It’s the “inbound” way…
Most companies at some stage in their lifecycle need to do marketing to attract new customers – after all, new customers are the lifeblood of any business. So what’s the best way to spend your precious marketing budget? Buy some ads in your local newspaper, buy some data so you can start cold calling prospects, publish press releases and start sending out mailshots, heck – even try some Google Adwords? Wrong. All these things are fighting for the attention of the customer and wasting your money. This is the old way – and we call that “outbound” marketing.
In 2016 if you want to see results from your marketing, stop spending (or cut back initially) on those outbound tactics above and focus instead on “inbound” marketing strategies.
So what is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is all about a ‘sharing is caring’ philosophy
It might take you a bit of time to get comfortable with that. I sense you thinking… “if I’m giving away all of what I know for free, then why is someone going to work with me?” – but trust me it works. By giving away valuable content for free, designed to appeal to your ideal customer, you attract like-minded people to your business and eventually turn them into a customer and ultimately a fan of your business. This is the ideal you should be striving for with every new customer acquisition. From reading the content you give away, these people will want to work with you as they see you as an expert, and they’ll hire you because they see value in what you do as the go-to expert in your field. Inbound marketing is waaaay more effective at turning complete strangers who never knew you existed into customers because it position you and your company as the number 1 fountain of knowledge in your industry. Here’s a top level overview of what the inbound marketing methodology looks like: This diagram shows you:
- The first step is to “attract” people to your website – you do this through blog posts, search engine optimisation and publishing social media posts.
- Next you aim to “convert” these people on your website into leads.
- Then your leads go through your sales funnel (there’s some cool automation things you can do here).
- They become “customers”
- And finally they turn into “promoters” of your business if you’ve done a great job, delivered a great product or service and made their lives easier.
- It shouldn’t just end here either. If you continue marketing to your existing customers in the right way you can really extend their life time value to your business.
How do you put inbound marketing in place?
In order for your inbound marketing to be successful, we’d suggest you do the following:
Create your vision
Before you start anything you need to know where you are going. If you don’t have a vision or philosophy you might end up wasting a lot of time creating the wrong kind of content that attracts the wrong kind of customer.
Define your ideal customer
For your inbound marketing content to really resonate with your ideal audience you need to know who they are, what problems they face and what their values are. Armed with this information you will be clearer on what kind of content you can create that provides immense value to them.
Identify what makes your business special
What is your “secret sauce”? Why should people use you over others in your industry? Look at how you can offer services or a product that no one else is offering. Being clear on what makes you different is important when you’re creating content
What will your tone of voice be?
You need to decide on how your marketing material will sound when it’s read. This just ensures that all the content you write has a similar feel and voice. Wouldn’t it feel weird if a prospect read a blog post on your site that was confident and witty, and then jumped to another post that was written like an essay?
Make sure your sales person (or people) know you’re doing inbound marketing
In small companies it might be one or two people responsible for sales and marketing. Getting everyone on the same page is important so that everyone is aligned. Inbound marketing should help your sales team close more leads, because your prospects will be much more engaged with your business when they do reach out or when your sales team follows up.
Commit to execute
The best way to do this is to create a Google Calendar and commit to publishing content at a frequency that’s achievable for you and your business. We think 1 or 2 new pieces of content a week on your website is possible, along with say 4 or 5 social media updates (most of these updates can just be linking to the content you published on your website). Add some dates into your calendar each week when you can dedicate an hour to writing a valuable article, and set a reminder. Don’t forget to add in those social media updates too. If you commit to inbound marketing like this, you will start to see results after the first couple of months.
Is inbound marketing worth it?
Sure, inbound marketing is a little bit of a time investment on your part or your marketing team’s part, but the returns are well worth it. We see inbound as a long-term marketing strategy. You won’t see immediate results, but over time your efforts will reward you when compared to what you’d pay for traditional outbound methods that are usually hard to measure and very expensive. This is the future of marketing. Further reading:
- Content Marketing Editorial Calendar
- What is Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing
Interested to learn more about inbound marketing? If you’d like to get in touch with us to see how you can get started with inbound marketing, we’d be delighted to help.
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