Companies across all industries are trading out traditional outbound marketing strategies for inbound marketing techniques. Why? Traditional tactics don’t work the way they used to. Outbound marketing (generally) is interruptive. Billboards, cold calls, and mailings send a message, sure, but it is one that falls on many closed ears.
Though outbound techniques allow companies to reach a large audience (you can’t miss a billboard), it’s not guaranteed to be the right audience. The random passer-by or bored channel changer is, more often than not, uninterested in the message they see.
Inbound marketing is designed to attract customers who are interested, to reach only those who want to buy. By honing in on this audience you can save your company some serious time and money.
Here are 4 ways to reach the right customer:
1. Define your brand
Customers won’t come to you unless they know exactly what you offer. So before your start building an audience, think about what it is you can provide them. What do you offer that no one else (at least in your area or industry) does?
Communicate your unique offering(s) to your potential customers is as many places as possible—your About Us page, your social networks, and your blog, to start. To ensure consistency across these platforms, develop a mission statement.
2. Know your customer
Once you’ve pinpointed your company’s offerings, you can begin to think about who would be interested in them. What sort of person would want your product or service? Take some time to flesh out your buyer persona. Have several? Consider segmenting your potential customers so you can send a tailored message to each group.
3. Offer value
It seems backward, but before you expect to draw in business, you have to provide your potential customers will something of value. Yes, for free. For most companies practicing inbound marketing, this “thing” is content.
Design your site to be a resource. Publish blog articles your target market will find useful. Are you a start-up law firm? If so, perhaps your local audience would be interested to know the regulations for cell phone usage in the area or would benefit from a write-up on traffic citations.
If your targeted customers seek advice on these issues and find helpful information on your site, they’ll be all the more likely to come back when in need of your services.
4. Ditch one-off campaigns
At its core, a campaign is an outbound tactic. It’s designed to send a message or to reach an audience rather than attract one. Though campaigns can be successful, without any sort of follow-up or nurturing in place (essential to a successful inbound strategy) their rewards are short lived. You may boost sales with a weekend special, but after a few days business will return to normal.
Inbound marketing is much more about continuity. As writer Kevin Daum state in his recent post for Inc., “continuous engagement is the new campaign.” Consistently interacting with potential customers allows you to maintain top of mind awareness and keeps you ever aware of their needs.
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