Does Inbound Really Work?
It’s time to consider getting professional help – marketing help, that is.
You can spend time figuring out how to address all the challenges above, but is that the best use of your time? And what happens the next time a new search algorithm appears, or a new technology arises? You’ll have to learn them, too. That’s why companies of all sizes hire experts to help with marketing. The most cost effective way to generate a consistent pipeline of high quality leads is with Inbound marketing
I know what you’re thinking: Someone once told you “it takes too long” to see the results from Inbound marketing. Those naysayers didn’t attend the New York City Inbound meeting in April, where I met real people with real companies getting real results in far less time than they anticipated. And if they listened to all the critics, they would have never got started. I don’t know anyone who’s scored a touchdown by sitting on the sidelines.
Today’s Buyers are Better Informed
In fact, a recent web search shows that 70 to 90 percent of purchasers conduct web research before they make a buying decision. Why leave that to chance or to someone else? Today you can be proactive about the pre purchase messaging to your prospects.
Inbound, or content, marketing works because it builds trust with buyers. Inbound allows you to engage with prospects on their terms when and where they want – long before they meet you or use your product/service.
Inbound Marketing is Strategic – Results are Monitored and Predictable
Inbound is described as marketing with a magnet (vs. outbound marketing, which is like marketing with a sledgehammer). Inbound attracts prospects toward you. It walks prospects to your website, allowing you to educate consumers along the way.
In my class on Inbound Marketing, I teach practical steps to get you started in this common-sense approach to marketing your business. Below I’ll outline 4 of the critical steps I cover in my class.
Step 1 – Identify Your Ideal Customer
The first step is to identify your target market and buyer, a.k.a. your ideal customer.
What type of person, with what specific needs, is your best, long-term customer – and how do you meet that person’s needs?
Step 2 – Create Great Content
Once you understand your ideal customer, it is time to create content. Great content:
- Has a clear, single goal.
- Educates about your industry, the marketplace that you service, not about your product (save that for the end of the buying cycle).
- Provides added value for your customers.
- Tells a story.
- Is Timely, Relevant and Meaningful (TRM) to your audience.
- Is appropriate for where they are in the buying process.
- Deserves a great Title – Dharmesh Shah, co founder of HubSpot, says half of your content creation time should be spent on your title. You have people’s attention for only a few milliseconds. A good title will induce them to spend more time with your content.
- Includes graphics. It’s a fact, content with graphics (not stock photos) receive more opens, shares and likes.
- Is formatted correctly; it’s got to be search friendly.
- Uses keywords your audience is likely to search for.
- Is mobile ready. Over half of all email opened, and over half of all search conducted, takes place on mobile devices.
- Is personalized. This one seems obvious, but I still receive email messages that begin with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Hi d,” Sad but true.
Content generation is an ongoing event. Website visitors look for fresh, new material and frequent blog posts to determine if you are keeping current. After all, if you’re not-up-to-date on sharing the latest information, how responsive will you be when it comes to servicing me as a customer?
Step 3 – Distribute and Deliver
Format your content correctly for the distribution channel (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) you choose. Unfortunately, there is no standard format for the plethora of distribution channels.
It might be ideal if you could sell your product one-to-one, but we don’t have the bandwidth to support that any more. That’s why content marketing, which reaches large numbers of people with similar needs, has become so popular.
Make sure your content offer is aligned to where the buyer is in their decision making process.
Download our Tip Sheet to learn how to match your offer to the Buyers Journey.
Step 4 – Measure, Test & Improve
A/B (always be) testing. Be scientific about your modifications.
Unless you have Donald Trump–like money, the way to successfully market your business is with a solid Inbound content strategy. Once you decide to put together an Inbound campaign for your tech, financial services or small business, I invite you to attend my seminar on Inbound marketing.
As part of the class, I offer the following: Inbound is not a one-time event. It is not a standalone accomplishment, and it is not an “easy” fix. It is a structured methodology that helps you to control your prospects’ perception of you and your company. It allows you to build trust, become a subject matter expert, monitor activity and convert visitors into qualified leads. It is a process that you constantly manage and tweak to improve results.
Towards the end of our session, attendees design their own Inbound campaign. One of my favorite parts of teaching the class is seeing the response of attendees when they really “get it.” The questions are sincere and the smiles are rewarding. For many, it’s the first time they really think through a strategy that goes into a marketing campaign.
The cool thing is that once you understand the fundamentals of Inbound marketing, it’s like having a recipe for your favorite dish – you can repeat it over and over again to achieve steady, predictable results.
A full-blown inbound campaign covers more than just the elements outlined here, but for businesses getting started or those sitting on the sidelines wondering if Inbound will really work at their company, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Start by putting these sound practices into place.
And let us know the results in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists