The fundamental point to consider about inbound marketing is that this is a scenario where you have the definite advantage of already enjoying the attention of your customer, which is in stark contrast to outbound marketing where you are in a battle to gain the same level of receptiveness.
Understanding the inbound marketing cycle will help you make the most of what is generally perceived to be a fantastic opportunity to engage with your customer and build a meaningful and potentially lucrative relationship.
Here is a look at the techniques and tools that can be used to make the most of every inbound marketing customer engagement.
The basic purpose of inbound marketing is to attract and then engage with customers in a way that allows you the chance to build a level of trust by making them feel valued.
Ultimately, you are trying to sell to the person you are engaging with but if you find a way to achieve that aim in a way that is well received by your customers and is a positive experience for them, this can only be good for your long-term business prospects when you manage to build a loyal customer base.
The specific inbound methodology that you are working to is made up of three specific stages of the engagement process, attract, engage, and delight.
Those descriptions should be self-explanatory and the goal is to add value at every stage working on those three cores as your guide.
If you align your marketing efforts around these specific stages of the customer experience you will be following the strategy that defines what inbound marketing is all about.
There are different tools at your disposal to help you achieve each stage of the inbound methodology.
The first part of the process requires you to attract the customer to your business.
There are a number of ways that you can do this, including advertising, video promotions, blogging about your business and products or services, using social media, and devising an effective content strategy.
Social media is clearly playing a pivotal role these days and you can use your presence on these sites to drive traffic to your site and encourage the engagement that you seek as the next stage.
This should not be a scattergun approach as you want to try and attract customers who are more likely to become customers based on the profile of your existing client base.
You can attract more of the right customers if you get the content strategy right and it is often a case of using all the engagement tools at your disposal in a way that delivers a uniform message across all of the marketing channels and options being used.
Having attracted your customer to your business the next step is to formulate an approach that successfully engages with them in a positive way.
The key is to create conversations that are aimed at generating a lasting relationship using a medium that has been chosen by them as their preference.
This could mean engaging with them via email, or it could be through the use of live chat, or even a messaging app.
You can also engage with customers using various social media platforms.
The final stage of the process is all about delighting the customer and cementing the relationship when you are able to achieve this aim.
Everyone involved in the sales and marketing approach needs to be on message and in unison so there is continuity in the message and every member of the team is able to have a contextual conversation.
The trick is often to create memorable content and experiences for your customers so that they take a positive view of your business and feel like their opinion as well as their custom is highly valued.
The ultimate goal when it comes to delighting your customer is to do what you can to exceed a customer’s expectations. By doing this you will be encouraging the sort of emotional connection that is marketing gold, as it often means that those customers are more likely to demonstrate loyalty to your business.
It is often the case that once you have built up a decent customer base you will notice a distinct trend in terms of what attributes and profile your typical customer has.
It is rarely an exact science when you are trying to create a buyer persona that represents your typical customer. However, if you take the time and trouble to create a profile that helps outline what your average customer wants and what their priorities are this will help you create the sort of content that will give you the best chance of engaging successfully with each new customer that comes your way.
To get the best results from your inbound marketing efforts it helps to appreciate exactly why this approach works so well when it's done right and what the key difference is between inbound and outbound.
The point about outbound marketing is that you are concentrating on getting your message across to a much broader base of people and you are doing it in a way that often requires quite aggressive techniques that are not always going to be well received.
That is the nature of the beast and you have to be like that to win the fight for people’s attention, but it is a different story with inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is your opportunity to get your message in front of a more defined target market and represents a strategy that delivers you the right customer when you make the most of your chance to shine.
The fact that a growing number of large businesses are now adopting inbound techniques tells its own story and that is primarily that it is seen as being more effective than outbound methods.