Do you know who’s looking for your product or service right now? Are you aware of the conversations people are having about you, your competitors or your industry? The best way to access all this invaluable market information is to listen. Who wouldn’t want to listen when 78% of web users go to the internet first when they’re thinking of buying a product or service? (Source: Hubspot Marketing).

Listening in inbound marketing is about applying advanced technology and social media to find out exactly where your potential customers are talking, whether that’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube or on other platforms – and what they’re talking about. This approach enables you to create and build online communities of people actively interested in your type of product or service. It includes two essential stages: Online research and applied technology.

Online research

Online research is your essential starting point – and your ongoing monitoring point, too. It covers:

Website research: Look at the websites of your competitors – and websites in the industry of your target audience, such as leading organisations and publications. These will give you a high level of insight when it comes to keywords and current topics.

Groups and communities: Industry websites for your target audiences will usually also have a Twitter and LinkedIn profile. Becoming followers or members of those profiles will give you vital intelligence about current topics and allow you to network with their members

Keyword research: With all the knowledge of target websites and social media profiles you should use tools like Raven, Google Insights and Yahoo Trends to find what people are currently searching for and to gather a bank of keywords and phrases to include in your content.

Applied technology

Using the right technology platforms will give you an invaluable insight into your marketing and your new and existing leads. These include:

Personalised dashboard: A personalised dashboard enables you to view, track and listen to what’s happening across all your different marketing channels, at once. Then you can gain a combined sense of what’s being said about your particular product or service – and how you can respond.

Advanced analytics: Listening isn’t only about finding new leads. It’s about nurturing your existing customers. By applying advanced analytics you can actually track the progress of your new lead into a new customer into a committed customer – giving you a much clearer picture of how your customers buy into your service or product.

Social media: Social media is one the quickest ways to gain an insight into what’s being said about your business. So pay attention to the conversation. Again, by using advanced tracking technology you can view the talk about your brand or business in real time – and respond and react quickly to new sales opportunities.

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