The way the business world conducts transactions has evolved over time, shifting more focus from the business itself to the customer. This is where various questions such as ‘How can I keep the customer interested?”, “How can I keep up with competition?” “What can I do differently?” arise. Well, the answer to these questions is simple…the current ‘in’ business technique known as inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing has taken the traditional way of marketing, such as constant e-mails, calls etc., and given it a fresh twist: to make the customer feel the business cares about them and not only on making profit or selling itself. Simply put, this 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.
Effective and relevant inbound marketing first begins by you doing your homework, that is , thoroughly researching into your target audience to understand what they are looking for and how you can better relate with them.
According to www.inboundmarketinginc.com, about 71% of adults with internet access use social media.
That’s more reason for you to engage in inbound marketing, and fast! Here’s a model that summarizes what inbound marketing seeks to do:
ATTRACT -> CONVERT -> CLOSE -> DELIGHT
This is the initial stage focuses on getting strangers to know about your brand website, so they become visitors. This can be done through informative blogs, creating awareness of your brand via social media, and optimizing your website to make it visible to searchers.
The convert stage focuses on moving your audience from just being visitors, to leads. This is often done by using strategies such as calls to action to gather their information. This enables you to connect with them frequently, till a relationship is established between you and your customer. At this stage, it is essential to get the e-mail addresses of your audience, so you can keep them posted.
But like every typical customer, in order for them to give up their information, they first need to be assured that it is worth it. How can you give them this assurance? By motivating them with creative offers such as e-books that will keep them interested and coming for more.
Generating leads does not necessarily make them customers. This is where the close stage comes in. At this stage, contacting your leads at the right time via the information they gave in the conversions stage is very important. Chances are, with effective communication, you are able to find out more specific needs of your leads, and then respond accurately. This will in turn reward you with loyal customers.
What makes you stand out and leaves your customers wanting more? This is the question the delight stage answers. At this stage, you need to find out how well you’re doing by conducting surveys to get customer feedback. You need to also monitor your progress using metrics such as content views, social media shares etc. In delighting your customers, maintaining a smart marketing momentum is very crucial to the sustenance of customer interest.
So, why exactly do we love inbound marketing?
When you provide answers to problems related to your industry, you attract visitors that are actually already interested in your industry and might be interested in your services. This is marketing that provides value to people and attracts your target audience.
Well, inbound marketing is rewarding in so many ways and is worth the effort. It’s definitely the way to go if you want your online business to be a successful one. How exactly can inbound marketing contribute to the success of your business?
Inbound marketing is a great way to save cost
Compared to traditional marketing, inbound marketing is more cost-effective and virtually ‘kills many birds with one stone!’. Traditional marketing involves many cost intensive stuff such as paying for TV, radio and newspaper ads, investing in transport to go from door-to-door to convince customers, printing posters, fliers and billboards (my, that’s quite a lot of money if you think about it!).
Inbound marketing on the other hand enables you to do all this but using the internet, which cuts down most of the paperwork and in effect, the cost as well. For any business that is running on a small budget, inbound marketing is definitely the way to go! According to www.digitalmarketingpro.net, it will cost small businesses that use inbound marketing one-third of what it will cost if traditional marketing were used. Imagine that!
Get more reach
Another plus for inbound marketing is that it enables you to reach a wider audience within a shorter time. Imagine you need to reach some customers who are in another town…this means getting a car (or other source of transportation) in order to interact with them. This means losing time as well as other resources.
Now imagine you had to do that, but this time, with just the click of a button! Not only can you interact within the shortest possible time, but now, whereas you could have just transacted with say five people if you were marketing traditionally, you can now do ten or perhaps even fifteen! Not only that, but now you face endless possibilities of reaching audiences all over the world.
Gives your brand a facelift
Let’s say you have a great business offline, but are looking for an extra ‘sizzle’. Inbound marketing is just the answer you need. When done effectively, inbound marketing keeps your customers interested, as you always have fresh content to offer. It simply gives your customers the impression that you know what you are about as a business, until you become the trusted brand in your field of expertise.
Speaking of expertise, here are a few great examples of companies or businesses that have made inbound marketing their focus and have been successful as a result:
In teaching mainly about inbound marketing strategies, Hubspot has carved a niche for itself, putting its own advice to use. With interesting and practical online videos as well as informative blog post and a great website, Hubspot has eventually become an authoritative figure in the marketing academia field. Why? It put its target audience first, coming up with questions that will most likely be asked. Such as ‘Why inbound marketing?” “How can I make my blog interesting?” etc. and went a step further to answer them creatively and in a fun way.
They have sparked a global movement, certified about 30,000 marketers. And therefore have successfully lived out their mantra ‘Where Marketers Go to Grow’. You should check them out!
At Sidekick Social Media, we use the inbound marketing methodology to achieve our digital marketing goals. Inbound marketing attracts the attention of potential new clients by providing them with content that they value. We listen to the pain points of our buyer persona and design content in various formats to meet these needs. This is the very first step though, following through with the methodology has increased our lead generation by 200 percent!
This business has just added some ‘pizazz’ to the world of real estate. Based in Canada, RealtyNinja creates websites that are easy to update and manage for realtor. They’ve added a twist to it by developing the persona of a ninja…which keeps things fresh and exciting. Realizing the importance of keeping their target audience interested, they expanded their business by shifting from the business centric point of view to inbound marketing and have had great testimonials since.
It has certainly paid off for them, and they attest to it themselves by saying: “With inbound marketing you put the effort in the beginning and it pays dividends for a long time.”
Their main aim is to build a culture of quality content creation. And they have become the foremost in their industry due to this.
Their mode of operation is simple: They use informative blogs that create excitement in the minds in their audience. Which in turn encourages their audience to share and apply whatever they learn from the site’s content. RealtyNinja also remains dynamic by exploring the possibility of using videos to interact with their target audience as well.
This is a great example of a business that has made exceptional use of social media. Using short but informative videos, Tasty shows you how to make great dishes in just a couple of minutes. With its colorful background and easy to understand clips, Tasty has become a go-to for easy to understand and apply recipes. They do this by making good use of the internet, mainly Facebook, YouTube and BuzzFeed. Say hello to quick and easy to understand recipes and goodbye to long, winding ‘how-to’ food formulae.
Tasty has generated a world-wide audience of about 87 million! Thanks to marketing people love.
With the mantra “Longer, Fuller Hair than Before”. LuxyHair is every girl’s dream stop if she is looking for hair extensions! How did this business carve its niche? They grew their business using YouTube, in a quest to let their target audience fully understand what they are being offered and how they can use it. This has eventually led to several referrals, and thanks to word of mouth marketing (the result of putting your customers first) LuxyHair has become an authoritative voice in the hair extension game.
As a result, they boast of over two million subscribers, as well as 280 million views! Now that’s worth watching!
P.S. There are Ghanaian equivalents to this company, such as Best Hair Deals Gh. Let’s watch their space to see how inbound marketing plays a role in their further success.
Inbound marketing is not going anywhere anytime soon. We hope you’ve finally understood why we love inbound marketing, and hope you’ve joined the bandwagon too!