If you’re new to digital marketing, you might be slightly confused about the concept of inbound marketing. A comparatively new advertising strategy that’s almost exclusive to the internet, inbound marketing is a way of empowering your brand to be discovered by customers. It embraces a “Pull Strategy”, whereby instead of reaching out to your customers, you attract them to yourself. With a good inbound marketing technique in place, you can virtually convert strangers into lifetime customers.
The foundation of inbound marketing lies in adding value to users rather than bombarding them with advertising messages. This value is offered in a kind of useful content, which helps the users in one way or another. Many people use the internet to search for solutions to problems they are having. What inbound does is solve these people’s problems or give them useful information that will help with their situation, and building up relationship with them afterwards. For inbound marketing to be termed ‘effective’, it has to undergo four different stages.
The Four Stages of Inbound Marketing
As an online business owner, you wouldn’t want just any traffic to your website, you want targeted traffic. You want potential customers that would finally become leads and is easily convertible afterwards. Targeted traffic here encompasses individuals that might be from the same demographic region, have the same ideas and views about certain products or services, have related challenges, pains, etc., about certain areas of their life, have likely the same thoughts, etc. These are customers that you would want to build your business around, if everything pertaining to them is related to your products and/or services. Various ways to attract new prospects to your website include;
SEO – Many users search the web using specific keywords. You have to make sure you appear on their search results when they are looking for products and services related to your business. To do this, you would need search engine friendly web design and to employ a good SEO strategy including relevant keywords specific to your business.
Blogging – Blogging is one of the best ways of attracting new prospects. If you continue providing educational and informative content, you will certainly attract the right type of visitors.
Social Networks – This is one of the effective ways of attracting prospects. By sharing valuable information on the social networking platforms, you’re able to give your business a human face, as well as interact with the likely buyers of your products.
Once you have pulled together particular group of website visitors, then what do you do next? You start collecting their contact information, so as to convert those visitors into leads. At minimum, you will need their email addresses. Contact information of potential customers is very important to any internet marketer, because that is the medium through which you can sell to them over and over again. So, how do you covert your website visitors into leads? You do that by offering them information specific to their various needs. Trends in content marketing include e-books, whitepapers, audio contents, etc. Just offer them whatever content that will appeal to them.
This is the third stage of the inbound marketing process. If you have successfully executed stage 1 and 2, then what next? How do you convert those leads into paying customers? There are various ways you can achieve this. You can use email marketing to constantly keep in touch with the prospects and continuously offer them valuable information. This will help them in building trust with you overtime and finally get to buy into your product and/or services.
This stage is all about delighting your customers by continuing to provide them with valuable content. That a customer purchased your product or subscribed to any of your services doesn’t mean you have to forget about them. You have to continue to please them and participate with them. By so doing, most of your customers can end up becoming your brand ambassadors by spreading word about your business. These increases cross and repeat sales. Finally, the requirement for prospecting for new customers will fall over time.
When done right, inbound may also lead to considerable cost savings. Nevertheless, the results from Inbound Marketing take time to appear. Businesses must do it over a period before reaping the benefits. Nevertheless, when the transition is complete, the advantages keeps flowing in, turning more strangers into lifetime customers.
About the Author: Phil Singleton is the owner of Kansas City SEO, a full-service internet marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other online marketing services, and Kansas City Web Design, a WordPress web development firm specializing in custom SEO-friendly websites and custom web applications. Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant at The Kansas City Marketing Agency.