These are the steps of a successful inbound marketing model.
Inbound marketing has proven to be an effective marketing tool for doing business online. Unlike outbound marketing, which involves buying ads and email lists, inbound marketing is about providing valuable information (content) to prospects who have a direct need for your product or service – the ones who are more likely to become leads and then customers.
You attract people to your website, by aligning the content you publish with prospects’ interests. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and anywhere else you may exist digitally where you can convert them into leads.
“The world has shifted from outbound to inbound marketing techniques,” Craig Faulkner, founder of digital marketing firm FMG Suite, said at a recent industry event. “Advisors still need to go out and meet people,” he said, “but they also need people to want to come to them in the digital world.”
Publishing the right content in the right place at the right time makes your marketing relevant and helpful to customers, not interruptive. How can advisors start doing inbound marketing? Here are some suggestions for making it easy to be found by prospects:
Attract: Content is king. Your content should address each prospect type and answer the unique questions he or she asks at the various points in their purchase cycles. Create targeted content that answers prospects’ and customers’ basic questions and needs, and then share this content far and wide. Some of the most important tools to attract the right users to your site are blogging, SEO, and social publishing.
“It’s all about good content,” Faulkner said, “but the content has to be compelling, fresh, interesting, personal, and constantly updated. Leverage search engine optimization. Advisors should personalize and localize their websites as much as possible. People want to see you, your staff, your city, and your civic engagement.”
Faulkner also recommends:
- Use videos whenever possible. Make sure the videos are never longer than 90 seconds. “People have short attention spans and they’re watching more videos than ever through streaming services like Netflix. Studies have shown viewers stay on a site five to six times longer if they watch videos.”
- Use information-rich, personal photos. “Avoid generic at all costs. Show the inside of your office and pictures of your events.”
- Present a personal brand and tell a good story. “Identify your niche and your interests. Do you golf? Fly planes? Woodwork? Let people know, make it interesting, and you will generate interest from like-minded enthusiasts.”
- Change content at least once a month. One-third should be original, and the rest should be outsourced.
Convert: Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, the next step is to convert them into leads by gathering their contact information. At the very least, you’ll need their email addresses. Contact information is the most valuable currency there is to the online marketer. So, in order for your visitors to offer up this currency willingly, you need to offer them something in return. This “payment” comes in the form of content, like eBooks, whitepapers, or tip sheets – whatever information would be interesting and valuable. Some of the most important tools in converting visitors to leads include:
- Forms: For visitors to become leads, they need to fill out a form and submit their information. Optimize your form to make this step of the conversion process as easy as possible.
- Calls-to-Action: Calls-to-action are buttons or links, which encourage your visitors to take action, like “Download a Whitepaper” or “Attend a Webinar.” If you don’t have enough calls-to-action or your calls-to-action aren’t enticing enough, you won’t generate leads.
- Landing Pages: When a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action, he/she should then be sent to a landing page. A landing page is where the offer in the call-to-action is fulfilled and where the prospect submits information, which your sales team can use to begin a conversation with them. When website visitors fill out a form on a landing page for the first time, this visitor becomes a contact.
- Contacts: Keep track of the leads you’re converting in a centralized marketing database. Having all your data in one place helps you make sense out of every interaction you’ve had with your contacts – be it through email, a landing page, social media, or otherwise – and how to optimize your future interactions to more effectively attract, convert, close, and delight your buyer personas.
Close: Closing a deal is all about being helpful and providing value at the right time. Executing a more personalized, segmented lead-nurturing strategy effectively works leads further down your sales funnel – eventually leading to a sale – by providing helpful content which resonates with their specific needs and goals. Tools you will want to consider implementing include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems facilitate sales by making sure you have the right information at your fingertips, to better engage with prospects across every channel
- A series of emails focused on useful, relevant content can build trust with a prospect and help them become more ready to buy
- Creating email marketing and lead nurturing tailored to the needs and lifecycle stage of each lead. For example, if a visitor downloaded a whitepaper on a certain topic from you in the past, you might want to send this lead a series of related emails. If, however, they follow you on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, you might want to change the messaging to reflect those different interests.
Delight. Providing remarkable content to your users – whether they are visitors, leads or existing customers – is what inbound marketing is all about. Just because someone signed with you doesn’t mean you can forget about them! Inbound companies continue to engage with, delight, and upsell their current customer base into happy promoters of the firm.
Additionally, once you’ve reached people, you need to engage with them. Conduct short surveys and questionnaires where you can get conversation going. Develop smart content tailored to individual interests and challenges: Pay attention to conversations in social media.
* Before you start your website, social media or other digital marketing, please make sure you check with your firm’s Compliance Department for their requirements.
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