Every business desire quality leads that convert to sales. Faced with continuous and challenging economic conditions, sales and marketing teams are under more pressure to generate leads and grow revenue, and the company’s market share.
This year, do your sales and marketing strategy include your sales teams being tasked to do more cold calling and direct email tasks? Are they attending more business network meetings with the hope to attract and build relationships with potential customers? What about digital?
Has your company seen and reaped the benefits of digital marketing? If not, then this article is written to provide an answer to how digital marketing can help you attract and convert quality leads in 2023.
Digital marketing combined with MarketingTech offers numerous benefits to companies. Ultimately it must achieve efficiency, making it easier and more cost-effective to do and scale business. Challenges abound due to the increasing number of channels requiring more resources (time, budget, people). Without the time to master these new channels, companies struggle to utilize digital marketing effectively to achieve important objectives such as growth and efficiency.
This article aims to cut through the noise to answer two specific questions:
- Given all the digital marketing strategies available, what is the best strategy for attracting quality leads?
- What is the best digital marketing strategy that will reduce my overall marketing costs and allow my teams to focus on other areas of my business?
The answer to both questions is Inbound Marketing.
Inbound marketing is by far the most effective digital marketing strategy as its aim is to focus on attracting customers instead of pursuing them with in-your-face, interruptive sales and marketing tactics. In this article, we have expanded more on inbound marketing, the process, and its benefits. Read more below.
Table of Contents: Lead Generation
- No. 1 The difference between outbound vs inbound marketing.
- No. 2 How does an inbound marketing strategy work; and
- No. 3 The benefits of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
No. 1 Outbound vs Inbound Marketing
Both outbound and inbound marketing share a common goal – increase conversions and sales, however, they are incredibly different from each other.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing is also known as a “disruptive” marketing strategy. Its aim is to interrupt and grab the attention of the prospect with the hope that the marketing or sales message will engage and influence the customer for a sale. This strategy is one that forces your brand and offering in front of potential customers – whether they are interested in it or not.
Common outbound marketing activities include promotional materials such as TV ads, billboards, telemarking, direct mail, and radio ads.
With outbound marketing, your business faces a number of challenges. We’ve highlighted a few of the main challenges:
- A shot-in-the-dark approach. You are hoping to connect with your ideal customer with the hope that they are ready to engage and buy.
- The cost of these activities is high and often produces a low yield. This is because people pay less attention to advertisements and the difficulty to target and engaging an audience when they are interested and willing to buy.
- Inability to target – This means your message is seen or heard by prospects as well as many other people who may not need or be interested in your brand and offering.
- Wasted valuable resources – Time, People and Money because you cannot analyse the effectiveness of the activities that are producing results. This prohibits you from applying your resources more effectively and elsewhere to the growth of your business.
What is Inbound Marketing?
If outbound marketing is known as disruptive / push marketing, then inbound marketing is pull marketing – having the ability to pique the interest, curiosity and engagement of prospects and customers and having the ability to draw them to your business.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that respects your prospects’ time and choices and allows them to initiate the buyer’s journey with your brand – when they need your offering and are ready to buy from you.
Crucial to the success of your inbound marketing strategy is the creation of excellent, value-based, eye-catching content that piques the interest and meets the needs of the prospect during their journey.
These content pieces are found naturally by your prospect through the different digital channels they engage with; and because of your effective digital marketing strategies such as blogs, emails, social media and SEO which are used to attract the attention of the lead.
No. 2 How does an inbound marketing strategy work
The inbound marketing strategy focuses on four stages of your customer’s journey. Your strategy is to ensure that your brand meets them at each stage to lead them through the cycle.
Step 1: Attract
The first step in the inbound marketing process is attracting your ideal prospective customer. How does one achieve this?
1.1 Profile your customers
The most important step is to profile and segment your ideal customers. Not every customer is the same, therefore it is important for you to know exactly who you are trying to attract.
The outcome of this exercise will be that you identify their interests, goals, frustrations, behaviours, content preferences and buying motivations which then allows you to tailor your content types and marketing messages to your audience and their specific needs.
This approach will ensure that when your audience is seeking products or services that you offer, your brand and messages will reach the right audience at the right time and at the right place.
1.2 Develop great content
The purpose of designing and developing content is to educate and inform, set your brand apart and influence the customer throughout their journey. For inbound marketing, content can take the form of blogs, videos, infographics, case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, and more.
Knowing what your audience’s content preferences are, you can then develop different content types that can be published across the different marketing channels where your prospective customer will be looking for them, i.e. your website and social media channels.
The more specific your content can be to meet the needs of your prospective customer, the more engaged they will be. Prospects are more attracted to brands that offer relevant and interesting content.
When your prospect is engaged with your brand, this allows for the building of brand authority, trust, credibility, and relationship – oftentimes before they reach out to physically engage with your business.
1.3 Master SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engines such as Google and Bing are used daily to help people find answers to questions that they are looking for. This is often the place where your prospective customer may start their journey by searching for a product or service that your business provides.
The higher up your website appears on search engine results pages (SERP), the more website visitors you will receive.
Being visible within search engine result pages for the keyterms and phrases identified throughout the buyers’ journey is key to attracting new inbound leads. An SEO (Search engine optimization) strategy is vital to increase the visibility of your website and build ranking for keywords. SEO is an invaluable, long-term inbound marketing strategy that will ensure that your prospective customers find you naturally through their own search efforts.
1.4 Use Social Media Marketing
Your brand needs to be visible on the social media platforms where your market and audience engage. Sharing your valuable content and consistently keeping your social media channels updated builds trust and credibility for your brand.
Another benefit offered via social media listening tools is the ability to pay attention to what your customers and market are saying and wanting to know. This allows you to keep tweaking your content and inbound strategy to meet their specific needs and trends.
Step 2: Convert
If you’re already implementing digital marketing, such as creating intriguing social media posts, and insightful blogs – you may find that your website is already attracting traffic to your website, but they are not converting into leads and sales. There could be several reasons why customers are not converting.
To draw the prospect into your sales funnel, you need to offer them enticing and free information that you know they really want – however this value-based content is gated. This is the time to ask for something in exchange for your free offering! This exchange is usually their details such as contact name and details, industry and interests that they will input via an online web form.
Some examples of gated content include how-to guides, e-books, a coupon code, and access to your company’s services.
Having your prospects’ contact details is a big win, as this allows you to nurture and build your relationship with your prospects with even more value-based and gated content.
These are the basics of what you will need to get started with gated content:
2.1 Website Landing Pages
2.2 Calls to action
2.3 Online Web Forms
2.4 Analytics and Reporting; and
2.5 Your gated content
Step 3: Close
Now that you’ve got your prospect’s details, you can’t let things slide after the conversion. Now is the time to start nurturing and converting these leads to sales and long-term loyal customers.
In order to nurture, you need to stay in touch with your prospect. You will need to keep learning about them all through the process of converting them to a sale. Some ways to do this are:
3.1 Using a CRM (Customer relationship management) system
There are many customer relationship management (CRM) systems on the market. It is important to keep track of all your prospects’ information, including their engagement with your content, marketing and sales team. This information can help you and your sales teams understand your customers better and use this information to tailor your communication and offering to each individual or group.
To make this easier for you, it is best to use a marketing automation platform with a built-in CRM service for efficiency, productivity and reporting purposes. Speak to us about demonstrating this solution to you. You’ll be amazed at how this solution aligns your sales and marketing teams and the amount of information and data you have at your fingertips that demonstrates how well you are nurturing and growing the relationship with your prospective customer.
3.2 Set up marketing automation with drip campaigns
The purpose of marketing automation is to automate processes that ensure high-quality results, and reduce the time, effort, and costs of repetitive tasks, whilst also reducing manual errors and giving your business the ability to focus on your primary objectives.
With your prospect’s permission and details firmly embedded into your marketing automation platform, you can implement an automated email drip campaign, which allows your business to deliver additional value-based content to the prospect, at intervals that you have set and based on the information that they gave you.
It is prudent to stay relevant and to send your prospects value-based content to keep your brand top of mind.
Sending your prospect timely and relevant emails keeps your brand top of mind. If your prospect does not convert at this stage, you would need to find out why they have not purchased and see how you can sway them without coming across as pushy.
Step 4: Delight
Step 4 is the last stage of the inbound marketing strategy and it is all about providing your prospect or now customer with a remarkable experience that is true to your Brand. Just because they have now become a customer does not mean that you should move onto the next prospect to close the deal.
A delighted customer becomes a loyal customer and one who will promote your brand due to the delightful experience with your Brand. Here are some ways in which you can continue to delight your customer – long after the initial sale.
4.1 Continue to build a relationship with them. The beauty of digital marketing is that it offers your Brand the opportunity to get closer to your prospect. First through attracting the customer which allows you to get into a meeting room for a face-to-face or online meeting. Once the deal is signed and sealed and the money is banked, this does not mean that you should stop engaging with your customer.
Using your CRM system, your sales team can schedule regular meetings to engage and build relationship with your customer. This allows for understanding the customer and their needs and affords your Brand the opportunity to meet their needs or to upsell.
4.2 Continue to send them relevant and timely content. Content that helps them do their job better; or overcome challenges or provides useful information that will help them achieve their objectives.
4.3 Be responsive to your customers across all channels that they may engage in – from live chat, online forums, telephonic, email and other related support that they may need.
No. 3 The benefits of an effective Inbound Marketing Strategy
When done well, inbound marketing is ten times more effective for conversion than outbound marketing. In fact, 41% of worldwide marketers say that their inbound marketing shows a noticable ROI. The benefits of an effective inbound marketing strategy are many, with the most noticable being the ability to:
#1: Attract quality leads that can be nurtured and converted
Your brand, content, and platforms are found by your prospect when they are looking for your products and services. Your content meets your prospect at the position in their buyer’s journey and can nurture them to the point of conversion. Quality content throughout the buyers journey is excellent for building relationships with your brand and getting your sales reps one step closer to direct face-to-face or online engagements with your prospects.
#2: Reducing costs and improving efficiency
Inbound marketing costs on average 61% less than outbound marketing. It improves efficiency because your resources (time, staff and money) are invested in activities that can be targeted, tracked, measured and analysed for performance. Your marketing and sales staff can focus on other activities that grow your business.
#3: Build trust and credibility
When your prospect finds you organically via a Google Search, or via a referral that they trust; and your content is designed and developed to leave them feeling more knowledgeable and informed to make an educated decision; whilst also communicating your brand and value – this builds higher trust and credibility for your brand.
We trust that this guide has helped you understand the fundamentals of inbound marketing.
About Ignite Media
Established in 2013, Ignite Media is an innovative boutique digital marketing agency working with clients throughout South Africa.
We pride ourselves in offering professional and efficient support and services towards helping you grow a competitive and sustainable organisation. Through a consultative, yet hands-on approach, we personalise, construct, combine and implement effective strategies with innovative technologies geared toward your marketing and sales performance.
Our range of services, including lead generation is available to you via flexible retainer packages which allow for the mixing and matching of the support and services that you need for your project or to market your organisation successfully.
Ignite Media is a Level 1 BBBEE contributor.
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