Outbound marketing is becoming more and more dated as potential customers are taking advantage of services that block out advertisements to the masses (think Tivo, spam filters and satellite radio), so naturally one turns to inbound marketing to make a real difference. In fact, 60% of companies have adopted some form of inbound marketing. One major advantage that inbound marketing offers is advertisement to people already shopping for the products or services that you offer. The difference is substantial compared to outbound marketing techniques, which rely more on the needle in the haystack approach. Inbound utilizes social media, videos, blog posts, and strong keywords to turn strangers into visitors. Recently, Icelandic tourism company Takk Takk virtually revived Icelandic tourism by utilizing inbound marketing; specifically social media, to advertise the country’s tourism opportunities. Not only did this result in increased revenue, but Takk Takk’s use of social media helped break records at Iceland’s international airport at Keflavik. 25% of the 2.4 million passengers between 2009 and 2012 were foreign tourists. Tools like the social media through Twitter and Vimeo attract people that want your services; they don’t annoy strangers with telemarketing calls in hopes of that one person actually listening.
The first step to successful inbound marketing is content creation. Your business needs to create a base of content that is going to be pushed out and made available to potential leads. This means be ready with blog posts and social media posts to be produced regularly. This means optimizing your website to appeal to visitors. This means including strong and relevant keywords in the creation of all of these tools so that your content is found by the target audience.
Because you steadily produced and posted your content, you have visitors on your site. What are you going to do about that? Use calls-to-action, landing pages and forms to generate real leads from your new visitors. Calls-to-action are links that encourage visitors to get involved with the company. They connect the visitor further with your business, and give your visitor a reason to come back. When a call-to-action is clicked on, it should lead to a landing page. Here the visitor fills out information regarding the specific call to action, but also provides valuable information that enables you to start a conversation with the new lead. Keep track of your leads, store their information together. Organization is vital to converting leads to customers.
Now you have a ever growing base of leads that is just waiting to be turned into a block of clients. Different leads are on different levels of readiness, meaning some are jumping to become customers while others are a little more hesitant. Rating or scoring leads is a useful way to focus on the leads closest to the finish line. Use a number system or give leads a school grade to keep track of where you should focus more attention. Send emails related to the calls-to-action the lead clicked on, and augment the emails according to their other interactions with your company. If they follow you on Twitter, the message might be different. If they visited a specific topic area on your site, supplement the email with useful information regarding that topic.
You’ve converted your leads into customers. However, there is still more that can be done to increase traffic and generate more leads in relation to new customers. Make your customers not only buyers, but promoters of the business. Social media and marketing automation are some of the most powerful tools today for doing so. If a customer is not already connected to you via Facebook or Twitter, make sure they do so. Not only will this keep your company fresh in the client’s mind, his or her followers and friends will be able to see your business too. Use email and marketing automation to keep the company fresh in the customer’s mind as well. Sending the client emails regarding new products and features is a great way to turn a one-time-client into a lifetime buyer and promoter.