This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Please find it here.
According to HubSpot (whom we’re partnered with), 79% of marketers in North America use inbound marketing as their primary approach.
The truth is that consumers are getting smarter and craving more personalized experiences, and the companies that are paying attention to that and allowing their customers’ engagements to feel organic are the ones who are more likely to succeed.
So Why Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the art of having customers seek you as opposed to using traditional outbound methods where companies seek the customers (such as through unsolicited email blasts, broad social posts, advertisements, etc.).
This is not to say that outbound marketing is no longer effective, but in my experience, it’s not nearly as effective without its counterpart, inbound.
The One-Two Punch
With a well-thought-out strategy, inbound and outbound marketing can work together akin to a jab and cross boxing combination. If you’ve used traditional outbound methods to attract your buyer (the jab), you also need an inbound strategy to nurture this buyer (the cross).
When your jab has made contact with the punching bag or, in other words, you’ve used traditional outbound methods to attract a lead to your website — for example, a press release announcing a new product — you’ve ideally identified a need, a pain point or an inconvenience that this potential buyer has, and you are now tasked with delivering innovative solutions that tend to that need.
Next comes the cross. This is the time to provide something of value to your potential buyer that can help them identify solutions in exchange for an email address — this is where your call to action comes into play.
While many marketers understand the simple purpose of a call to action (CTA), not all of them are using CTAs to their full potential. CTAs, embedded directly into your webpages, ideally should live all over your site, social platforms and even within videos (think interactivity). Make your CTAs eye-catching and to the point. Make sure your content offer — whether it’s a whitepaper, video, e-book, product brochure, coupon, how-to guide or something else — is clear and concise and that it leads the visitor to your intended landing page.
What can make a landing page successful? First, keep in mind that the main goal of your landing page is to facilitate the “transaction” and expedite the next phase of lead nurturing, so try not to get too wordy. For instance, if you had only five seconds to convince someone to download your content offer, what would you say? Perhaps for that product rollout example, you remind your viewers of their pain points (why they came to your site in the first place) and offer them a video case study that illustrates how your company has a proven track record of helping its clients with these pain points via this new product. Folks will have to enter their email addresses in order to view the video.
So what’s next? You now have an email address, and your lead has successfully received your content offer, but the combination isn’t yet complete. This is where workflows can enter the picture.
Workflows are sequences of events that dictate how prospects learn about you based on their level of engagement (or lack thereof) or other attributes. They allow you to create lists that help you cater your content to specified lead segments versus having just one massive list that you send content to. For example, you can set up a workflow so that if someone reads your blog, they’ll see a pop-up that asks whether they’d like to get a weekly email with your latest blog headlines. If they agree, they’ll be placed on a weekly email list.
I see far too many brands today that blast their messages to massive lists of contacts. Compare it once again to boxing: If you throw jab after jab, you might not make it to your powerful uppercut that can result in a technical knockout (like repeat sales). In fact, delivering too many non-personalized emails to a disengaged contact can put you at risk of losing your lead, or worse, damaging your reputation as a brand. Instead, use a workflow to develop a strong and effective email drip campaign, further personalizing the message that’s being delivered to the right person at the right time.
This is where buyer personas can come in. To understand whom you’re marketing to a little bit better, set up buyer personas, which are fictional characters that represent ideal customers of your brand, including their key motivators, likes and dislikes, level of education and buying power, etc. After assigning each lead with his or her persona, you can then strategically tailor your message more effectively.
Winning The Match
So you’ve thrown your one-two punch, and it landed. You sent out a couple more automated emails, specifically targeting your lead with their pain points, preferences and buying power in mind, and now they are booking a meeting with your sales representative. So yes, you’ve won the match — you’ve handed off a qualified lead to the sales team, and we’ll assume they’ve landed the sale. If you’ve reached this point, your marketing skills are probably on point, but know that preparing for the strong uppercut is what can make you a great marketer that leaves a lasting impression, even beyond the close.
The final phase of lead nurturing (the uppercut — that awesome TKO move of yours) is keeping your customer happy and wanting more. Don’t stop your drip email campaigns at the sale. You now have a valued customer you want to continue to impress and grow. So how about asking for a customer testimonial? Or asking them to join your referral program or sign up for your loyalty awards plan? What about upselling with additional products and services now that you know you’ve left a great first impression?
Today’s one-two punch marketer may rarely rest, but the thought leadership and lead-generation activity that we use when we combine outbound with inbound tactics can keep us in the ring, fighting the good fight for our brands.