How To Use Inbound Marketing to Build Real Relationships with Customers
Many people think that the best way to attract customers is a loud, intriguing advertisement strategy with a catchy slogan.
And while all this annoying marketing may be attention-getting, it really starts a customer-business relationship on the wrong foot. Nobody wants to be annoyed, after all.
But what do they want?
Information. Personalization. Most of all, customers want something that feels like it "gets" them: something they can relate to, or something that can solve their problems without right-off-the-bat promotion of a product.
Inbound Marketing is a technique that prioritizes customer retention and relationships and understands that the best marketers for your business are customers who care enough to spread the word.
Inbound Marketing is not easy, however- without a bold, concise strategy, the number of social media posts and networking efforts won't matter.
So how does a company effectively apply this relationship marketing strategy to their outreach efforts?
Figure Out Your Audience - Build Loyal Customers
Finding your target market and reaching them effectively is only the first step. The next step is figuring out where the audience's interests lie, what kind of content they read and share, and what kind of content they avoid.
Build your marketing plan carefully, keeping these points in mind:
- It's key to develop marketing strategies modeled off those that seem to be doing well on the networks your target audience frequents.
- Following social cues in a certain online forum is not inherently unoriginal- it's a foundation on which to build your unique place on the Web.
- You can't reach an audience if they search on LinkedIn and you market on Twitter- so be mindful of where your target audience spends their time online.
Don't Just Create Content - Promote Content.
After studying what your audience is willing to read and creating it, you must promote it. Begin discussions that tie into your marketing pieces and blog posts.
- Discussions are a great way to get people involved (if not directly in your company, in what your company cares about).
- A promotional plan that you follow with all your articles and advertisements is a solid way to cater to the needs of your audience.
- Don't be afraid to try new things: social media startups, incentives to reshare your content, new blog formats
- The discovery process must be smooth, but still organic. Reach out to others in the way that you would want to be reached out to.
- Rather than finding customers, you must be found by them: this is the difference between inbound marketing and outdated marketing.
Branch Out & Build Brand Awareness
When was the last time you saw a 'viral' blog post? Certainly not recently. There are some formats that just work better for fast marketing.
- Videos are spread far more quickly, so in some applications, they are simply a better fit.
Same goes for other formats as well.
- Want to make a bold, intriguing statement? Try a Tweet.
- Want to inform without making a reader scroll through a long list of blog posts? Maybe an eBook would fit your needs.
Inbound Marketing is all about drawing customers in with the things they want and will keep coming back to. In an age of abounding technological options- be it Email, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Blogs- the best strategy is to use them all. B2b inbound works the same as B2c in this regard.
Quality Over Quantity - Create Great Customer Experiences
Traditional advertising follows a basic rule: the more you pay, the more visible your marketing will be.
Staying on top of a page of ads requires constant payments, which reflects very little on how great the company actually is and reflects very much on what they company pays.
Not so with Inbound Marketing.
- Popularity is defined by real people, not by dollars spent.
- People tend to prefer quality over quantity.
- Power is given to small, specialized, community-driven companies rather than large corporations, and for the most part, these are the businesses customers prefer because they are given choice.
- In a space with more choice between options, you must stand out as more desirable than others in order to build an audience.
In other words, quality is key.
The Flywheel Effect
The Flywheel effect refers to a process that is hard to get turning, but only picks up speed once it is going. This idea is a perfect metaphor for the beauty of Inbound Marketing.
Sure, it's harder to earn attention than to demand it, but it is certainly worth it in the end, as the flywheel picks up momentum and investments return larger and larger dividends.
The moral of the flywheel analogy? Don't quit before it starts rolling.
- Building an initial audience is hard work. But the less you put into it, the less you'll get out of it.
- Writing blog posts is hard work. But your audience will expect updates in the kind of content they came to you for.
- The entire process requires experimentation, effort, and dedication, but once you're on your way, there's no turning back. You will be on your way to an effective marketing strategy.
The Big Idea
Inbound Marketing is defined by letting customers find you, not interrupting and annoying customers until they pay attention. It's about supplying customers what they want, all while being mindful of how, when, and where they want it- format, specific websites, the frequency of updates, etc.
The most important thing to keep in mind while promoting your content is what the customer is looking for.
Once you've found your place on the Web and started your wheels rolling, Inbound marketing can be a powerful tool, not only to gain customers, but to convert them into word-of-mouth marketers for your company.
After all, you don't want to just solve problems- you want to make people happy with the solutions.
The appeal of Inbound Marketing is endless. It's personalized, interesting, informative marketing without the hassle of trying to shout over a crowd. So what are you waiting for? Create a strategy. Create content. Create customers!
Create long term relationships and watch your business grow! If you are looking for content marketers and help with your marketing campaigns contact us.