Inbound Marketing

What IS inbound marketing?

Inbound marketingSimply put, inbound marketing is enticing customers to come to you by creating irresistible online offers. Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective  method of marketing.

It’s the new paradigm.  The old paradigm of “spraying and praying” – spraying the market with ads or direct mail and praying something works – is no longer the most effective way to spend your marketing dollar. There are just too may ways for people to avoid outbound or “interruption” marketing. Mail winds up in the trash unopened. The DVR and channel surfer allow TV ads to be skipped. Newspaper ads are easy to ignore.

On the other hand, when customers are searching for information and you publish content that they are looking for that solves their problems, you attract natural traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time.

“Audiences everywhere are tough. They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”         

— Craig Davis, Chief Creative Director, Worldwide J. Walter Thompson

Inbound marketing works, and it saves money.

Hubspot research shows:

  • Companies that blog receive 55 percent more website visitors than those that don’t.
  • 67 percent of B2C companies and 41 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
  • 42 percent of companies have acquired a customer through Twitter.
  • 57 percent of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.
  • Inbound marketing costs 65 percent less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.

The more helpful content you share, the better. According to Hubspot, websites with 401 to 1,000 pages get 600 percent more leads than those with 51 to 100 pages. A website with 1,000 pages or pieces of content on it is like a boat with 1,000 fishing lines over the side. It’s much more likely to catch fish than one with 10 or 20 lines.

We help you create content to attract your dream customer.

methodology-fullOffering expert information to help customers or clients solve their problems is the best way to attract qualified traffic to your website and keep them coming back over and over. We use the inbound methodology of attract-convert-close-delight to move strangers through the life cycle to customers and then evangelists.

Here are the tools we use to put each of these actions to work for you:

Attract:

  • Blogging – Many people don’t realize how important blogging is. They jump into Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn before beginning a blog, but after creating a website, blogging is the next piece of online real estate a business should create and maintain. (Just to set the record straight, blogging IS social media.) If you’re in business, you should have a blog. And you should be blogging no less than twice a week — at a bare minimum. As award-winning writers and journalists, we develop a plan that includes creating blog content aimed at attracting your ideal customers and clients. Working with you, we write the kind of blog articles you would write if only you had the time, leaving you free to do what you do best — run your business.
  • Social Media – Social media is becoming more important every day. Nearly a third of Americans check their networks multiple times daily. You must be strategic in choosing the social media channels to develop a business presence, then regularly post content that your audience is hungry for. Creating an effective plan and posting regular content that will spark customer interest is a lot of work. It’s no wonder that 53% of surveyed marketing executives plan to outsource their marketing, according to the Harvard Business Review. We develop content for your social media channels that is part of an overall campaign. Social media complements the website and blog content to work hand-in-hand to attract leads and convert them into customers.
  • Keyword research – Nothing happens online until a customer begins a search. Those search terms, or “keywords,” are an important part of our strategy to help your business get found online. Using the Hubspot keywords tool, we perform a careful and complete analysis of potential keywords before writing content for your website and blog. Then we optimize your pages, create content and build links around the keywords that will draw the ideal clients to your site.
  • Website copywriting – Just as adding relevant blog content helps your website attract traffic, adding more pages to your website also attracts more traffic. We will review, recommend and write additional content for your website where we think that is needed. Or, if you need a brand new website, we will work with our designers to create one from scratch.

“What we really need is a mindshift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers, a mindshift from ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships.”

– Jim Stengal, Former Global Marketing Officer for Procter & Gamble

Convert:

Getting visitors to your site is just the first step. Next, you want to convert those visitors into leads. The way to do that is to exchange something of value with those visitors — a free download — for their contact information. That free download can take many forms. It can be a report, a white paper, a tip sheet, a template — the sky’s the limit. The secret is that it has to be interesting and valuable to each of the “persona,” or ideal customers, that we will develop based on your criteria. Your visitors will “pay” for the content with their email address, giving you permission to market to them in the future.

Some of the most important tools we use in converting visitors to leads include:

  • Calls-to-Action – We create calls-to-action, which are buttons or links that encourage visitors to take action, such as “Download a Whitepaper” or “Attend a Webinar.” These are a must to generate leads.
  • Landing Pages – When a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action, they are sent to a landing page where the offer is fulfilled and the prospect submits information. The information can be minimal — just the first name and the email address — or it can include many questions, including last name, job title, phone number, employer, etc. The downside in asking for more information is the risk that some people will not complete a form that asks for too much information. Once the form is completed, the sales team can use the information to begin a conversation with the prospect.

“It no longer makes sense to send an advertising message to the many, in hopes of persuading the few.”

– M. Lawrence Light, Former Chief Marketing Officer, McDonalds

Close:

After attracting the right visitors to your site and converting them into leads, we help you push them through the sales funnel and close the sale with additional tools at just the right time.

Our closing tools include:

  • Lead Scoring – By using a numerical representation of the sales-readiness, Hubspot takes the guesswork out of the process of trying to determine when a lead is ready for your sales team.
  • Email – After leads have downloaded your content but are still not ready to become customers, we help you nurture them along with email marketing. We develop a series of emails focused on useful, relevant content to build trust with your prospects and help them become more ready to close the deal.
  • Marketing Automation – Automation involves creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and lifecycle stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded a whitepaper on a topic from you in the past, we might send that lead a series of related emails. But if they follow your company on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, we might change the messaging to reflect those specific interests.
  • Closed-loop Reporting – Which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads? Is your sales team closing those best leads into customers? Integration with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (such as SalesForce) allows us to help you analyze just how well your marketing and sales teams are working together.

“By publishing content that shows buyers you understand their problems and can show them how to solve them, you build credibility.”

– Ardath Albee, Author of E-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

Delight

Just because somebody has written you a check doesn’t mean you can forget about them. You have to continue to engage with them, delight, upsell and create happy promoters of your company. The way to do this is to provide top quality content to your users, whether they are visitors, leads or existing customers.

Tools we use to delight customers include:

  • Smart Calls-to-Action – Different offers are presented based on buyer personas and lifestyle stages.
  • Social Media – We use social media to help you provide real-time customer service.
  • Email and Marketing Automation – We provide your existing customers with remarkable content to help them achieve their goals, while we introduce new products and features.
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