A lot has changed in the world of marketing and you may have been noticing the term "Inbound" popping up everywhere. It's really becoming a movement to connect with people, with buyer's, through the use of transparency and personalization. As the buyer's process has changed, we too as marketers, sales people and business owners need to change. The days of always be closing aren't going to work anymore, it's time to always be helping the buyer because that is what will earn trust and prove valuable.
The Four Stages of Inbound Marketing
An Inbound Marketing Plan has four stages- Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. In order for a plan to be successful, you must hit all four stages with the necessary marketing elements.
With the use of the applicable marketing outlets, you are able to guide the visitor down the sales funnel where you MUST continue to nurture the customer, so they become a promoter for your product or service. Here is a closer look of each stage:
In the Attract stage, this is where you are attracting strangers and turning them into new visitors to your website. The ways we attract new visitors is through the use of social media, blogging and SEO. Now this isn't to say you can tweet once, use a few keywords on your homepage and blog once every couple months and expect to bring 5,000 new visitors a month. The Attract stage takes persistence and patience. With consistency and the ability to share remarkable content you will begin to see the rewards of your commitment within the first two to three months.
The second stage is to take these new visitors and convert them into leads. This is where the "remarkable" content that I mentioned above becomes super important. Based on the buyer persona's that you have defined, you must provide a top of the funnel offer that addresses a pain point of that buyer persona. In order to convert the visitor to a lead, you must create a Call-To-Action button that entices the visitor and directs them to a landing page that includes a form they must fill out to get the offer. Once the visitor completes the form, they become a lead.
During the third stage, you will need to continue nurturing the lead down the sales funnel with different offers. Reach out with the use of emails to connect to dig deeper and find out what value you can bring to the lead. Ask questions, listen and provide help. Based on the leads activity, the sales team now has relevant information and context about the potential buyer to engage in a meaningful dialogue working towards a close. Every salesperson should be using the tool Sidekick (formally Signals) to assist during the closing stage.
The final stage is what will make your business sustainable. During the first three stages you have been nurturing your visitors and leads with remarkable content and help. That shouldn't stop when they become a customer. It is just as important in this stage to keep delighting your customers. Setup special events for your customers, provide them with helpful e-books with tips and tricks when using your product or service, keep them engaged and if you do this right and your product is good, they will turn into promoters and evangilists (aka referrals!).
A Continuous Cycle
Keep in mind, this is a continuous cycle. Think of each stage as a gear in a well oiled machine and if one gear stops, the entire machine will slowdown and stop. Keep the momentum going at every stage in order to attract new visitors, convert leads, close new customers and delight those customers so they become promoters of your product or service.