02 Mar Inbound Marketing Demystified
Traditional marketing like cold calling, telemarketing, direct mail, signage, etc. can all feel very uninspiring and ineffective today. It’s no longer enough to pick up the phone and pitch your service, in large part, simply because people don’t pick up the phone any more.
How are you getting leads if yesterday’s tactics are no longer working?
The answer is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing uses today’s digital channels to draw attention to your brand, service or product. This differs from conventional advertising that relied on going to the customer to draw attention to your brand.
No strategy, no dice
At the core of inbound marketing is strategy. Once a well-thought out strategy is in place, you can use consistent messaging to amplify it. The key is integration across channels, reaching your targeted market at the right time with the exact message that resonates right where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Now we can look under the hood and get dirty. This is what some very bright marketing people do today. They create personas for the demographic they are targeting and develop messaging that speaks their language. They draw them to want to use their product or service by generating the type of content that elicits the desired response, whether this is to subscribe to an email list, sign up for a webinar, download a digital asset such as an infographic or white paper, and so on. These types of user behaviors are considered micro conversions. When an end user signs up for service or makes a purchase, these are complete conversions (sometimes called macro conversions).
When you have a successful inbound marketing strategy in place, all moving parts are working together. There are no longer any one-off shots. You can’t simply send out one email and wait for the leads to come pouring in.
Rather, the inbound marketing ecosystem success formula relies on multiple cogs and wheels all turning at the right times and nourishing each other. From the front end, it’s equal parts authentic message, original and compelling visuals, and of course, an offer that brings some kind of value to the intended recipient, who has a degree of interest in what you are selling.
Meanwhile, back behind the scenes in the laboratory are the analytical wizards who work on the who, what, where, when, how, why and how often pieces of the puzzle. They are the ones who are responsible for qualifying the leads you are targeting. They can look at online behavior analytics to segment into different buyer personas to map out where they are at the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Let’s look at two possible leads, at different places in the cycle:
Example 1: Johnny B., IT Manager, SaaS Company
He may have come to your site multiple times, each time (in a perfect world), he’s taken a deeper dive into exploring the assets your site has to offer: first visiting the About and FAQs pages. During his second visit, he watched a video case study of a former client. The third time he signed up for the e-newsletter and tutorial.
Example 2: Marcia Estevan, Senior VP, Online Lender
She’s come to the site through the home page, then visited the Media page where she reviewed a press release about the addition of a new partner joining the team.
Obviously these two leads will score differently and are at different places in the funnel. Hence, in a well-oiled inbound marketing universe, Johnny and Marcia will receive different messages, custom-tailored to their respective places in the buyer’s cycle, via any targeted offers that hit their inbox. Johnny is close to converting to a sale, while Marcia undoubtedly needs a little more exploring. She would be an excellent candidate to learn more about your plans. A comparison guide would be a nice asset for her to “see” next. A few case studies with glowing testimony to your product couldn’t hurt in deepening her interest, either.
Your data wizards can tell you what material to send and when. The ‘when’ is extremely important as there is a very delicate balance between providing someone useful information they want when they are ready as opposed to hammering them. Brute force is no longer an option with the level of quality and sophistication our current culture demands.
Of course, your analysts working behind the scenes get a little help from some cool toys available today. Marketing automation does just that—lets them input the data and automate entire nurture cycles. It’s just important to get that strategy in place first to set the foundation and get each of your inbound marketing players in place, to play their roles – the leaders to conceive and execute the strategy, the creatives to tell the story, the analytics folks to glean intelligence from the data and to helm the controls of the latest shiny new tools. It doesn’t hurt to also get your social magnifiers out on the front lines to man production. Rinse. Repeat.
Conclusion: When properly suited up with the right talent and tools, inbound marketing can be the instrument that draws customers to you, like bees to honey. Be patient and remember when you build it right, they will come.
If you have something of value you’d like to introduce to the market and are ready to give inbound marketing a try, let us hear your story, and we can help you map your strategy as part of our complimentary consultation service. Contact us today!