Inbound marketing (n) : good for the customer, good for you

Interest in inbound marketing has grown immensely in the past several years. Inbound marketing is no longer just a niche marketing technique. It is an effective, proven methodology rife with credible case studies and stories of success.

So what is inbound marketing, exactly? Inbound marketing is a customer-centered approach to marketing that focuses on attracting the right customers to your website by giving them something of value before you even present your service or product. You need to up a reputation as a leader in your industry and creating value for your potential clients so that when the time comes to “pitch” your service or product you already have clout with your target market.

So how do I start an inbound marketing strategy?


Step 1: Attract

The first step to any inbound marketing strategy is creating your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. Buyer personas should be created using a combination of real data gathered from existing companies, and some assumptions made about your target customer. These are utilized throughout the inbound methodology, but they are particularly important in the attract phase of an inbound strategy.

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer.

The attract phase is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the phase when you’re attracting the right customers to your website.

There are many ways to do this, but they all have some key components essential to any inbound marketing campaign.

Blogging (content creation) is a necessary tool in the attract phase. Create quality educational content to bring in customers who are genuinely interested in your industry.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another essential tool in the attract phase. Having a properly-optimized website helps your ideal customers easily find your website when they’re searching for something they need.

Social media is a critical and often underrated inbound marketing asset. Whether you choose to focus on just one social media platform or spread your reach across several, a well-managed social media account can bring a substantial amount of quality web traffic to your website.


I have the right visitors on my website. Now what?


Step 2: Convert

Now it’s time to convert those website visitors into leads. 

Within the “convert” phase of inbound methodology, visitors are converted into leads for your business by gathering their contact information.During the convert phase of inbound marketing, visitors are converted into leads by gathering their contact information.

In inbound marketing, you don’t simply ask a visitor for their contact information. Rather, you offer them something valuable in return.

However, in a proper inbound strategy, you do not simply ask for a visitor’s information. Rather, you offer them something in return. You can ask them to fill out a contact form with a question they want answered, or offer the chance to sign up for a newsletter created by your business.

This is an effective way of gathering email addresses, but it’s not the only way. You can also use a call-to-action (CTA). A call-to-action allows you to extend offers to your website visitors. For example, you could place a button on your website enticing people to download a free eBook. 

By delivering your offer via email, you collect your visitors’ email addresses while also providing them with an educational read on whatever topic the eBook is about. This exchange of content for contact information is the key to the convert phase of inbound marketing.

This exchange of content for contact information is key to the convert phase of inbound marketing.


Great! But when do I make a sale?

Step 3: Close the Deal

Now that you’ve attracted the right visitors to your site with exceptional content and a beautifully optimized website, and you’ve converted those visitors to leads with amazing offers and CTAs, it’s finally time to close. The close phase of the inbound methodology involves a large number of customer relations.

Inbound leads are a much different entity than traditional leads. That is, just because an internet user downloads an eBook or fills out a contact form does not mean they are ready to buy. The focus here is on building a strong rapport with your leads and closing on the right lead at the right time.

The focus here is on building a strong rapport with your leads and closing on the right lead at the right time. Treating a lead like a person instead of just a sale is essential.

This can be referred to as lead nurturing. Treating the lead like a person instead of just a sale is essential.

Contrary to popular belief, email can become a powerful tool for lead nurturing. Sending additional relevant content to a lead that downloaded an eBook can be the first step in closing on a lasting customer.

This being said, it’s important to note the fine line between effective email communication and spam. Using a Customer Relations Manager (CRM) is strongly recommended to keep track of correspondence and help you get in touch with the right lead at the perfect time. If done correctly, an inbound lead can be turned into a lifetime customer for your business.


So I finally made the sale!

Step 4: Delight 

 Congratulations! You’ve successfully used your new inbound marketing strategy to make a sale, but don’t stop just yet. There is one more very important phase of inbound marketing. It’s time to “delight” your customers. Treat your customers right and they can quite easily become avid promoters of your business. 


Treat your customers right and they can easily become avid promoters of your business.

Every business can come up with their own way of engaging customers beyond their sale. However, it always helps to know what your customers want and what you should be providing for them. So do some research!

Ask your existing customers directly by sending out a survey. This can be a great way to receive direct feedback. Monitoring your social media accounts can be an even more effective way to gather data on what your customers want.

When a customer expresses that they liked something about your company, or disliked something, listen to them. Listen to their questions and provide exceptional answers. Show your customers that they are more than just buyers of your products or services. Treat them like people and partners in your business, and these mutually beneficial exchanges will become more than just inbound marketing strategies or campaigns: they become relationships, and tools for ongoing success.

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