In helping you understand the Inbound marketing basics, we’re diving into the heart of Inbound, which is the Inbound Methodology. Mastering the Inbound marketing basics comes down to publishing the right content in the right place at the right time. In order to accomplish this, our content marketing strategy must be broken down into the four marketing actions: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
In our previous post, “Why You Need Multiple Inbound Marketing Channels”, we talked about the multi-channel nature of Inbound marketing. Now let’s look at how to use these channels to attract, convert, close, and delight. The basis of Inbound marketing is about converting a stranger into a visitor to your site, a lead to a customer, and finally a customer into a lifetime promoter of your business. I’ll also explain which of the many channels of Inbound marketing can be leveraged with each one of the four actions.
I’m going to take you through each of the steps for mastering the Inbound marketing basics and tell you how to use each stage of this journey to move potential buyers down the customer journey funnel.
Attract – Turning Strangers into Visitors
The attract phase is all about driving the right type of visitor to your site. Knowing how to begin attracting these strangers comes down to thoroughly understanding your buyer personas. By first outlining your ideal buyer, you can start to narrow in on the people you want to direct your content to in the first place. This is called buyer persona content marketing and will drive your content creation process.
Consider what information and questions your potential customers would be asking in the three stages of the buyer journey: awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage. Write copy and target keywords that intersects with your buyer persona in the three stages of the buyer journey, to first attract visitors to your site.
Some of the most useful channels to attract strangers to your site include:
Social Media: Social media can be an incredibly powerful way to draw people in, and create awareness about your brand. This whole step is dependent on getting persuasive content in front of absolute strangers, so take advantage of this side of social media.
Blogs: Blog posts are magnets to attract visitors to your site by targeting content that is sought after by your ideal buyer personas at various stages of their buyer journey. Through your blog, offer educational and helpful content, and your visitors will keep coming back for more.
Keywords/SEO: Optimizing your website, blog, and other online touchpoints is critical to this process. Ensure your pages are optimized to capture organic search traffic, to set yourself up for success. Our “SEO Content Creation Checklist 2015” is a great place to start. You can also read up on additional information on organic lead generation strategies here.
Convert – Turning your Visitors into Leads
Now that you’ve attracted the right people to your site, you want to work on converting them into leads. The best way to approach this is by taking a “give-and-get” mentality.
To turn a visitor into a lead, you need to collect their contact information so that you can continue to communicate with them. However, most people are usually reluctant to give up their personal information, so you need to ensure that you’re giving content that is as valuable as what they’re giving you; the chance to turn them into a lifelong customer. This content comes in many forms; eBooks, guides, white papers, anything that you think would be useful to them at this point in their buyer journey.
Some of the most useful channels for converting visitors into leads include:
Call-to-Action (CTA): Entice your visitor to take action! Offer engaging content, but also offer a compelling CTA so they are enticed to continue down the journey with your brand.
Landing Pages: A landing page is a great opportunity to offer the right content to the right pair of eyes. Once a visitor on your site clicks your CTA, you know they are keen for more, so make it worth their while and provide some great content.
Contact Database: If done right, your existing database of contacts can be a gold mine. Stay on top of your contacts to ensure they’re catered to appropriately. Keep your contacts safely in one place and keep track of the interactions you have with them by following some of our marketing automation best practices.
Close – Turning your Leads into Customers
Once you’ve converted your visitor into a lead, now it’s time to close them; and, of course, by that I mean turning them into a paying customer. This is a vital step in the buyer journey, as it is when you can see your hard work and efforts paying off. Of course, it’s not the end of the journey, but it’s certainly a milestone. This point in the journey is important, as you need to determine where your leads are in their own buy cycle.
Pressing a sale on a newly converted lead in the awareness stage is less likely to result in success than, say, a lead that you’ve been nurturing with content over time. Nurturing your leads is the most effective tool when it comes to converting leads into customers. Understanding your buyers and presenting useful information at the right time, is the key to lead nurturing. After all, 88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources.
Some of the most useful channels for closing the deal include:
Email Marketing: Use emails to keep people interested. They may have visited your site a few times, clicked through to a few landing pages, but then ceased all activity. Use email marketing to draw them back in by delivering some killer content directly to their inbox.
CRM: Customer Relationship Management (CMS) systems help you to get in touch with the right lead at the right time. Keeping your contacts and those interactions in one place helps to ensure you’re at the ready when the time comes to take action.
Lead Scoring: You need to know which efforts are successful and resulting in leads, and which are not. Also, you need to know which leads are converting into customers and which are not. Implementing marketing automation best practices can help you keep track of these analytics so you can build a deeper understanding of your strategy.
Delight – Turning your Customers into Promoters
So, you’ve made the sale! Usually this is where you can kick back and revel in a job well done. Well, not today. There is still one last step in the Inbound marketing basics process that will ensure that your efforts don’t just end with the acquisition of one customer. It’s time to delight your customer and turn them into promoters for your brand.
With social networks being so prominent, and tactics such as referral marketing being a strong source of traffic, digital word-of-mouth marketing will ensure that you’re putting yourself in a position to soak up some of that residual attention. People trust their friends and family much more than they do a faceless company, so why not let them do some of your bidding for you. People like to feel appreciated and heard, and what better way to do that than to keep nurturing that relationship way past the point of sale. The impact is immense, and will pave the way to sustaining life-long customers.
Some of the most useful channels for delighting your customers include:
Social Media/Social Monitoring: Keep tabs on how your social media efforts are being received, by looking at what content is being spread, and responding to positive and negative posts about you. Listen to, interact with, and engage with your customers to let them know that they’re still important.
Email Marketing: As mentioned above, use email marketing to keep in touch and bring your brand back into the forefront of your customer’s minds every now and then. Over time this will ensure they return to your company when they’re beginning a new buy cycle. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
Surveys: Surveys are a great way for your customers to let you know how they think about you. Sure, it may not always be positive, but that’s how you grow. Understanding what you did right, and where you could improve your strategy will go a long way in future customer satisfaction.
Understanding Inbound Marketing Basics
When we circle back to the previous post, “Why You Need Multi-Channel Inbound Marketing”, you can now see it all coming into play. Not only is the cycle broken down into marketing actions (attract, convert, close, and delight), the channels will allow you to move your prospects from one marketing action to the next through the Inbound marketing basics. When you bring all of those channels together, as a multi-channel strategy, your marketing efforts will be targeted and honed for success.
Understanding these Inbound marketing basics will help you deliver your strategy in a cohesive and comprehensive way. If you’d like to learn more about these actions and how you can use them to benefit your Inbound marketing approach, contact our team at TPM today and we’ll help you get started. And don’t forget to tune in for part three, where I tell you how to tie all these tips and tricks together to create a stronger Inbound Marketing strategy.