Staying In the Lines: A Guide to Mastering Inbound Marketing
Are you a sports fan? Well for the sake of conversation, let’s assume you are. One of the most important rules of any sport is to play within the lines. Stepping out of bounds can cause you to lose the ball, and potentially the game. The same thing applies to digital marketing; a strategy is more likely to be successful when staying within the boundaries of guidelines already established. When it comes to digital marketing that set of guidelines is referred to as inbound. Inbound marketing, for those that don’t know, is the use of relevant and personalized content as a means to engage your consumer and attract them to your site. While thinking outside the box is always a good thing, trying to break the rules or step outside of the lines will only result in consumers ignoring your message. Inbound marketing is broken down into four simple steps: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Allow me, if you would, to walk you through these 4 steps, while also showing what not to do when attempting to engage your audience.
And now onto the show!
Attract your visitor
The first step in inbound marketing is all about attracting your audience. But how do you do that exactly? One word; content. This can be anything from videos, E-books, and blogs (yes, just like this one) to social media posts and emails. The content you create should be tailored to your ideal audience and be something that they may find useful. Even though your content is intended to promote your business, don’t be so quick to make it all about you. Instead focus on displaying your expertise and how it can be applied to benefit them. Tips, checklists, and visual guides make for great content offers, and with the right writers, designers, and topics, your audience will be checking you out in no time.
Converting Website Visitors to Contacts
If inbound marketing was the dating scene, the convert stage would be the first date. You’ve got your audience’s attention and it’s time to show them why your business is worth investing in. Now you can begin to discuss your products, services, and the benefits they provide. Like a date, this is where you also attempt to learn more about your prospective consumer. Obtaining your leads’ information is key in this stage through the use of landing pages. Content is still useful as it can be used as incentive for them to fill out a landing page form.
Close your first deal
Your consumers currently know everything your business has to offer and it’s time to seal the deal. While some maybe quick to sign the dotted line, others may require some further convincing. This can be accomplished with use of additional content, now tailored to those already familiar with your brand. Emails come in handy in this stage, providing that extra push to turn your audience into consumers. Beware though, prospects are very sensitive at this point, and coming on too strong or not strong enough, can cause you lose them. In other words, you’re almost there but tread carefully.
Delight Customers Build Brand Loyalty
Congrats! Your prospect is now a customer but the job isn’t over. Now it’s time to establish a sense of brand loyalty by continuing to provide them with relevant content. Remember to drop in every now and then to find out how you’re audience is doing, through the use of surveys and listening to social media conversations. Use this opportunity to receive feedback and make improvements on your strategy. Refusing to take a step back and measure your performance from time to time can result in negative word of mouth and a poor rapport with your audience.
And that’s all there is. By following the steps to inbound marketing, you’ll be attracting and engaging your audience before you know it. No one said it’s going to be easy but with the right amount of creativity and determination, your business will have the digital presence necessary for success.