Inbound marketing is a way of describing your customer’s journey. We’ve all heard the “know – like – trust” phrase – that a person won’t buy from or invest in you if they don’t know, like, and trust you. A question that often arises is HOW do you build that know like in trust in today’s digital landscape?
One of the best ways to build trust is to put the buyer first. This can be difficult because by doing this we don’t even know if the buyer is going to buy from US. So the question again is, how do we build that trust, likability, and familiarity? By using the inbound marketing methodology.
The inbound marketing method uses a flywheel to show the different stages of the buyers journey. The different segments include attraction, engagement, and delight. These three segments when combined and used properly create growth (of your business).
Attraction is the stage where you, the business owner, quite literally attract new leads and strangers to your business. In today’s digital landscape, what can often be the first impression people have of your business? Your website! If your website looks uber salesy, harsh, unfriendly, unwelcoming, inaccessible, or simply can’t be found; you are starting off on the wrong foot. Your first impression ain’t going so swell. A successful attraction strategy that includes your website helps to turn those strangers into prospects. You want to EARN their attention, not force it.
The second stage of the inbound marketing flywheel is engagement. This is when you have the opportunity to turn those strangers into prospects who then hopefully become customers. How do we capitalize on engagement that helps enhance that “know-like-trust” thing we discussed earlier? By having a knowledge/resource center. Don’t be stingy with your information! If you are a subject matter expert, or have some life experience in an area – share that! Engage through education without the expectation of compensation.
You can do this through several different avenues that all have their own pros and cons. It really comes down to personal preference and what you can keep up with. Email marketing, social media posts and blogging are all great ways to promote that engagement through education idea. Blogging can also fall under the attraction stage if people are doing a search on their favorite search engine and come across your blog/article. In my opinion, having a knowledge/resource center is one of the best ways to foster growth. It’s a marathon strategy (much like SEO – search engine optimization), but one that will foster growth and equity in your business rather than sunk costs.
The third stage is delight. This is where customers become promoters, or as my friend Lisa Robin Young calls them – raging fans. You’ve successfully attracted and engaged your prospective buyer so they became your customer. Through your stellar customer service and top quality product you’ve earned the respect and accolades of your customer so they are sending you referrals galore. Through the word of mouth referrals from happy customers your business not only meets the goals but exceeds them, propelling you into the center of the flywheel to the final stage of growth. At least in an ideal world.
It’s unrealistic to expect every customer to become a promoter, affiliate, raging fan…whatever you’d like to call them. But there is no harm in striving to do the very best you can for each and every one.
If it’s just you running the business, implementing the inbound marketing strategy can be easy if not overwhelming since you are responsible for every part of the customer journey. If you have a larger team, every group from marketing to sales, should know what your strategy is, and how they play an integral part in keeping that customer journey a positive one. Everyone needs to be on the same page with what the end results/goals are or the customer experiences a disjointed journey. A disjointed, rocky journey does not lead to promoters or raging fans.
Having a website that is designed with the customer in mind, that is maintained and kept up to date, is accessible to as many people as possible, and is an asset to your business is something every business owner should strive for. I know, I know, I may be biased, but I truly believe that every business should have a website. We just rent space on social media platforms and if you’ve ever experience “Facebook Jail” or anything of the nature, you know what I’m talking about. Shop around, find a web guy/gal you feel comfortable with that can be your “biz bestie” and start the process of making your website work for you.