Back in the day, advertising was simple: TV and print ads pushed products or services and we responded by buying those products or services. Those days are gone. Prospects of all ages now Google items or brands they’re interested in, visit the company’s website and ask Facebook friends for advice.
To thrive, businesses large and small must continue to evolve their sales strategies by employing inbound marketing. Effective inbound marketing engages early-stage potential customers as well as fosters relationships with established customers. Inbound marketing includes a variety of “pull” tactics:
- Web content
- Reports (inc. white papers and ebooks)
- Press releases
- Social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc.)
- Mobile offers/coupons
Note that none of these are “pushing” customers to buy; each serves to demonstrate your company’s expertise, builds trust and encourages conversations. Because you want to engage existing and potential customers, the key is to generate fresh, relevant content often enough that they pay attention. Everything you generate should be optimized with your top keywords. Search engines love inbound marketing tactics and done right, will reward you for your participation with higher rankings.
The goal is to structure inbound in ways to get someone’s permission to capture data such as a name and email address. This is a great way to fill your pipeline with leads for follow-up programs. The beauty of inbound marketing is that once you create strategic content, it works for you as long as it’s active. You have an asset that keeps on giving.
Our industry says many businesses are currently budgeting an average of 30 percent (up from 26 percent) of their marketing dollars to inbound tactics. They also say many businesses haven’t even begun to work in this arena. HubSpot, the company who literally wrote the book on inbound marketing, revealed that inbound marketing’s cost per lead is 60 percent lower than traditional outbound marketing.
How do you know which inbound marketing tactics are best for you? Ask yourself the same questions that you would before starting any marketing initiative; keep in mind that marketing must be about customers and prospects, not you.
Who are you trying to reach? Why do they need you? What message, information or offer would entice them to start a conversation with you? How are you going to follow up? How often are you going to post or email an offer?
If you need help in sorting through what to do first, contact Julie for a free consultation on how we can create an action plan.