Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing

is based on the idea of attracting prospective customers instead of chasing them. The reasoning for this approach is that, by providing content or service that a prospect finds helpful, the relationship begins in a positive vein. The prospect begins the relationship on their terms and at their pace, rather than on a schedule dictated by a sales person’s calls or meetings. The advantage to this approach, especially for the digital marketer, is that by providing valuable information accessible to everyone, prospects will self-qualify, reducing the need for the marketer to winnow through leads. Moreover, the potential for many more customers is there, because the marketer no longer has to develop a list of leads through the traditional methods of research, trade shows, mass mailings, etc.
The process comprises four steps: attract, convert, close, delight. Let’s look at each in more detail.

Attract Visitors

Based on a thorough understanding of their customers, marketers craft content that is immediately useful to a visitor. Marketers accomplish this by creating buyer personas–detailed profiles of their target buyer, including their beliefs, fears, desires, job roles, etc. The better you understand your customers, the more likely the content you provide will attract more of the same type of person. Armed with this knowledge, the marketer deploys content on websites, social media, blogs etc., and uses search engine optimization (seo) to make  it easy to be found in search.

Convert Visitors to Leads

Once you have attracted visitors to your content, you want to begin a helpful conversation with them. The most common way to do this is to have visitors fill out a short form that includes their contact information. They may provide this information in exchange for an offer; for example, a free consultation, an information package, or a product sample. This is sometimes referred to as a “lead magnet”.

Close to Turn Leads Into Customers

Your conversation may evolve into text chats, Skype sessions, or meetings. At some point in your conversation, it may become evident that your prospect has a need you can help them with. Now is the time to really listen to what your prospect is telling you, and to reflect on your previous conversations. In the excitement it is tempting to propose solutions before you know the whole story. You may think you have the answer, but how do you know that your prospect is really clear  on their own goals? Do you know your prospect’s future plans? Their budget? Who, besides them, needs to be  involved in a decision? Remember the prime directive of Consultative Selling: You are not selling a product, you are helping your customer succeed.

Delight Your Customers

By this time you are working with your customer on a project, or  maybe  you are still rounding out the details of your project…building a proposal, clarifying scope, choosing designs, getting sign offs, etc. The point is, by this time you have a pretty good relationship with your customer.

All through the process you have shown  them that you are as committed to their success as they are. Perhaps now that you have a clearer understanding of their project you can apply  your experience with similar customers to give your new customer valuable insight on their challenges. Maybe you can help them foresee problems and suggest solutions.

And you follow up. Once you have completed a project you make certain they are happy. You provide, where possible, ways for them to measure success.