Much like making the decision to renovate your home or build new, making the shift to inbound marketing can be an overwhelming thought. While building new construction has the allure of something never lived in, it can be expensive and it typically doesn’t have its shortcomings of “new construction issues." For many, renovating a home you have lived in for years is the go-to option. You have a vision, a clear direction of where you’d like to improve your home and the features you love and want to keep intact. SO how does this apply to marketing? Well, chances are if you've seen great results from direct mail or radio advertising, you're hesitant to adopt a brand new marketing methodology. My thoughts? Don’t start new, build upon what you know is working, and adjust what isn’t.
So what's this inbound marketing thing you speak of? Rather than pushing your marketing messages out with hopes of capturing your target audience's attention, inbound marketing uses customer research, targeted keywords, and useful, relevant educational content to attract, engage, and convert potential customers. With nearly 60% of the buyer’s journey complete before they ever even speak with you, inbound marketing allows you to build a relationship with your prospective customer online before you even meet them. Ways to ease into Inbound Marketing.
Create buyer personas by interviewing existing customers and researching the data you have about your customers: Buyer personas are the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. They help you understand the motivation for purchasing, challenges and obstacles the customer faces getting there, and the research your customers go through to identify and assess their options. Buyer personas will help you identify what research they do online and what topics are of the greatest interest to your prospects. It also helps you assess what traditional marketing strategies you have used that have had an impact on your customers.
Have a social media strategy: Social media is like the welcome doormat at the front door. It encourages those who know you exist to engage with your company in a very different way than they would on your website. For customers on your social channels, your social strategy should build loyalty from your customer base. For prospects, knowing what relevant useful information your company has to offer (lead generation) or what your company stands for (brand awareness) are both ways to engage prospects visiting your social channels.
Convert visitors to leads on your website: As you create valuable content like eBooks, guides, checklists, or case studies, asking your prospect to exchange information with you in order to obtain this valuable piece of content is called conversion. Much like making the decision of which contractor you work with to renovate your home, this is a big step for prospects. What you offer must be valuable and worth the commitment of giving you their contact information.
Nurture leads with marketing automation: On average, website visitors will browse through your website 5-7 times before they are ready to exchange their information with you. Once you have this information, they are not typically ready to speak with a sales person. Nurturing the relationship through marketing automation allows you to tell your story with email marketing. As you nurture leads, you may be offering additional content they might find useful, or pointing them in the direction of where they can read testimonials or case studies about your services and how satisfied your customers are. Much like landscaping, marketing automation is what makes your company look appealing. It’s the first impression of your company’s ability to build a relationship with your prospective customers. Unfortunately, marketing automation is often overlooked or under-valued. Without it, leads can lose interest, or get distracted by other companies they researched in addition to yours. Landscaping, if not cared for, has the ability to create a terrible first impression. Think about negative online reviews. If you aren’t pointing prospects in the direction they can go to get valuable positive information about you, their research is much more likely to turn up something less than favorable about you. Landscaping that has been significantly neglected usually falls victim to weeds, overgrowth and unwelcome critters. With SO much information available online, if you don’t nurture prospects, it’s easy for them to forget they visited your website, and ultimately forget about you.
So do I renovate or build new when it comes to my marketing strategy? When it comes to marketing strategy, don’t start from scratch. Renovate your existing strategy to build upon marketing strategies you have deployed that are producing you results. Eliminate marketing strategies that simply aren’t cutting it and couple inbound and outbound marketing to get the best of both worlds.