How many times have you received a promotional email from a company trying to sell you something?
How often do you actually care?
More often than not, these promotional emails sink or swim based on pure luck. Is the prospect in the frame of mind to discuss what’s being sold? If not, then the email gets deleted, or worse, flagged a spam.
But what if I told you that your own promotional emails (and everything else you publish) can be more effective at capturing attention – not only from cold prospects via email, but from a broader audience of prospects?
The truth is that outbound communications don’t have to fail. They fail because they often go out in a vacuum, ignoring the real needs of the people receiving them.
They are generic. Boring. Often highly aggressive.
And frankly, 99% of people just don’t care.
What they do care about are the problems that keep them up at night – the potential catastrophes faced in their business every single day and the ongoing issues that they just can’t figure out.
The kind of stuff that you are an expert at solving.
That’s where inbound marketing comes in.
The Role of Inbound Marketing in Your Company
Inbound marketing is a buzz word – so much so that most companies wave it away without thinking. It’s just another bit of jargon thrown about by agencies and consultants trying to land new business.
Marketing is marketing…right?
To some degree, you’re right. Inbound marketing is overused as much as “SEO” and “Brand Strategy” – it’s about capturing attention more than driving results.
But the idea behind inbound marketing isn’t buzzy. It’s highly effective – so much so that it frequently outpaces traditional marketing and sales tactics by as much as 60% when it comes to straight ROI.
A well-executed inbound campaign can drive traffic, increase lead conversion rates, and generate more sales for your business. The trick is that first part – making sure it’s well executed.
So, why is inbound so effective?
There are three reasons:
- It addresses the core concerns of your prospects instead of the USP of your product or service.
- It builds a relationship with people both during and ahead of the sales cycle.
- It provides real value to people without the expectation of sale. You’re being a good digital citizen and your reputation benefits accordingly.
Unless you have a six-figure advertising budget, it’s to the point that you can’t really promote a business online without some elements of inbound marketing in place. And that’s a good thing, because it means better relationships with the people you want to do business with.
How to Build a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign
Inbound works, but it’s not automatic. There’s a reason not everyone reports success with their campaigns – they aren’t always setup to be successful.
What’s missing from those failed campaigns?
- A clear understanding of the target audience and their needs
- Clearly defined language to communicate an understanding of those needs
- A well optimized website to capture attention and information from prospects
- Educational content in the form of both readily accessible and downloadable materials
- A well-defined followup procedure for nurturing new prospects
Without these five things, inbound marketing will fail. Period.
To ensure they work for your business, here are some of the specific things you should know and have built before you start heavily investing in new traffic to your website:
- Who are the top 3 personas you are targeting. More specifically, where do they live, what role do they hold in a company, what factors influence their decisions? How much information do they already have and what will they need from you? What are their most common questions?
- What are the specific words people use to describe their problems? Are there industry terms you should be sure to recognize? Common complaints you hear in the sales process? Spend time on industry blogs and forums to see how your target audience discusses these problems. Do some very real research here.
- Is your website setup for success? This means a mobile responsive design that works well on tablets and phones, high quality images, clearly laid out content that answers key questions, and downloadable offers and blog posts to educate visitors.
- Do you have eBooks, white papers, checklists, or webinars on your website that require a form to access? Provide high value content at the top of the marketing funnel to capture between 100-150% more of your traffic as leads.
- What do you do after someone fills out a form or calls you? Do they receive followup emails? If not, do you have a followup call procedure?
It’s common not to know the answers to a lot of these questions, even if you’ve been working in your industry for years. It’s also very easy to assume you know the answers only to find that things have changed over time to the point that your prospects are having completely different conversations than you might expect.
The bottom line is that, by doing the research and preparing the necessary foundational pieces in advance, you can target your audience more accurately and build an inbound marketing campaign that succeeds.
Ready to take the next step but not sure where to start? Download our eBook, 17 Things to Check Before Your Website is Marketing Ready and learn what might be missing from your website and marketing collateral to support an inbound campaign.