Here’s a little secret: traditional marketing is dead.
Billboards, flyers, radio ads, cold calling…
It simply doesn’t work anymore.
You must be wondering:
Because the way people buy has changed.
Nowadays, your audience can find (almost) anything they need online. They don’t want to talk to a salesperson until they’re ready to buy, and yet -- they want information. And the internet gives them information they need.
Here’s an obvious example:
Say you’re marketing to millennials. You want them to enrol into your course, or buy your product.
So you place a radio ad.
But your millennial is on Spotify.
So you take the billboard in the most prominent street.
But your millennial is staring at his smartphone when passing by.
So you hand them a flyer.
But they negligently pick it up and continue scrolling his Facebook feed.
You call them out of nowhere?
They’ll blacklist you forever. And continue checking their emails.
It doesn’t take a scientific degree to realise that you need to get into that little box.
Like it or not: for every minute you’re not online, someone else is, and all your potential customers are becoming theirs.
So, what is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing aims to get customers coming to you, instead of you chasing them around.
Inbound marketing is a ‘consequence’ of the realisation that we now live in an era where marketing needs to adapt to buyers’ needs and desires.
It’s a strategic, comprehensive approach, that functions as a killer machine if you set every piece in its right place.
You could consider this ‘loss of control’ as failure. Well, with the inbound approach, you get to win.
How do you get customers coming to you?
First of all, you need to know who your customers are.
You can’t sell to everybody.
You need to determine who your buyer persona is. A buyer persona is a unique profile of your target audience, tailored to explore their deepest needs, fears, pain points, obstacles, and goals.
Once you know what your buyer persona is looking for, you’ll know how to respond to her needs.
And once you know where your buyer persona looks for what she needs, you’ll know where to expose your solutions to her needs.
Understanding buyers’ journey
Understanding your buyers’ journey is as important as knowing your buyer persona.
The Inbound methodology suggests three stages of buyers’ journey:
- Awareness Stage
- Consideration Stage
- Decision Stage
During awareness stage, the prospect realises they have a problem. In consideration stage, they identify the problem and try to find potential solutions.
Finally, during the decision stage, they are trying to decide which solution works best.
Providing value drives highest ROI
Your obligation is to guide them through that journey, and selflessly provide help and value.
Ryan is a high school graduate, and he became aware that he probably can’t qualify for University.
What’s Ryan going to do next?
He’s going to google ‘what to do if I don’t enrol into University’.
Now, if you offer alternative education paths, you could write a blog post on this topic of Ryan’s interest.
Imagine how many Ryans would read that blog post! And how grateful they’d be that you reassured them and made them realise it’s not the end of the world if they don't go to Uni!
And that’s how your Ryans come to you. By you offering them the answers they need, when they need them.
Content marketing has a lead role
How do you provide value for your audience?
By creating relevant content that answers their doubts, addresses their pain points, and leads toward a solution.
Depending on which stage of the buyers’ journey they’re at, you’ll create and offer relevant content: blog posts, ebooks, case studies, whitepapers, checklists, podcasts, webinars… the possibilities are immense.
Pay attention: you can’t only create one blog post now and then, and promote one ebook relentlessly and expect that content to give results.
Ryan wants to find all the information he needs online. He wants to read it and analyse it himself. He doesn’t want to talk to you until he feels ready to buy.
You NEED to be consistent. You need to create constantly, you need to be up to date. You need to create your online presence. You need to build your online credibility -- not only for your customers, but for Google as well.
Why you need to create content consistently
Without valuable content, your lead generation efforts will fail.
When a lead converts on an ebook, they’re most probably not ready to buy yet.
So the point of lead generation is to nurture those leads through email marketing, and eventually segment marketing qualified leads, and then sales qualified leads.
Effective email marketing is achieved through -- guess what -- providing value.
Sending Ryan all the answers he needs straight to his inbox?
And doing it gradually, so that he can pick up on everything, instead of pouring information all over the place?
That is how you become the one they remember and go back to. If you are not able to do this due to lack of content, 99,9% of those warm leads will go somewhere else and forget about you as if you have never even existed.
Without valuable content, your online advertising efforts will fail.
Online advertising isn’t a new thing. In fact, it has taken over our social media a while ago, to that extent that we stopped paying attention to ads.
You see that an institution you never heard of offers you to pay for a course, you scroll down, irritated by a salesy ad intruding on your space.
However, through content creation, you create and grow your audience as well. Through the lead nurturing process, you gather information about them, and you get reliable data.
Then, you’re able to target your audience through online advertising.
That way, you reach the highest PPC ROI.
Focus your marketing efforts in the right direction
You could be spending hundreds of thousands on traditional marketing and advertising.
Or you could invest those funds into what offers the highest ROI.
You need to play smart, and realise that every strategic investment in inbound offers an enormous long-term revenue growth.
Instead of creating flyers, create content.
Focus on lead generation.
Feel free to use our The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas guide to boost your strategy.
Instead of cold calling, focus on lead nurturing.
Ryan is born with technology, and that is where you’ll find him.
Ryan now needs help, and that’s where you need to hop in, and provide value.
Once Ryan is ready to buy, the first thing he’ll be looking into are your courses and pricing pages.
Just imagine how many Ryans will head there if nurtured properly.
KA-BOOM! Massive success.