Inbound marketing is about trying to attract the right customers to your business. Its about starting the vetting process early so that you have the profitable and vetted leads at the earliest opportunity. Under inbound marketing you have already formed a relationship with your leads by the time you are ready to sell to them.
Inbound Marketing Channels
There are many ways to attract customers; inbound marketing involves making the most of the channels your potential customers use. For example
Facebook/Twitter and other social media
Blogs that provide your target customers with information that is useful to them
Inbound Marketing Needs Relevant, Useful And Beneficial Content
Inbound marketing content must be useful and beneficial to the user and add value to their experience. Inbound marketing content does not need to sell to your target market as its primary job is to identify the "right customer".
Inbound marketing must create sales opportunities so you must ensure that it is relevant to your business too. For example a company that sells software could write a blog on the importance of cyber security. At the end of the blog there could be a link that gives the reader information on the types of cyber security software that the firm sells.
Once the customer is attracted to the business there must be a simple method for them to approach you. For example a contact form maybe placed at the end of an article or an option to chat to a member of the company online.
Inbound Marketing Steps
Effective inbound marketing has four steps
Companies that master each of these inbound marketing steps will gain a competitive edge, lets look at each of the inbound marketing steps
Inbound Marketing Step 1 - Attract
This stage is about attracting the ideal buyers and ensures that all marketing is designed around those types of people. It is the opposite of mass marketing which hopes that sending your message to millions of people will yield some that one to buy. That processes waste time as you will need to filter out the "wrong leads".
Relevant content marketing through social media, search engine optimisation, blogs/discussion/advice forums should attract the right customer to your business.
Inbound Marketing Step 2 - Convert
You've cracked the relevant content marketing now its time to convert all those people and businesses you have attracted to your business (your website, on the telephone, web chats etc) into leads you can sell to. At this stage you have a relationship with your potential customer, you know their background and interests etc use this data to create leads
Inbound Marketing Step 3 - Close
This is the stage we have been working towards, use the data you have to convert your leads into sales. As you know all about the customer and have built a relationship with them to convert the lead into a sale in a way that you and your customer is happy with
Inbound Marketing Step 4 - Delight
You have found a customer that is right for you and wants to buy from you so don't let them go. The sale is not the end but the start of the process to secure long term business. The mission is to keep in touch with the customer and to continue delighting them so they provide you with repeat business. Keep in touch with them in the way that suits them e.g. social media, blogs, e-mail.
Inbound Marketing Conclusion
Inbound marketing encourages the "right type" of customers to search for your business because they like the content you are producing. Once inbound marketing customers make contact with you, nurture them to a sale and continue to delight them into a lifetime of business.
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