The business rationale for Inbound Marketing
Outbound marketing, which includes ads, spam mails, cold calling, direct mail is losing its potency because we have become adept at blocking and filtering out unwanted marketing efforts. The internet puts us in control of what we search, select, forward and bookmark. It is also highly time efficient allowing us to research and shop with ease whether you are a consumer or B2B buyer.
Today 78% of B2B purchasers start their purchasing process on the web and increasingly consumers do to. In cases where it does not start on the Web then Word Of Mouth (WOM) is the first step, and guess what checking the recommendation out on the web swiftly follows. This combination of Web and Wom, especially when Wom is drawn from internet blogs and reviews has changed the dynamics of purchasing. This opens up enormous business opportunities for the business owner to tap into this increasing level of internet based interest.
It levels the business playing field allowing even small and new businesses to grow rapidly, if only they can tap into all the customers or consumers who might be interested in their offer. Inbound marketing strategies are directed at finding, engaging and tapping into interested customers and consumers until they are ready to buy.
STEP 2 – ESTABLISH A PROCESS
Generate success - the reverse funnel
The reverse funnel is a method of attracting and keeping more qualified customers to you. It is designed to engage and hold the interest of qualified visitors, keeping them coming back to your site until they are ready to buy or advocating your brand to their social and professional networks. In this way it drives revenue both short and long term as well as building your brand. It includes 4 key stages – Listen, Create, Engage, Transform
Listening to what people say and want is fundamental in being able to provide solutions or offers to consumers and customers. Understanding what they want enables you to engage and maintain their interest with the right offer at the right time. By utilising the right tools to listen to the conversations on the internet, through particular blogs, forums and social media channels you are better able to understand your core market and the trends that are taking place.
Having listened you will be able to create content that gives your site visitors precisely what they want, which includes important information, helping to solve their problems or even something that amuses them. The right content, delivered through blogs, webinars, animation, tweets, ebooks etc, will keep visitors returning to your site and recommending you.
Having created the content you want to engage in conversations with prospects not just on your website, but through social media channels. It is about being heard in the right places in multiple channels. This means finding the right social networks where you can listen in and engage with interested people. It can also be through participating in blogs that cover your business interests and sector, or blogging and tweeting yourself to gain interested followers. This needs to be both reactive and proactive, ensuring you can engage at the right time with the right dialogue.
The final stage is to transform the prospects, listeners and followers you have engaged with into customers. This is achieved through an interactive content strategy, educating and engaging the audience while keeping your product firmly in the picture. This should be focused in the stages of the buying cycle – awareness, consideration & decision – delivering the right content to drive action and to build confidence to the point where the prospect can make a low risk decision.
Stay tuned for Part 3...