Inbound marketing is a relationship focused approach to marketing that is customer-centric. It's about creating one-to-one relationships that have a lasting impact on your visitors and your brand. It's the cycle of attracting, engaging and delighting people. Let's start by breaking down each cycle.
The attract phase. This is the act of attracting people to your business that aren't aware of you yet, and we do this through content. First we need an understanding of who we want to connect with. Build a buyer persona profile, that is a semi-fictional character, based on real data, of who your ideal customer is. With that understanding you will develop empathy of their needs and challenges both personally and professionally. Now you can create a content strategy in context to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.
The engage phase. You've attracted your visitor through content that resonated with them, so let's take a deeper look in the buyer persona and revisit what their initial challenge was that led them to seek you out. This is where having a helpful website becomes paramount, you want to deliver content to empower your prospects to learn more until they are ready for a one on one conversation. As you determine the content your prospect has gravitated too, you are able to customize the content that aligns with the solutions you have for them. With each email and message, you can begin to segment and personalize with them vs a faceless visitor.
The delight phase. You've gained the trust of your contact and solved for their initial challenge. Now you can empower them to continually grow their business and act as a constant guide. They will naturally recommend you and this brings us back to the attract phase.
With the understanding of an inbound marketing cycle, we can break down the fundamentals.
- Buyer Personas
- Buyers Journey
A quick synopsis of the aforementioned fundamentals, your contacts are the most important. They are the heart of your marketing efforts. Your contacts aren't just names and addresses, they are the people you are building relationships with, that can look like a client, partner, employer or prospect. A constant reminder that your business should be customer-centric, just like your marketing.
Buyer personas and buyers journey drive the point that you want qualified traffic. You want to be attracting people who will become leads who will become happy customers. With a clear understanding of who your buyer persona is, you are able to identify where they are in their buyers journey which includes three areas: Awareness - Consideration - Decision. Once you know where they are, you are able to provide contextual content. Inbound = content + context. Create
Lastly, goals. Goal setting directs your content creation, and aligns your sales and marketing. Set goals that show how your marketing efforts helps your company grow and hit their goals. For example, if a goal is to gain 1,000 new followers on your Facebook page in one month, ask yourself about the quality of those followers and if that achievement resulted in new customers. Analyzing your metrics will help measure your marketing efforts towards your goals, and build an inbound marketing strategy for success.