Traditional marketing works on the premise that if you make enough noise, have the loudest voice, or scream the longest in a public place then you will get heard by a larger audience. It makes sense and for many years it worked. It was the primary method that businesses adopted when marketing their products or services and it resulted in leads and sales. However, with a larger percentage of marketing budgets being switched to online this method is no longer the default.
The average internet user is no longer blinded by the flashing lights and images that in the early days of the internet persuaded them to stop surfing and crash kamikaze like down which ever rabbit hole the advert took them. Such marketing is seen as a hindrance, a mere distraction in stopping people doing what they went online for and that is why Inbound Marketing was born.
For businesses that market online, in fact any business, the goal is to providing compelling content to a highly targeted audience base that results in leads, conversions and sales.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing is about getting found by people that want to hear your message. It’s about working with a warm market as opposed to cold calling and interruption marketing where you reach out to people who in reality don’t have any desire to hear what you have to say.
Inbound Marketing is becoming more popular as business owners look for efficient and affordable ways to acquire new business leads. A comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy will consist of:
- Analysis and Conversion
All these aspects and more work in unison to target specific users who are looking for or who are already interested in learning more about your experience.
This means that the users are in essence pre-qualified, so you can be sure that your message is greeting welcoming ears rather than random outbound contacts.
Why is Inbound Marketing Important for business
The main goal of inbound marketing is to create informative content that is designed to convert browsers into leads, leads into customers and to keep previous customers loyal to your brand. It’s an attention marketing strategy where you use the content you create to attract people to your brand and then have them tell the world how great your experiences are.
It sounds like business Nirvana and for the select few businesses that manage their inbound marketing strategy well, it is. However as you can imagine there can be a pretty big time investment associated with creating valuable content on a regular basis. So as a small business owner, why should you take the initiative and get started?
1. Raise Awareness
The first step is to raise awareness, as discussed we are not talking about slapping up a billboard with 70% off here. We are talking about providing something of incredible value to people who already have an interest or a desire to learn more about your experience. The best way to do that is to create content.
- Write an eBook
- Provide an email mini series
- Produce a video workshop
- Write a blog
- Produce a newsletter
The more great content that you have, the more that you can promote it. Just having one thing and pushing that to death is not the way forward.
Each and every piece of content you create is another brick in your online presence. Brick by brick you can build a library of informative resource material that you can use to attract new people, give to leads to learn more about your business and position yourself as an expert and authority. That leads me nicely to trust.
All things being equal, people will do business with people they trust. All things not being equal, people will do business with people they trust.
When you create something of great value and then give it to your customers because they deserve it, you create trust. You are not selling, you are not badgering them with advertisements or offers, you are providing value.
It’s building the ground work now for a long term and profitable relationship that you can cash in on later.
3. Lead Generation
The next part of the inbound marketing journey is turning this relationship into a lead. The user trusts your business and, if positioned correctly, your content should have enlightened them into your unique service proposition, told them your story and more importantly made it crystal clear exactly how you can help that individual overcome their problems.
Your content is helping desire by building your authority in the space and letting the user know in no uncertain terms that you, your services and solutions are the person to help them achieve their goals.
4. Repeat Buyers
This is the exciting bit, the action piece! This is the piece they show on the Hollywood trailer with the explosions and guns and the hot women. In reality, this is where you turn your lead into a sale and not just one sale. Your content works to build a solid relationship so that person buys from you again and again and again.
By using your content you can inform and educate your clients and followers into how to maximize their experience, how to get even more great benefits, how to solve even more problems by leveraging the other services and solutions that you have.
Don’t make your content a commercial, but do highlight how seamlessly two products go together for better results. Or show specific data that lets your customers see that people who purchase A and B together actually see a greater return on investment.
Shorten Sales Cycle
Over time, and once you have created a lot of informative and compelling content which is optimised for search engines, more and more people will find your content on the internet. That means more and more people will be sharing your content through social media and their own networks. A share on social media from someone your prospect already knows and trusts acts like a recommendation. If that person has a problem that your solution can solve then suddenly that person forgoes the first few stages of the sale cycle and goes directly to your main presence to learn more and to take action.
For businesses setting up an online presence, it is essential to understand the value and the dynamics of inbound marketing. The contemporary consumer is intelligent and demanding. The conventional strategy of bombarding them with web ads has proved to be pointless, with more and more users opting for applications which effectively filter out such advertising through pop-up blockers and ad-blockers.
The discerning consumer of today will be more impressed with relevant content that provides them with the tools to make better purchasing decisions. Being able to grasp this principle not only results in lower cost of marketing and higher conversion rates, but also builds quality traffic to your website that is relevant to your business.
Inbound Marketing is marketing and selling your products with authenticity and transparency.