Outbound is OUT, Inbound is IN
Consumers are turning away from disruptive outbound marketing and to inbound efforts.
As a kid, I can remember sitting down for dinner each night and without fail the phone would ring. Sometimes my father would answer, sometimes he would let it ring. But we always knew who it was: A telemarketing representative, trying to sell us something we probably didn’t need.
Their strategy was simple: Call during the time of the day when the decision maker is most likely to be home. I cannot fault them for this approach. However, the consistency of this approach created an aversion to telemarketers. By the time I was 10 years old I knew I did not like telemarketers!
This method of “outbound marketing” was the way of the world for a period of time. The sales person had the knowledge of their product or service, and if you wanted to learn more, you would have to engage with them.
But, what’s replacing outbound? Here’s a little intro to inbound:
The internet has given the consumer power. The ability to conduct their own research on the product or service they seek. A buyer can learn and compare before they ever talk to a sales person. Inbound means less cold calling and more support lines and resources available to the potential customers.
So, how can I make sure potential customers are considering my service?
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey.
Deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Don’t throw sh*t at the wall and hope it sticks. Create valuable content, and a strategy that will engage with those currently seeking the solution(s) your company offers. Position yourself as a thought leader in the industry.
“If you build it, they will come”– W.P. Kinsella
The next challenge will be to develop sales and marketing alignment. Inbound marketing is a demand generation machine, but that does not mean that every lead that converts is ready to buy.
There are three stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness stage – The buyer realizes their need or problem.
- Consideration stage – The buyer researches possible solutions and begins to narrow down their options.
- Decision stage – The buyer pulls the trigger and decides on the solution they believe to be the best.
Create content that caters to each of these stages and when a potential buyer converts have a plan of action for what happens next.
Lead nurturing is a key part to a sound inbound marketing strategy. This strategy is built by staying top of mind with potential customers, continuing to provide value to those that have shown interest, and nurturing these leads through the buyer’s journey. Below are a few ways to do each of these steps.
Stay top of mind with ideal buyers by:
- Using paid advertising, and follow search engine optimization best practices to drive traffic.
- Creating relevant, and engaging blog posts.
- Utilizing public relations and community building tactics.
Provide value to someone that has shown interest by:
- Staying engaged, continue to provide value through premium content.
- Creating a dialogue to understand their need or problem.
- Developing a timeline to help them understand what to expect throughout the process.
Sample: How sales and marketing alignment can work for your business
Focus on helping instead of selling
Marketing and sales working together creates a very smooth and natural experience for the buyer.
They will not feel bombarded, or pressured to buy something they are not ready to, and they will have been provided all the resources and the knowledge to make the best decision.
Inbound marketing is all about empowering the buyer and allowing them to find their own way to your solution. No one wants to feel like they’ve been sold.
Learn how social media can play an intricate role in your Inbound Marketing strategy as well as supporting you on your journey to social selling success in our Social Media Handbook.