The people have spoken: “We have the power and we know how to use it.”
In the old days, marketers had the upper hand, but that all changed when the internet came about. Now, consumers have an access to information that is practically limitless. Not only that, customers can find the info they need at their convenience. When you take this into account, it’s easy to see why outbound methods can come across as invasive. Just ask the 200 million Americans that are registered on FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
Inbound Marketing shifts the focus from pushing a sale to educating customers. With helpful content (blog articles, eBooks, etc.) customers receive valuable solutions and form a positive brand association. As you know, this the fast track to qualified lead land.
Going from intrusive to informative does involve a change in philosophy. But if you’re willing to put people first, you’ll have no trouble making the switch.
Here are the keys to unlocking the power of Inbound Marketing:
1. Align Marketing and Sales into a dynamic-duo
You have to understand your customers to truly connect with them. Sales holds one piece of the puzzle, and marketing has the other. Combine the two and you’ll have a customer-centric engine that can’t be stopped.
Sales professionals often have the most direct interaction with customers. So, in a way they’re experts on customer pains and needs. Marketing can take their insights and craft detailed Buyer Personas and Buyer Journeys. By utilizing these roadmaps, both departments will have a common understanding of their customers.
Working together as a cohesive unit can only make a campaign more targeted and efficient. It also gives your content the specificity it needs to resonate with customers during each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
2. Help prospects discover your solution on their own
We all went to school with a kid who never did their homework. Today, you can bet that person is a genius when it comes to doing their “homework” before they make a purchase.
B2B buyers are as equally savvy as your old classmate. According to a statistic by CEB, the majority of B2B buyers complete 57%-70% of their research before contacting a vendor. Key takeaway: Initiate contact with prospects during the research stage.
Acquaint yourself with where your consumers are gathering their data. This way you won’t be caught off guard by any unsuspected objections. Plus, it will give you some great ideas for content.
By helping prospects through the research stage, you establish yourself as a trusted resource. Best of all, you capture their interest while they’re still wide-eyed and excited. Information overload tends to jade prospects, so the earlier you catch them the better.
3. Nurture prospects into qualified leads
Don’t get us wrong, boosting web traffic is a central part of Inbound Marketing. However, its real strength comes from nurturing a lasting relationship with customers.
You’ve done the hard work of getting visitors to your site. Keep the ball rolling by pointing them to other relevant articles and resources.
Premium Content offers like eBooks and whitepapers will quickly become your best friends. To access these goodies, users have to supply their email addresses. Only happy prospects are going to do this, so they won’t be put off when they get a personalized email from you.
The Bottom Line
Blog Inbound Marketing is an effective, non-intrusive method for educating customers. More than ever, people lean on content to do much of their research, and why wouldn’t they? It allows them to find the answers they need at their leisure.
The days of the hard sell are quickly fading. Marketers have to adapt and take a more consultative approach to delight their customers. Content can be a powerful tool, but it takes a thoughtful strategy to yield the best results.