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Inbound marketing is the promotion of a company or other organization through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel
How Inbound Marketing Works:
- Write your compelling story – You’ll need a clearly defined, compelling story – a brand story, so you can attract your ideal customers and earn your rightful place in the market. Understanding your customer needs and persona can help to define your story as you must relate your brand to them personally.
- An effective website that works – 68% of buyers use online search tools to begin their buying process, and this % can be higher with certain types of products or services. That means your website’s first impression is crucial. Is your website creating the right impression? Are you able to provide the buyer with the information they’re looking for? Can your customers clearly differentiate you from your competition? Is your website updated frequently so the information they find there is accurate? Do you have total control over your site’s content?
- Generate website traffic– The key to start generating traffic to your website with an Inbound Marketing program is that you promote the great content on your website by doing the following tactics; Search engine optimization (SEO),email marketing, pay per click (PPC) advertising,blogging and social media,
- Convert website traffic into leads– To convert traffic into leads you’ll need to have special offers, e-books, white papers, events and webinars that will attract your target audience. Instead of giving information away for free, ask visitors to fill out a short form with their contact information in exchange for the information. Visitors who identify themselves by filling out a landing page form are then treated as leads. Now the prospect has given you permission to contact them. This way, you inform your audience through Inbound Marketing – rather than interrupt them. That means your communication to them is welcome, creating a warmer lead when the time comes for the sale.
- Convert leads into customers– Though not every lead that comes through your website is ready to buy at that moment, the goal of Inbound Marketing is to convert leads into customers. To keep your brand – and product or service, top of mind as prospects move through the sales funnel, you’ll need to implement a lead nurturing workflow. Leads can also be segmented by scoring them until they’re ready to be called by a sales person. This data can be seamlessly integrated into most CRM’s.
- Measure– If you care about your marketing ROI (and we’re betting that you do), then you must be willing to invest in the measurement tools that help refine and perfect your Inbound Marketing. We prefer to use a powerful, integrated, Inbound Marketing automation software tool called HubSpot. With HubSpot, you can see, in real-time, how many visitors are coming to your website, where they’re coming from, exactly who’s converting into a lead and who’s converting into a customer.
The four major ways your sales team benefits from inbound marketing.
Through the efforts of inbound marketing, your organization will create (either in-house or outsourced) compelling content optimized with call-to-action buttons that link to landing pages. These initiatives work to attract prospects and help them easily navigate your website to find the additional resources you offer.
The intent is to provide them with enough value that they will interact and voluntarily give their contact information and thus turn into viable leads. Throughout this process, the sales team will be fed a list of new leads who are interested in the resources your company has provided. At this point it is worth noting that your sales reps have yet to lift a finger during this automated lead-generation process.
Establish Initial Contact
Picking up right where I left off from the previous paragraph, thanks to automated lead generation, the sales team has a steadily growing pool of leads that have interacted with the company website. Now, when the sales rep picks up the phone or sends an email, they already have the foundation of the relationship.
Each lead has initiated the connection with your company, eliminating cold calls and other unsolicited sales efforts. In addition, your sales rep can now tailor his or her phone call/email message to align with to the lead’s journey through your website. If the lead grabbed a particular eBook, your rep can leverage the eBook download as a context for the initial conversation.
Just like that, your cold call is now a warm call with whom it is much easier to establish credibility and develop a relationship.
Enhance Your Position As An Industry Expert
When I mentioned “establish credibility” in the point above, I was touching on the enhanced position achieved by the sales rep through the inbound marketing efforts of the organization. It is no surprise to find that people tend to put their shield up in defense when they receive a sales call; it is the sales rep’s responsibility to resolve objections and convey your company’s unique message to interested prospects.
When communicating with a warm lead, the objection resolution success rate is much lower than when cold calling. If the sales rep connects with a lead over the phone, they can leverage the fact that the lead was interested in their content online. By simply stating your organization’s name, the lead has no doubt you are a real company. Moreover, the lead already considers your brand somewhat of an expert from the resources they’ve gathered on your website, and they likely will be much more willing to hear how you can benefit them further.
Your sales rep can further enhance this perception by encouraging leads to consume other relevant pieces of content from your website in an attempt to establish your company as the “go-to” source of insight and information.
Build Lasting Relationships
Even after a lead has completed their initial research on your website, they may not be quite ready to buy; they will most likely continue their search elsewhere and gather more resources.
If you’ve established your company as an industry thought-leader, they will be more likely to revisit your website for resources and continue to build a relationship with your brand. Your sales rep will have an easier time building a relationship with a lead who feels like they’ve already built a lasting relationship with your brand.
Through the efforts of inbound marketing and the personal touch of your sales rep, your company should consistently offer insights, suggestions, and more resources to leads in order to increase their trust in the rep and in your brand.
There are many more benefits that inbound marketing provides to an organization’s sales team, although these four stand out in my mind as the most impactful. By establishing initial contact and encouraging interactive behavior on your website, inbound marketing takes a substantial amount of work out of the sales process.
I challenge you to avoid sweeping these many advantages of inbound marketing under the rug and remain stagnant with your traditional marketing efforts; embrace inbound marketing methodology and be sure to analyze its impact. You won’t be disappointed with the results.
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