After learning why inbound marketing is the way to go, it’s time to go deeper into the journey you’re going to take your potential customers on. The key is to have a strategy that recognises what you want to achieve. It’s one built around the fact that customer acquisition is a four-part journey – around the themes: Attract; Convert, Close, and Delight.
Traditionally the "attract" and "convert" stages are what marketers are responsible for, while salespeople "close," and customer service is in charge of "delight". Today, with the implementation of marketing automation the role of delight is becoming more a marketing function to ensure that people are being delighted at all stages in the customer journey. We need to listen, build trust, provide valuable and relevant information, and engage customers in conversations on the channels of their choice.
The attract element is the immediate requirement – and it essentially means having a content strategy. Content is king, and prospects need to find your website as they go about their normal daily business.
It’s worth remembering search engine optimisation (using the key same words in your web pages that you know prospects will search for, and also indexing these to your web page titles), will only get you so far. Links from other sites to yours are also growing in importance (Google ranks them one of the top three ranking factors now), bringing in a need to create other connecting content – such as linking to posts on social media or blogs.
LinkedIn is an excellent place to find members of groups that may be relevant to you, and by blogging about updates, industry news, or writing articles, pushes your trusted advisor status higher. The more connections or followers you have, the more people will see your updates, and link back to your own site. Data from Buffer Science proves this works. It finds half of all social media traffic to B2B sites and 80% of social media leads come from LinkedIn alone.
Attraction is one thing, but conversion is quite another. Content has to resonate. Analytics firm BuzzSumo recently reviewed the headlines of 10 million articles shared on LinkedIn and found two specific types of content stood out – those that discussed industry trends, and those that were ‘how-to’ articles. These should be what you concentrate on. Interactive content (sliders, quizzes, calculators and buttons giving people the ability to share your content on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) maintain website ‘stickability’ and increases the potential for referrals – a well-researched ‘better’ quality of prospect. Don’t overlook YouTube – for hosting interactive content. According to LinkedIn, links to YouTube videos can create a 75% increase in share rates.
Once at your site, you need to earn the trust of these visitors. Non-salesy ways of capturing information from visitors include hosting download forms (for example, giving people access to full-length white papers), or giving visitors the ability to be added to weekly news update lists. Offering online chat facilities is a further way to lengthen visits to your webpages and can be seen as a real thought leader. Some chat boxes can be set to automatically pop up after a few minutes, to ask if someone would like help, while others can be permanently in place, ready to be opened whenever the user wants. If you really want to create advocates, sign-ups for webinars you can host is another tactic that could be employed.
Close and Delight
Taking an inbound marketing approach is all about creating remarkable experiences, closing and delighting prospects to become real customers is a balancing act. For prospects to become leads they need further nurturing, and this is achieved by sensible further communication. This means a background platform analysing what pages prospects are looking at, what they’re downloading, how long they visit for, or how often they repeat-visit, is vital. This is likely to create to a better understanding of the sorts of products/services leads are interested in, and what might be useful for them to be sent more information about.
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