As a business owner, large or small, you recognize the value and importance of finding new clients on an ongoing basis. You may think it’s rather challenging finding new ways to bring in customers or that the methods you used a few years ago are not working as well as they did.
That doesn’t mean your business needs to suffer. Rather, it’s time for a switch to a more modern, digital strategy to attract the best clients. From there, you need the right tools and digital resources to help you to maintain those clients long-term. Not only does that reduce your marketing costs, but it also ensures you’re getting the most for every dollar you spend on it.
How do you do this? There are a range of key features and methods available to help you. With the help of the right team of marketing professionals, you’ll learn more about the opportunities available to your company. Here are some key areas to start learning about as you make this switch.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to attract customers to you. That’s the key word here, “attract” because the goal is to encourage people to come to you. It’s all about forming connections with customers based on what they are already interested in and need help with. In other words, you’ll provide solutions to your client’s problems to make an impact on their needs.
With inbound marketing, your goal is to create a tailored experience based on what the client needs and wants. You then connect with the consumer at the right time when they are most likely to buy or need those services. This two-component approach – tailored and on-time delivery – helps to make inbound very effective across most industries.
What Makes Inbound Different from Outbound Marketing?
What you may be used to doing in terms of marketing is called outbound marketing. The short definition is that you are putting content in front of people that didn’t ask for it and may not have any interest in it. A key problem with outbound is that consumers are already so inundated with these types of marketing efforts that they don’t see them any longer.
That’s not to say that outbound doesn’t have its place – it most certainly does. It works well to help replenish your sales cycle. Most companies need to continue to use outbound marketing on a routine basis. It’s things like email blasts to the customers that previously purchased your product, traditional advertising, remarketing, and other methods of traditional and digital advertising including search engine marketing and social media marketing.
Another reason why outbound marketing is still beneficial is that it helps to track your pipeline. You learn where your customers are coming from so you can better market to those individuals.
Examples of Inbound Marketing
Many methods of inbound marketing exist. Remember, this is the type of marketing in which you are providing information and support to customers based on what their needs are. They are coming to you to find solutions. Here are some of the most important types of inbound marketing.
Topical Blogs: A blog on the topic of the product or service you sell allows people to get the answers they need online. It also helps with search engine ranking so people who have a problem and are searching for it online can find your business.
Social Media Campaigns: Being an active presence on social media is quite important for businesses, as well. These campaigns position valuable information and interesting data in front of customers. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the most common.
Ebooks: Gone are the days of not providing a significant amount of information to your client before they will buy. Ebooks provide an easy method for doing this. When someone needs to learn something, an ebook is an excellent way for businesses to provide that information while also capturing email addresses for ongoing marketing methods.
Search Engine Optimization: You know it as SEO. It’s the method of using search engine users to your website using keywords and other strategies based on what they are looking for online. It’s a valuable component of any marketing campaign.
Viral Videos: Video is one of the fastest-growing segments of marketing because it provides such an incredible amount of personality, depth of information, and interesting content that it stands out. Consumers are always connected to the internet. Streaming videos is an easy way to take in content.
Web-based Seminars: Often known as webinars, these are opportunities for you to share your knowledge with a large group of people who want it – and often will pay for it – with a long-term goal of turning these attendees into buying customers. Easier than ever to put on, webinars attract some of the best, highest paying clients in some industries.
Examples of Outbound Marketing
As noted, outbound marketing most certainly has its place in your advertising strategy. It’s still valuable to put your brand out there and to build your business by reaching out to customers. There are many ways to do this. Here are just a few.
Cold Calls: Picking up the phone and calling prospective clients still works in some industries. The goal should be to have clients that are already somewhat interested in what you offer, but you’re still doing the presentation of that information to them. Cold calling can often get the attention of people who would not otherwise have known about your company.
Direct Mail: Another opportunity that remains valuable, though more expensive in terms of client outreach, is direct mail. Do you still get letters, sales flyers, and promotional offers in your own mail each day? You look through them and, if something interests you, you still call. The same is true for your prospects. Depending on the industry, you want to reach out in this format based on who your target customer is.
Email Campaigns: A digital form of reaching out, with email campaigns, you’ll take the email addresses you’ve received in various ways and reach out to your customer or client. Giving away a free ebook, for example, allows you to capture their email address. You can then send them messages over a period of time – with their permission – to keep them up to date and to keep your business fresh in their minds.
The key concept of inbound marketing strategy is that your inbound marketing strategy has to do more than just get people to your website. Rather, you also need to continue to help and support their needs to find a solution to their problem and then empower them with the right tools after they become that customer. It’s quite an important concept in building your business. You need to market to them, sell to them, and then serve them, so they come back to you.
This is the flywheel concept of inbound marketing. There are three key components of it to help build your business:
Attract: To bring people into your business, you need to develop content, such as building a library of articles, using social media, and blogging. You also want to incorporate SEO to rank higher on sales results pages.
Engage: Engaging with customers means that you need to communicate with your customers with the goal of building a good long-term relationship with them. That means providing solid customer service reps to meet their needs. It’s also important to focus on selling a solution rather than selling a product.
Delight: Keeping your customers happy even after they buy is the next component. Providing assistance to them, through technology like chatbots, can help you. Use a satisfaction survey a few months after the purchase to get feedback. Social media listening also fits in here – learn what people are saying about your business online.
Know Your Client
For inbound marketing to work, you need to know who your customer is. Developing target personas that outline the demographics and features of your most likely buyer takes a good amount of research and development. Yet, it ensures you’re positioning your marketing properly.
The customer needs to be at the center of everything you do within your business. This includes your marketing, but also every product launch, every newsletter that goes out, and even the ads you place on billboards. Don’t focus on your company – focus on your customer and his or her needs.
Gain Momentum as You Reduce Flywheel Friction
When you work this model, you benefit right away from attracting better prospects to your business. These are people most likely to buy from you or to make the biggest investments in your company. Yet, to make that happen, you have to engage with your customers and ensure they walk away with a purchase but also a great experience. This is what is going to solidify them as your long-term customer.
More so, when you delight your customers with ongoing support, they become your #1 supporter in finding new customers. Word of mouth is very real. Reviews online are very impactful to your business.
Successful inbound marketing helps to grow your business by flipping the tables. You are not focused on who the customer is, how to reach them, and what to give them to truly create a valuable experience for their needs.