Inbound marketing strategy is the complete reverse of conventional outbound marketing, for example broad advertising; cold calling, bulk blanket email marketing etc. Outbound is splatter gun approach to firing messages at a wide undefined audience and praying your communication appeals to small percentage, while inbound marketing concentrates on targeting distinct potential customers who are more likely to become customers. Potential clients who are not ready to buy your products/services, or perhaps looking for products/services that you don't supply should not be considered hot leads and subsequently, should not be focused on or nurtured through the sales process.
Understanding inbound marketing
Inbound marketing, is a structured methodology that involves generating quality content that is extremely pertinent to your targeted customers, that are both a great fit, extremely engaged at that time, therefore more likely to convert into a sale.
The philosophy is really quite simple, match your premium content, such as blog posts, eBooks and social media posts etc with your preferred audience's interests and you certainly will entice people already searching for your products/services and therefore more inclined to become qualified leads.
The way inbound works
It all begins by identifying who your ideal customers are, so for example consider:
- Who are our perfect clients?
- What are their desires, questions, problems?
- Where are they located?
- How do they spend their time online ?
- What social media do they use
Accurately defining your perfect buyer, known as buyer personas is essential to execute effective inbound marketing. The more you concentrate on your buyer personas, the greater the chance they will find your content.
Once you have determined who your prospective customers are, you will need to plan the way they will engage and connect with your website. This allows you to produce compelling content that talks directly to your potential clients, determine the best locations for call-to-actions, contact forms and landing pages that motivate visitors to move further through your marketing and sales funnel.
Content that attracts hot leads
There are many types of content that you can employ to attract your potential customers, such as lively social media activity, eBooks, how to guides, hint and tips, videos, etc., however your business blog will undoubtedly become your most effective link to your clients and prospects.
I can't emphasise enough how essential your blog is to develop an engine to deliver a consistent stream of hot leads. Your blog will enable you to attract prospects by offering interesting educational information and intriguing content in a far more casual fashion.
Creating and distributing all of this information may seem overwhelming at first, however don't forget that your inbound marketing ROI will be significantly higher than conventional outbound methods.
Lead nurturing is not a sprint it's a marathon
Leads typically occur at the top of the funnel, right after they begin searching for information and whilst in the early phases of the sales lifecycle know as the "awareness stage" of the "buyers journey".
As prospective customers advance along the marketing funnel they become more informed, discovering more knowledge about the questions, problems and products/services that they are considering, and therefore because your targeted content is pertinent to these preferences, they begin to recognise your brand as an expert in the market, building trust and confidence.
It is vital for you to nurture your qualified hot leads up to the point that your prospects confidence is earned and that they recognise your brands benefits, before you consider moving closer to closing sales.
Excellent content that enlightens prospects instead of selling your brand is absolutely the best way to progress from initial prospect contact to a qualified lead who is ready to buy.