniques such as content creation, email marketing and social media, using messages and creative that your customers will love. It’s a bit like marketing with a magnet, and pulling in customers who are eager to learn more about your business.
How it Works
Step 1 – attract: You may have heard the saying, content is king, and it’s true. Inbound starts with the creation of compelling content that will attract your customers to your website. When you really understand your customers (their problems, needs and lifestyles), you can create content that resonates with them, and that solves their problem, or addresses their need. Content can include blogs, videos, webinars, e-books or info graphics, which you share through social media, email marketing and a strong search engine optimisation strategy.
Step 2 – convert: You’ve now got customers on your website, who have a problem or need that your business can solve. Fantastic! It’s time to convert them into a lead. This is done through clever calls-to-action and offers that encourage users to share their contact details with you.
Step 3 – close: Now that you have their contact details, it’s time to get personal. You can learn a lot about a customer through the use of data, analytics and marketing software, such as knowing what pages they read on your website, or what emails they clicked on. You can use this information to build a relationship with them, provide them more value, and close the sale.
Step 4 – delight: This is probably the most important step, because it’s always easier to keep loyal customers, than it is to acquire new ones. The beautiful thing about inbound is that when you gain a new customer, you already know them, you have a relationship with them and you’ve built trust. Step four is simply about maintaining those relationships and retaining happy customers. You can do this by creating additional valuable content, engaging with them on social media, communicating through email, and asking for feedback in surveys.
So, how does inbound marketing transform businesses? Firstly, it increases return on investment from your marketing spend. When you are marketing to a targeted audience (rather than a broad one), you’re more likely to generate higher quality leads, that are genuinely interested in your business. So the cost per sale is lower. Check this out for yourself – there are case studies all over the internet outlining how inbound marketing has increased ROI 3X, 6X and even 10X for businesses across the world.
Secondly, you are creating content that continues to work for you in the long-term. A blog post or a video can continue to bring in new leads a year or more after it’s published.
And lastly, you are building strong relationships and creating happy customers who will most likely continue to purchase from you and become a valuable advocate for your brand.
It is important to understand that inbound isn’t an immediate solution – most businesses that consistently implement this strategy see an impact within 6-9 months. It’s a long-term strategy, however it delivers measurable results that can be a bit like compound interest, as it continues to pay dividends.
If you’ve got ambitious growth objectives for your business, you need a marketing strategy that works for you along the entire marketing and sales funnel. An inbound marketing strategy can be just the ticket.
This article was written by Angela Henderson and was originally published in the Hunter Headline.