Marketing has changed drastically over the past ten years. The traditional marketing way of bombarding maximum people with your sales pitch is ineffective and can often be frustrating with poor results. The top marketers in world are following a different strategy that makes more revenue while costing them 60% less per lead (compared to traditional marketing). This strategy is called inbound marketing and it focuses on attracting target customers through great content.
Most of what we discuss in this blog post falls under one of the four stages of inbound methodology. So here is a step by step guide to Chalk out an actionable strategy that will get you more business in 2017:
Step #1: – Create Buyer Personas
It is very important to understand who you are selling to before starting on any marketing strategy. Buyer Personas are semi-fictional profiles of your customers capturing their demographics, goals, challenges, behaviors, and habits, etc. You may include more parameters if you find it necessary. Buyer personas will:
• Give you a clear understanding of customer’s pain points and how to position your product accordingly
• Give you content opportunity. You will be able to give out content that is relevant to them
• Be the foundation stone of all the marketing activities you do later
• Help you identify where your potential buyers consume content, so that you can build presence at right places on the web
Buyer personas should be based on data from current customers and some educated speculation. Forget about your business and create personas by putting yourself in buyers shoes.
Step #2: Create and deliver good content
Identify the content topics that your target audience would want to read. These maybe directly or just remotely connected to your business. It doesn’t matter at this stage. Be buyer centric and create content that they would enjoy reading. Following are some pointers to help you create great content:
• Be mindful of which stage of buying your buyer is. A content piece meant to attract a visitor will be very different from one that is meant to engage him to close the sale. The content produced for each of the above four stages of inbound methodology is different.
• Consider all the formats available to deliver content and decides which one suites best. It could be a blog, video, infographic, checklist, e book, email, quiz, webinar, tutorial, podcast. Visual content like video and inforgraphic are more successful that text. In fact, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic by end of the year.
• Select an appropriate platform to deliver and promote your content. Find out where your prospects spend time and promote there. For example: Is it Facebook or Instagram or both?
• Lastly, Optimize your website and blogs as per SEO guidelines. Your content needs to rank higher in searches in order for your visitors to find it easily. Do some keyword research and place them at strategic locations on the page like the Title description, meta description, Title and introduction text. Build links in the blog and place social sharing buttons on the page.
Step #3: Collect Leads
After attracting visitors with compelling content, you should collect data like email IDs and names of interested visitors. Following are the ways to collect data to build your lead database:
• Use CTA or Call to Action Buttons in your blog and other content. These are buttons that lead to your landing page or websites or promise additional valuable content in exchange for their email addresses.
• Use Exit intent pop-up, this is a pop-up which appears when a reader is going to close your page
• Give and offer or a discount to all those who sign up as subscribers to your mailing list.
Remember, this process will give you a database of visitors that are interested in your service. In short these are qualified leads and this is where inbound marketing is different from traditional marketing. This is why the conversions are higher here with minimal and automated process.
Step#4: Email Marketing
Email marketing has a ROI or return of investment of 4300% ! That’s right! It means that your get back $43 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Once you have your mailing list in place, follow the below guidelines to get the best return out of it:
• Segment your database. Make a list based on parameters like age group, buyer’s journey, company size or any other segmenting parameter that is relevant to your business.
• Build mails according to these segments. Remember a welcome mail is going to be very different from a thank you mail. Think of the purpose of every mail before sending it. Do not send a generic mail to all your lists
• Keep in touch with your lists but do not bombard them with mails. Nobody likes spam. So let your lists know how frequently you will be sending them mail.
• Make sure your mails are a value add. Do not send the same mail and content over and over again. Each mail should be a progression of the previous one and should move your lead smoothly to becoming a customer.
• Keep your mailing list updated and clean. Your list will decay 25% every year as people move companies, unsubscribe and move to other mail service. Make sure to update and keep adding new addresses to your list.
• Analyze your effectiveness. Sign up with an Email marketing service like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. Check for your bounce rates, open rates and conversions rates. This is how you will know what’s working and what’s not. Send versions of same mail with different subject line, call to actions, mail text, etc. This is called A/B testing and helps you analyze what is working out.
• Your subject line is the most important thing in email marketing. Make sure it is recipient centric and clearly states the value in the email.
Step#5: Delight your customers and Grow
Your existing satisfied customers are your biggest marketing asset. Think of an app you have downloaded or a movie you went for recently. There are good chances that it was referred to you by your friend or a contact. If not, you would have definitely researched about its rating and reviews on the web before purchasing it.
Keep your customers happy with your product/service and build a relation with them. Keep them engaged with great content. You can also run contests, referral programs and support online communities to help your customers spread the word.
Step#6: Paid Advertising
This is not a part of inbound methodology but is an integral part of online marketing. Businesses make on average $3 in revenue for every $1.60 they spend on AdWords.
You can pay search engines like Google to display your ad on relevant pages. You can run ad campaigns on Google Adwords for the keywords that you want to show up for. PPC or Pay per click advertising charges you for every click that your ad gets.
That is a very exhaustive guide on how to get your marketing strategy right this year. It can be overwhelming to start knowing that there is so much you have to master. Concentrate on one step at a time and master it. With a little bit of perseverance and patience, you will start getting a steady stream of leads with very little effort once the process is in place.