We’ve already discussed why inbound marketing* is so effective in generating leads, but you might say: “Help! How exactly can I implement inbound marketing?” Maybe not, but you’re a clever person and you know your business could use inbound marketing to better promote itself. It’s easier than you think.
We’ll break down into 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Attract: Strangers → Visitors
Reel them in!
For this to happen, the people who are interested in your product would have to find you. In order to stick out from the depths of the vast Internet, you’ll have to sway the search results in your favour. This can be done through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is basically getting your website to be on the first few search results on Google, although how to do this exactly will be discussed another time.
The beauty of inbound marketing is the integration of your various marketing online platforms. From the content of your landing page (your ‘main’ website) or from the search engines, link them to your blogs and to your social media.
Appeal to buyer personas
Of course, you’d want the people visiting your site to be those most likely to become interested, or in marketing lingo, “leads”. These ideal customers are called buyer personas, and they are whom you build your whole business around. Hence, your website and your marketing have to cater to this specific type of buyers.
So to recap: Market your product such that your ideal customers find you on search engines and share your content using integrated platforms of blogging and social media.
Step 2: Convert: Visitors → Leads
Get their contact information
Once your website gets visitors, you’ll want to convert them into leads by obtaining their contact information. It is important to know whom you are dealing with; hence, contact information* are imperative. You’ll at least need their names and email addresses. This will give you a clear idea of what type of buyer personas you are working with.
Trade content for information
You can’t just go begging visitors for their contact information; nobody gives away something so personal so easily! You’ll have to offer something to them in return. Since you roughly know what kind of visitors your website appeals to (buyer personas), you can cater content directed at them. The content may come in the forms of e-books, whitepapers, success stories and tip sheets etc.
This is the button or link that encourages an action from the visitor, such as “Download ebook”. The calls-to-action must be appealing and noticeable.
If clicked, the customers should be brought to a landing page, where the offer from the call-to-action is fulfilled, and their contact information is collected using forms.
Once their information is collected, your visitors are now leads.
* If you ask for too much contact information, you may put your visitors off. This could be counterproductive for your marketing. So limit the amount of contact information you request for to about 3 fields, (e.g. First Name, Last Name and Email Address) at least for the first time. For leads at different points of your marketing funnel, different form lengths may work better; test the effectiveness of various form lengths and styles using A/B testing.
Step 3: Close: Leads → Customers
People want to interact with other people, not some automated reply system. By nurturing a personal relationship with the lead, you can make them more ready to buy.
As you get to know your buyer personas, you can send them email to follow up on them with relevant and useful content, which they may be interested in based on their prior downloaded content.
To go the next level, personalization of the email and messages can make the prospects feel like he or she is talking with a real person, and more trust between you and them is established. Personalization of email should be tailored towards the lead, e.g. if a visitor downloads a whitepaper of a certain topic, send him/her emails of similar and relevant information.
“More email means more content!” you might say. However, ensure that you do not make the customer feel suffocated or pressurized to make a decision. This defeats the purpose of building a relationship with the customer and could potentially put them off your product.
Once the customers are interested and ready to buy, close the deal.
Step 4: Delight: Customers → Promoters
Kudos! You’ve convinced your leads to purchase the product you are marketing. But, this doesn’t mean you can forget about them, and all good inbound marketers will continuously provide content and service for their customers to ensure that they are happy with the product. From an objective point of view, if these customers are so pleased with the product, they can in turn promote it.
Real-time customer interaction
This can be done via channels such as:
Smart calls-to-action: Offers that vary based on buyer personas or the readiness of the leads.
Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. to provide real-time customer service and keep customers up to date.
Email: This platform provides the opportunities for marketers to send them relevant and useful content.
Based on what is already known about prospects, you can market them with products that are likely to be of interest to them. Having read this post, you now know how to implement Inbound Marketing, so get cracking!
* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.