In today’s digital age, potential customers are more informed than ever. In fact, prospects have made 60 percent of their buying decision before even talking to a sales representative.
This means that more often than not, potential prospects have already made up their mind about how your product meets their specific needs before they even connect with a member of your team.
Creating content that aligns with the customers’ interest has been a topic that marketers have wrestled with since the dawn of the industry. And with the increasing complexity of marketing channels, customers are provided with more content options at the click of the mouse, and are able to self-educate more so than ever before. This thirst for new content is where inbound marketing comes into play.
Inbound Marketing at a Glance
Traditional outbound marketing tends to focus on fighting for the attention of prospective customers. But with inbound marketing strategies—an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful, not interruptive—potential customers are now discovering companies that they naturally gravitate to.
What makes an effective inbound marketing strategy? Here are a few tips to begin turning strangers into customers and promoters of your business:
Know Your Audience
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most important aspects of inbound marketing, and marketing in general. Understanding your audiences, their pain points, what triggers their interests and how they receive content, is paramount in developing an inbound strategy. There’s no way to convey your message to its target demographic without the initial knowledge of who that audience is. Researching the types of content that engages customers in your industry is central to any inbound approach. Do they prefer print or video? Where are they reading and consuming content? These types of questions are essential when it comes to understanding audiences.
Developing buyer personas are at the core of this approach, as they take you one-step further than demographics and media preferences, and help you hone in on the customers pain points and triggers. By knowing what scenarios might trigger these personas to begin researching alternatives and what problems you can help them solve, you are able to capture that prospects attention when they are looking for alternatives. By ensuring you have the proper content in place, you help your prospects solve their problems.
Ensure Metrics are in Place
Metrics help inbound marketers validate their strategy, and are critical to understanding how particular marketing strategies and channels are working. When evaluating metrics, look at SEO (search engine optimization) performance, how many views the content is getting, in addition to social media traffic. Other key metrics to watch are the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away after viewing just one page), as well as time users spend on the website. These will help you further understand if you are targeting the right audience, or if your strategy needs to be altered.
You can also track the quality of leads by the number of new names you are gathering in your database. If your content is successfully providing answers to your prospects questions and they’ve engaged with your content by completing a form to gain access to appropriate content, you’ve achieved the first step toward lead generation.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be wrong. Seeing what is and isn’t working is critical to being able to adapt your strategy.
Understand Inbound May Not Always be the Answer
Each prospect is unique. They differ in how they do business, and how they gain information. With this in mind, sometimes inbound marketing simply isn’t the right fit. Certain personas may react better to direct mail pieces, while others engage more with social media. Ultimately, your goals and end game will help define the best marketing approach, a critical element to defining any marketing strategy.
If you want to learn more about how we’ve put our inbound marketing to work, check out our experience with clients like PPG Teslin and Axiall Water Treatment Products. Contact us to learn more about our marketing approach and how inbound marketing can be integrated into your marketing mix.