Whether you’re familiar with what inbound marketing is or not, you’ll certainly have experienced it. As consumers, we are inundated with thousands of advertising and marketing messages every day. Some are uniquely crafted and targeted to our eyes, but most are not.
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting customers to your brand, by providing them with relevant and helpful content at the right time and place that they need it. Do this, and not only will you have the best chance of boosting your revenue, but you’ll also grow brand advocates and loyalty.
But what do you need to be doing in order to make this work effectively? Here are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure your inbound marketing strategy is delivering results.
A frictionless buyer journey
Understanding your buyer journey is an essential first step in getting inbound marketing right, as this ensures you can adapt your strategies to meet their expectations.
For instance, did you know that 80 per cent of buyers don’t want to talk to sellers until they’re at the decision stage? This can be particularly difficult if you are a seller and really want to talk to a buyer about the amazing products you can offer.
What this knowledge can provide is power for the seller, who needs to tailor their customer service to meet the needs of the client. Take a step back from a solely transactional viewpoint and predict what information the buyer needs and then supply them with it.
The upshot should be a frictionless interaction that leaves the client feeling that a solution has been personalised for them. Such a convenient way of doing business will lead to a positive overall impression and the desire to work with your organisation again.
Coping with an on-demand world
Marketers must keep evolving our practices as the world changes. At present, everything is on-demand and this has a huge impact on how we interact with potential buyers. Delivering a good experience that meets customer expectations must be achieved every single time.
Yet as customers move forward, many businesses are falling behind. This creates a huge void between the two parties which requires more than incremental changes to bridge.
A huge transformation is required, and no company can afford not to transform!
How has this situation come about, you may ask? Well, it used to be the case that a few publications controlled the flow of information. Money was key and if you had it, you could buy your way in, taking advantage of the relatively limited choices that were available.
Then something changed, and it was called the internet. Suddenly the options became infinite and anyone with an idea could bring attention to it for free. Companies multiplied and so did information, which became totally ubiquitous.
Technology represents a fantastic way of organising information, but with simple solutions also came complexity. Businesses that understand the need for simplicity and can harness technological advances to make life easier for their customers will get ahead.
Ultimately, it’s not about what you sell; it’s about how you sell it. If you don’t agree, then just look at these examples: record stores were replaced by iTunes and now Spotify; Blockbuster replaced by DVDs and now Netflix; fax by email then Slack; and business travel by Cisco and now Zoom.
When you break it down, you realise that the original versions all had something in common, as did their replacements.
Instead of being constricted by 9-5 business hours, new services offered 24-7 availability; high levels of investment were replaced by quick and cheap start-ups; from the generic came the personalised experience; responsive solutions became predictive.
It’s no longer enough, therefore, to simply provide a service.
Businesses must be prepared to engage with their customers however and whenever is required, be adaptable and available and anticipate the needs of clients in advance. Above all else, companies must be authentic in their roles and how they are carried out.
Brands must be more human!
All of this is a very tall order and easier said than done, especially when customers are active across many channels, some switching between multiple channels and yet expecting the same experience.
So how is a company supposed to achieve all this?
The key is having the right information at the right time so brands can communicate in the appropriate way for the channel. One-size fits all is no longer an option and intelligent omnichannel solutions are required.
That’s why the right tools and expertise are essential to helping brands grow. They focus on innovation of the technology and its capabilities, and that allows marketers to focus on their main priority – the relationship with their customers.
This article was updated June 2020