Marketers know that inbound marketing strategies can yield incredible results, but only if you understand how to engage with prospects. Too many inbound marketing campaigns tend to throw content out on social media and wait for the leads to roll in. You can’t catch fish without the right bait, and you can’t attract new customers without the right methodology.
If you are building traffic but not generating sales leads, then your inbound marketing program fails. For example, one of our clients was attracting 5,000 hits per month to their web site but generating no sales leads. By redesigning their website using a stronger conversion strategy, we were able to add 14 qualified leads to the sales funnel each week.
To be strategic, use these four pillars of inbound marketing:
First you need to get the attention of your target audience. That means using the right content. You need to understand who your potential customers are to create compelling content. One proven approach is to create customer personas so you know who wants your product, what their interests are, and where to find them. Once you know what appeals to your audience, you can attract them with compelling content. Blogging and offering information that attracts the right visitor is a great way to launch an inbound marketing campaign. Use blog content to feed social media channels, which are the best ways to find prospects. Also make sure you are using keywords and that your web pages are optimized for search so that you can be found by potential customers. The objective is to use inbound marketing to turn Web strangers into visitors, and ultimately followers.
Once you have attracted interested visitors, you need to convert them into leads using a call to action. Typically you use landing pages to get visitors to surrender personal information, such as an email address and telephone number, in exchange for something they want, such as a white paper or webinar. The best conversion tools are unique and informative; if the offer isn’t attractive enough (i.e. valuable), then you won’t convert the visitor to a lead.
Closing a converted lead can be a long, delicate process. It typically takes from 7 and 13 touches to convert a lead to a sale. Start by ranking your leads using lead scoring or some other approach. Once you prioritize your leads, you can bring them through the sales process using a series of emails. You also want to keep track of which conversion tools work best for you. Closed-loop reporting using marketing automation tools lets you follow the lead from capture to close so you can refine your marketing program based on what works.
The inbound marketing program shouldn’t end once you have made the sale. You now need to nurture the customer; reassuring them they made the right decision when they wrote you a check. Continue to offer superior content. Use social media channels and email and continue to engage with customers, offering content that interests them. Delighting the customer is the best way to upsell them, keep them coming back for more, and most importantly, convert them into evangelists who will spread word about your company and its products.
As a smart marketer, you want to use quality content for your inbound marketing program to stay relevant. With proper nurturing, you will stay relevant so that your prospects will become customers because they come to know you, your brand, and your products, and they trust you. Promoting that trust is what makes inbound marketing so powerful.