Still making cold calls? Buying emails lists? Scrounging around for leads?
We’ll be blunt: Most traditional methods of outbound marketing suck. What consumer sits at home waiting for a salesperson to call and try to shove a product down their ear-holes? Do you think anyone actually gives their blessing to have their email address sold to the highest bidders so they can watch their inbox
If you are doing those things, AND you are still in business, you're one of the lucky ones. But wouldn't you rather be thriving than just surviving?
At Tribute Media, we believe wholeheartedly in the inbound approach to marketing. Why? Because it’s more effective in these digital-dominated times.
Inbound marketing builds your reputation and gives your business a solid foundation on which it can grow and prosper. Your customers and prospects prefer this approach, which leads to greater success for your company.
How does inbound marketing do these things? By enticing the right customers to come to you.
Outbound marketing involves a sort of carpet-bombing approach to informing customers about your business. It could mean sponsoring events, paying for radio and TV ads, making billboards and more.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, focuses on drawing in your dream customers. You do this by creating and sharing content that speaks directly to these people—their problems, their needs, their aspirations.
With substantive, personalized content, you can attract more qualified prospects. Better still, not only will they come back for more, these people will help promote your business and get you even more leads.
Shifting to an inbound approach to marketing takes a substantial shift in thinking from traditional, outbound marketing strategy. This resource page is designed to answer your questions about inbound marketing and help you shift your thinking so that you can utilize the methodology.
Inbound marketing should center around your audience, what they need, and where they spend time online. To better understand and speak to your audience, you must create buyer personas and make them the foundation of your marketing strategy. They will play a role in absolutely everything you do in marketing as well as drive your future success as a business.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client. You might have a half-dozen of these personas. You might only have one or two. While a buyer persona is NOT a real person, you may want to start with your favorite clients, figure out what they have in common, and then create a fictional representation that generalizes them. This is done through research, interviewing current customers and coworkers, and doing some internet stalking. This is all to discover trends and common habits of your customers. They include such information as:
Once you create your Buyer Persona, you will find yourself thinking things like:
Creating buyer personas helps you to define your audience and allows you to communicate with them in a way that is meaningful and helpful to them.
Once you figure out your buyer personas, you craft content that will take the people who fit these profiles through the process we all go through before making a purchase: the buyer's journey.
The buyer first starts to realize they have an issue but have not quite defined it yet.
The buyer clearly defines the issue and is ready to research possible solutions.
The buyer decides on a solution and is ready to buy.
In order for your potential customers to find value in your content, it needs to align with the stage they've reached. When you know your buyer personas AND understand the buyer's journey, you can be sure to offer the right people the right content at the right time where they spend time online.
To successfully guide your personas through the buyer's journey, you'll want to understand these four key steps or actions on inbound marketing:
In the first step, you pique the customer’s interest with an offer that they can benefit from. You do this through:
This content needs to be where your buyer personas are, and it must speak to their needs. When it does, it will draw them to your website.
Once you’ve attracted visitors to an offer on your site, you convert them into leads. You can't just ask for their email address, though. Instead, you offer them valuable content that will help them solve a problem. These could be:
These visitors fill out a form to download the content, but it's not as though their email address is just the currency that buys this content. As you are establishing yourself as a valuable resource to them, they'll be happy to receive more helpful information from you.
Typical tools for converting site visitors into leads include:
So you’ve attracted the right people and converted them into leads. Next, you need to turn those leads into customers.
At this point, different marketing tools can come into play to ensure that you close the right leads. These include:
Great! You’ve closed the deal and made the sale. That’s the end of the process, right?
Nope. It’s just the beginning.
With inbound marketing, the connection between you and your customers doesn’t stop after a sale. Instead, you cultivate those relationships and give the people value above and beyond what they expected.
The ways you delight your customers can vary. You could invite them to take a survey and use their feedback to fine-tune your offerings. You could address their problems and questions via social media.
However you do it, the focus is on turning your clients into active promoters of your business. It’s about generating the most powerful form of marketing—word of mouth.
The goal of any inbound marketing campaign is to convert your audience, your contacts, your leads, your prospects, into paying customers and raving fans of your business. And when you create an offer or an event, you are engaging that audience and showing them you've got what it takes to earn their business. You are building a relationship and earning trust and proving that your company can best serve their needs or that your product will solve their problems. So where do you start?
You've pored over buyer personas and invested in understanding your audience. You've concocted a compelling offer, a valuable piece of content, or a meaningful event that will speak to your leads in one of the phases of the buyer's journey. Now it's time to put it all to work.
For many people who will go on to engage with your offer, this is the beginning of the path. Your CTA points to your landing page. It is one of the flashiest arrows in your campaign. It can be a button or a graphic, and you can place it on social media, in your blog posts and web pages, anywhere your audience is spending time and signaling that they may want more of what you have to offer.
Though it may be one of the first pieces of collateral your audience sees, we recommend creating it last in your processes, as the CTA largely depends on the content of your landing page and thank you page.
Campaign consistency starts here. You want the same look and feel for your CTA and throughout your landing page and thank you page. If a user clicks on your CTA and ends up on a page that looks nothing like the CTA they clicked on, they’re likely to leave the page without doing anything because they’ll think they ended up in the wrong place.
The whole purpose of a landing page is to "sell" your offer. Even if the offer is actually free, your goal is to collect contact information of the people interested in your business, and that information is currency. This type of offer is known as “gated content.” A user fills out a form to get your content delivered to their inbox. If your offer is an event, the form serves as kind of an RSVP and you can send your guest list updates leading to the event.
The form is the most critical component in landing pages, so make sure you take the time to do it right!
The primary purpose is to make good on your promises from the landing page. In other words: hand over the goods! The secondary purpose is to direct the visitor to anything else they may find valuable.
Instead of Interrupting, Work on Attracting.
Beyond your CTAs, landing pages and thank you pages, there are dozens of other campaign assets to consider. Remember how we said that the CTA is one of the first pieces of your campaign the visitor interacts with? Well, that is a little misleading. It is the first in the controlled path from the CTA to landing page to thank you page. But where does the CTA live? In order for someone to see your CTA, they have to have found you in some other way. That can include:
Then you need to ask yourself some follow-up questions:
The key in all of this is to constantly improve your offerings and ensure that they still align with your buyer personas needs and wants. Nothing is ever static in web marketing, so you have to learn to adapt constantly!