Inbound marketing, a method of attracting customers to your product or service, is a shift in mindset for the average small business owner and even some seasoned marketers. It’s the opposite of interruption marketing, like the television and radio ads inserted within your favorite programming. While traditional methods may still have a place in today’s marketing budget, failing to create a strategy online to draw in customers could be disastrous. You will only lose marketshare to the competition that has this strategy already.
B2B or B2C, Some Things are True for Both
Whether your business deals with other businesses or with the end user directly, consumers are using internet search more and more to help them make a purchasing decision. Consumers are also becoming more discerning shoppers. Many seek to learn all they can about a product before they make a purchase. With so many choices online, what was once an impulse buy is now a decision consumers can make over time, allowing them to decide on a perfect fit. Whether searching for the best buy on Venetian blinds or the latest tech gadget, they’re turning to the internet first to research the item before they buy.
So, how do you draw prospects in the research phase into your sales funnel?
Give them useful information – and be willing to give it to them for free, at first. What I mean by that is, most people research online before they buy. If your website isn’t providing useful, relevant information to those who are searching for your products and services, you are missing the opportunity to draw them into your sales funnel. Crafting great website content is a way to provide answers to questions while building trust in your brand.
How do you deliver great content?
- Blog: An excellent way to build content on an regular basis and communicate with potential prospects in a timely, relevant manner. Search engines index this content and it is often via this content that people first learn about you online.
- RSS feed: Giving consumers a way to subscribe to the content on your website will help keep your company and product front and center for future sales.
- Social media: Publishing useful content on social networks can allow you to grow a niche following. When you publish something useful, tweet it, post it on Facebook, Linkedin and Google + to get the word out.
- Newsletter: With a prospect’s permission, you can periodically send them a company newsletter. Newsletters can contain information on new products or services, how to solve problems pertinent to your product, and good deals for your customers. Make certain this your newsletter is useful – or it will be ignored.
Beyond content, how do you draw prospects closer to doing business?
- Offers & Calls to Action (CTA): Create offers that match your topics, that also are aligned with your products and services. Great first touch offers are white papers, case studies, webinars (live or recorded), checklists and even newsletter signups.
- Landing pages: where the action is. This is a page delivering very specific information paired with your well thought out call to action can encourage your traffic to fill out a form, take a survey, or make a purchase.
- Social media: Proper use and tracking of social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, encourage people to follow along in a conversation with a CEO, customer service rep, or even other consumer advocates for your product or services.
Matching great content to downloadable offers in exchange for a small bit of information is the start of good things. Those that opt-in to receive your download or newsletter are now in the very top of your sales funnel and depending on your company’s sales cycle can be moved along accordingly.