16 Sep A Beginner’s Guide to Inbound & Content Marketing
Welcome to the world of inbound marketing! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve realized that the traditional methods of marketing aren’t working anymore. If you’re wondering why, think about why your clients aren’t requesting the same services you offered twenty or thirty years ago. As times change, styles change and people and their preferences change as well. The technological advancements that have been made over the past few years have caused these changes to happen more quickly, making “keeping up with the times” difficult, yet an absolute must for all businesses who strive to stay cutting edge.
In recognizing the fluidity with which people now interact with each other, inbound marketing addresses this new buyer persona and his buying process. This is one of the most important ways technology has affected the general public and companies alike. Landlines are disappearing and the mobile community is alive and well. We live in a fast-paced society where people are plugged in and on the move 24/7. So, when people have a problem, where do they go to find a solution? Take a guess.
Research hows that your potential client will turn to Google and social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) before they would ever turn to the Yellow Pages or a brochure in their mailbox. If they can’t find your company when doing so, you won’t be getting their business.
A few statistics to consider:
- On average, we conduct 12 billion searches per month on the web in the United States. (Comscore, July 2014)
- 61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. (Search Engine Watch)
- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. (HubSpot Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses, 2011)
For more inbound marketing statistics feel download our 10 Powerful Inbound Charts [http://offers.bakerlabs.co/10-powerful-inbound-marketing-charts-baker-labs].
Now, here’s the big question: How does the inbound marketing strategy work?
Understanding Your Current Clients
Inbound marketing is consumer focused and consumer driven and this is why it achieves such good results. Before you begin marketing to your target audience, it is important that you get to know your current clients by investigating their demographics with questions like:
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- What are they looking for in a product or service?
With these answers, you can tailor your marketing approach to catch the eye of the specific buyer you’re trying to attract.
Attracting Potential Clients
After you have a better understanding of your clients, you can start the process of attracting new ones. Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it focuses on engaging and interacting with consumers through captivating content rather than screaming sales pitches. Blogging about topics that interest your audience or answering popular questions is a great way to do this. Social media also gives you the opportunity to create dialogue between you and your buyers. You can provide updates on the awesome projects you’re working on or you can post a fun picture of your team’s Christmas party. People love personality and want to put their trust in something, and essentially, you want that something to be you. Your goal is to communicate that you’re not a big time corporation just hunting for a check. You love what you do, you care about how you do it, and you care about the people you do it for. If your audience has confidence in your business, and they’ve seen your work and expertise demonstrated over the last couple months, they will not hesitate to visit you, bring you into their home, and refer you to their families and friends.
Converting Potentials to Prospects
While blogging and regular social media posts are an excellent way to increase your website traffic, they are of very little practical use if they do not help you generate leads and develop a bigger client list. Inbound marketing allows you to directly communicate with website visitors who are interested in your services by capturing their contact information, specifically their email addresses. The best part about this process is that they are the ones giving you this information! You simply have to provide opportunities for them to do so. We recommend using Premium Content Offers, which are simply valuable assets you give a potential client in exchange for their contact information, usually an e-mail address. These offers can be anything from an informative eBook to an interactive quiz to a simple checklist.
Closing the Deal
Now that you have a list of people who have directly expressed interest in your company, it is time to find out how you can acquire their business. The best way to do this is by staying in regular contact with them through email. Sending regular nurturing emails gently remind your prospects you are there to help with their building needs and positions your name and company as a familiar expert. Email newsletters also work well because they provide readers with a glance at what your company has been doing that month. If the situation warrants, you can call your prospect directly to inquire about a service they referenced needing or to answer any questions they may have.
People who don’t seem interested in your services now may become clients later, so don’t become discouraged if your client list is shorter than your email list. Remember that everyone is at a different stage in the buying process and some just need a little more encouragement before they are comfortable making a decision, especially if the decision requires significant financial commitment. Consistent contact will maintain the relationship and remind those hesitating that you are there when they are ready.
Delighting Your Clients, Old and New
Inbound marketing operates with the understanding that a customer-minded business is the most successful. This being said, once you finish your work for a client, it is important to continue that relationship through email and maybe even the occasional phone call. Although this may require a little bit of effort on your part, the benefits of having a regular who provides you with a constant work flow or gives you a high-end referral makes it more than worth it.
At Baker Labs, we understand businesses like yours and the clients you serve. We know your potential buyers’ thought patterns and how they process information. We know what they are looking for when they have a question about a product or service and how they look for companies to meet their needs. Because of this, we have the ability to track these potential clients and lead them straight to you. As an expert in your field, you already have the answers and can easily be their solution… if only they can find AND trust you!
For more information on how we can help you be found on the web or if you have any other inbound marketing questions, please contact us.
Do you want to learn how to jump start your business with inbound marketing?
This fall, I am offering an instructional course with University of Tennessee Professional Development that will teach you how to get started with inbound and content marketing For more information, including how to register, click here.
If you’re interested in finding out what other social media and digital marketing classes are available in the fall, click here to view a detailed list.