Taking Inbound Marketing into the Future
Inbound marketing is leaving traditional methods dead in the water, according to marketing software company HubSpot. No, really! And we agree. The old way of pushing your product at somebody in the hopes of convincing them to buy is just so last century, isn’t it?
So if you want your business to survive, it’s time to drag you – kicking and screaming if necessary – into the year 2012, and here’s a shout-out to Lee Anne McClymont of the Courage Cocktail Radio Show for highlighting the issue on her show recently.
What’s the difference?
The difference between traditional and inbound marketing is direction. In traditional marketing, the business literally “goes out” to find prospects, while with inbound marketing the emphasis is on creating an environment that helps your prospects to find you. Sure, you have to do a lot of work, but at least the leads that come in are warm leads from people who are clearly interested in your product.
With traditional sales methods, you’ve likely heard the saying “The man who makes the calls gets the orders?” Well, anyone who has tried hard selling knows that isn’t strictly true; the average success rate of 1 sale for every 10 pitches delivered was rough even in the good times. In today’s economy it’s half of that, and it stinks. Seriously!
How did we get here?
So, what happened to traditional marketing, and how did we get to this point? Well, consumers just got tired of everyone screaming “buy from us” at every turn, and started taking control over the information they wanted to consume. They became selective, tuning out pervasive advertising, and started demanding real conversation and information of value, and the digital environment became the go-to marketplace for finding it. Just as hundreds of years ago tradesmen had to display their wares in the village square if they wanted to sell them, now businesses must show their stuff where the customers are – and they’re online!
When THEY come looking for YOU, that’s inbound marketing. Seem too simple? Well, it’s not as simple as it sounds. No sirreee! Kicking back and doin’ nothing ain’t gonna bring yo’ business. To make inbound marketing work for your business, you need to use a number of tried and tested techniques:
- Getting Found
Getting your customers to find you among the plethora of competitors for their attention is an art form. The good news is that a number of options exist to help you conquer inbound marketing, such as content marketing, social media, blogging and SEO. You need to create a digital space where consumers looking for your product or service will find you. And just as the shoe shiner in the marketplace of old needed to put signs up to show anyone with dirty shoes how to get to his stall, you need to create signs that point the way to your site. You can use owned, bought or earned media to do so.
- Lead Conversion
Once you get someone stopping by to look at your offering, you’ve got to engage them or they’ll move on. The old shoe shiner probably engaged visitors by keeping up a characteristic patter, not just telling them about his services – after all, everyone could see what he did – but by telling them stuff they didn’t already know. Like, how to protect their shoes during the winter, so they’d still have shoes for him to shine the following spring. And did he charge for the info? Not likely! Chances are when their shoes needed attention, guess who their go-to guy was? That’s how to convert passers-by to customers through inbound marketing; engage them, give them information of value, make your business accessible to them.
- Statistical analysis
Ok, so you don’t want to do the same thing over and over again and hope for a different result. That’s why, to make inbound marketing work for you, you need statistical analysis:
- to identify what works, what doesn’t, and what might;
- to get feedback from your customers on what makes them happy and what really sucks;
- to see what your competitors are doing and make sure you aren’t left behind.
The numbers don’t lie; follow them and you’ll be able to see where you’re right and where you aren’t.
Start your inbound marketing today. Download our Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing, or click the banner below to schedule a free, 60-minute consultation with a professional business marketing consultant.