As a business owner, you may wonder what all the fuss is about inbound marketing these days. Well here at Sidekick, we are crazy about inbound marketing simply because it adds that wow factor to the ordinary marketing strategies and makes the customer feel as special as he deserves to feel.
The main aim of inbound marketing is to sell like you want to be sold to.
So before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at these questions, so we know we’re on the same page.
How would you like a salesperson to approach you? How would you want a product or service to be presented to you? Assuming you were a customer, would you like to be the centre of any business? What are you looking out for in any business that will make you even loyal to that brand?
How did you do in answering those questions? Well, keep reading…we’ll help you answer these questions today!
In rolling out an inbound marketing strategy, you first need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. These days, almost every business is shifting from the business-focused orientation to the customer-centric orientation where virtually everything is about the customer. To get the inbound marketing way of selling right, you need to keep in mind what exactly inbound marketing is, to keep you on track. Before we go any further, remember the definition we gave of inbound marketing in one of our posts, Why we deeply love inbound marketing (And you should, too!)?
Well, we simply said: “Inbound marketing has taken the traditional way of marketing, such as constant emails, calls etc., and given it a fresh twist: to make the customer feel the business cares about them and not only about making a profit or selling itself. Simply put, inbound marketing makes potential customers feel empowered. This is done in many creative ways such as short videos, creative blogs etc. that make information readily available to the customer without ‘being in their face’ too much.”
Here are a few guidelines in helping you sell like you would want to be sold to.
Develop an inbound marketing plan
No matter how tech savvy we become, nothing beats jotting down your strategic plan on paper! You need to build specific inbound marketing techniques and occasionally go back to them to ensure you are right on track. Usually, inbound marketing is done from a holistic approach, using different elements such as blog posts, exciting content, email marketing and short but relevant videos, to keep the customer interested and coming back for more. What approach best suits your business? It’s time to identify it, develop it and stick to it!
Find out what your customer wants (and keep giving it to them!)
Like we always say, inbound marketing is all about the customer. What better way to keep them happy but by finding out what exactly they are looking out for? This is where you conduct a little research into your target audience to find out what they want, how they want it and if they have even jumped from one brand to another before. Such information enables you to give them what they are looking for, whilst remaining creative and competitive.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Imagine you walked into a bank and the teller welcomed you with a scowl and a barely audible “Good morning”. Even before you are served, you may have already formed a bad impression about the bank, and whilst you’re at it, you may tell other friends about the poor service too!
That’s exactly how customers think. To remain relevant with consistent and fresh ideas, you need to keep asking yourself what you may have done or wanted if you were in the shoes of your customer. The golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” applies even here! So, it does not just end at finding information about your target audience, but also going a step further to identify with how they feel. At the end of that reflection, you should be able to answer the question “What service experience will my customer have after encountering my business?”
Put your plan into action
You’ve put your plan on paper and even gone further to research on your target audience. Now you need to put your plan into action. Not sure how to start? There are many resourceful websites, such as Hubspot blog and yours truly that gives you practical steps in executing your inbound marketing strategy.
So, how can you sell effectively using content marketing?
The answer is simple: It’s all about the people!
You first need to connect with your audience using social media as well as relevant and practical content such as catchy articles, creative videos etc. to attract your customers to the solution you are offering. It doesn’t end there; you need to build a relationship with them as well. This is often easier to do when you create an image your customers feel is easy to understand and relate to.
Coca Cola is a typical example. Over the years, Coca Cola has been described as a brand that connects with its audience in a way other brands are struggling to.
They recently described their revised marketing strategy as “Moving from Creative Excellence to Content Excellence” Making good use of the power of videos especially in this digital age, Coca Cola constantly comes up with creative videos that leave their customers not just excited, but actually, pushes them to share it via social media. They usually build up on the image they have already created, giving customers the impression that Coca Cola is a consistent brand that knows what they are about. This, in turn, gives customers confidence in the brand and has enabled Coca Cola to stay competitive over the years. Is your content marketing strategy in line with the brand image you would like to create?
Social media has also proven to be a great ally for the brand, as Coca Cola uses it as a channel to identify fresh ideas. And keep up with new things their customers may be looking out for, especially through Facebook and Twitter. This brand screams innovation and dynamism, as they constantly come up with something fresh their target audience can be excited about. For example, their recent personalized campaign where customers could get a coke bottle with their names, or in the Ghanaian context, their day names, on it. Videos concerning this new twist to the product went viral, as everybody definitely wanted to get a coke with their name on it! Here’s a great lesson from that: Keep your customers engaged with your brand, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
The key is to get customers talking about your brand and confident that you’re their ‘go to guy’ if they need a particular service. You also need to keep up with what other brands are doing, so you could come up with creative content that will keep your brand fresh in the minds of your target audience. After doing all that, how can you keep your customers interested? The power of email can never be underestimated. You need to give your customers the option of subscribing to your email updates, so they are constantly aware of what you are up to. You could even chip in a personalized tone by wishing them a happy birthday when the need arises. It simply gets your customer thinking: “Hey, not only are they interested in satisfying my needs, but they are simply interested in me as a person!
Whew! Inbound marketing looks like a lot of work right? It is, but it definitely pays off in the end. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”
Inbound marketing, or in this case, content marketing is vital to the success of any online business. Are you selling like you would want to be sold to? What do your customers think of your marketing process? What is your ROI on marketing? Stick with Sidekick and let’s go on this rewarding journey together!