“What marketing strategy should I use?” you may ask yourself. In a context where the question of whether Outbound marketing or Inbound marketing is more effective. Outbound marketing (which consisted of traditional advertising and push techniques) is slowly declining or not really considered in today’s fast paced marketing environment. Business and marketing leaders can’t lose time not taking advantage of what makes buyers and people tick now: Inbound Marketing!. It is the driver for successful lead nurturing and lead generation activity, helping buyers to find products and services as they are ready to buy.
In the new connected world, buyers are in the driving seat when deciding what they are going to buy. They select vendors or products based on what they are served up by the use of internet searches, referrals, reviews etc.
To adapt to this new world, marketing has turned to inbound strategies. Inbound marketing is composed of different elements (content, white papers, infographics, keywords, and analytics, E-mail, SEO and Social Media) which are managed towards the goal to drive audience to landing pages which are “gates to great content”.
To get higher levels of buyer consideration without paying big amounts of money via advertising, it is necessary to ensure that you are delivering the right content to the right audience. But what if you are paving the way and people still don’t see you?
The good news is that loves in the air: Content and Social Media are getting married. No one wants to be disturbed with generic product and service offers, but humans are expressing their curiosity and desires via social media and companies can tap into this with social selling.
Once you set up a content strategy, aligning creation of articles to audience profiles, you can reach potential buyers without the hard selling approach through social media. The tips below will guide you and enable you to use social media and social selling to profit with inbound marketing.
Map the route
Define the buyer’s journey and then map it so you can fuel it with campaigns. To make that, it is essential to establish your goals, understand your customers` needs and aspirations, and think about ways to connect them.
Decision Making Timeline
It is crucial to have a detailed picture of buyers and to find out the influence and triggers in the customer decision journey. For instance, Marketing Tech products needs to be approved by different management levels, being processed through the circle in the image above.
What’s the hierarchy participation that influences decisions, who are the decision-makers?
To harness the power of social media and to understand who decides what in the buying process, you need to define personas and analyze the discussions of your targeted group.
In order to design a map, see what devices and channels are being used, what’s the main engagement channel (i.e. social media, website) and the sequence of actions taken before and after content consumption.
For instance, if the decision makers are distributed across lower hierarchy levels companies may consider creating more educative content for this audience, whereas if they are centered in a higher management level, it may imply more informative content creation for VP’s and CMOS. Besides that, there are the more obvious assumptions as B2C organizations might consider investing on Facebook and B2B institutions would go to LinkedIn.
Own and earn attention
Create value with content, narrowing down the funnel, awareness, consideration and sales (Pipeline metaphor). Also, closing the loyalty loop with nurturing (consumer decision journey).
Consumer Decision Journey (The vibe net)
First, it is important to take into account that there are four categories to reach with content marketing: Strangers, Visitors, Leads, Customers and Promoters. Content and blogging can ramp up the conversion among those from suspects to prospects by establishing authority, helping clients to educate and inform themselves and personalizing their experience.
But to be found in social media and organic searches it’s vital to produce great content and distribute it through all the social channels.
Being educational and helpful provides value when it answers questions or concerns that potential buyers are searching for. Blog posts would fit in the space that leads are looking for specific information whether it as an idea or an offer.
To avoid content creation targeted at too many meaningless keywords, blend the existing SEO plan with Brand identity talk, because speaking up your “value wedge” makes the language consistent and generates higher awareness.
Create content that talks to the customer and generates engagement. Define which content resonates best with your network and route your messages with the right professionals and the right tools to talk with your audience through persona visualizations and specific topics.
For inbound marketing to be successful, keep your content in context with customer interests to generate sales. Everyone should strive to have a rich understanding of consumer behavior and familiarity with company’s products and social communities.
Although the use of big data to drive marketing is still somewhat unclear, with some data expertise organizations could automate some marketing processes and to use the right tools to accelerate results.
There is a vast amount of content out on the web, but it is essential to believe in the power of Free to get attract visitors with courses, infographics, whitepapers and educational or informational content.
Basically, inbound marketing works by attracting suspects based on keyword optimized content, pre-qualify and drive conversions based on the authority of the content. A good tactic is to attract people by curiosity content and take advantage of this interest to promote your product in a seamlessly way.
B2B social attitude
Give your Inbound approach a life with Social Media, promoting your brand and improving business growth. Add scale, deepen relationships and test ideas, products and services.
How to adopt Inbound into Social practices? It is more than follows, shares and likes that creates social media success, but do use these tools as a way to build interactions and maintain relationships. With tools to slice and dice data, it is possible to take shortcuts and let communication go a step further to move beyond demographics and focus on gaining a holistic view to target individuals.
The way a message is addressed in each social platform must be customized as you understand the differences in each of them.
To get better outcomes, here are a few hints.
1. Get visual
People digest images and infographics better than text, so what about give a special touch on your profile, cover photos and most especially, in campaigns.
You can use images in creative ways, bringing experience to visual. For instance, a company that is in the engineering industry for a long time can add an old photo that resonates with their public and combine it with content.
You can use short videos, infographics and free sourced images to enrich content, always remembering to use good headlines and descriptions.
2. Ask questions
Ask conversational-starter questions, if you are a B2C you can ask what mobile brand they advocate or as a B2B what was their best experience with customer service solutions. People like to share their thoughts. Using social media, you can start and participate in conversations.
It is important to find ways to solve problems for prospects and really empathize with them.
To make the process more natural it’s a good strategy to use employee advocacy, starting with the ones who are already on social media, who can share content, humanize the companies` brand and get conversations going in a seamlessly way.
4. Calls to action
While you showcase your expertise and offer value in the form of great content, remember to add calls to action. Whether it is a trial, discount or educative whitepapers, highlight what you are offering from a basic “Learn More” to the personalized, or bolder, “Be awesome at” (B2B users are consumers in their personal lives and can get easily bored).
These Calls to Action should drive to gated landing pages which allow you to differentiate visitors from different backgrounds and convert leads into prospects. On this page, ask basic information in a well-designed frame.
Even if Outbound is still useful to create awareness and engagement campaigns for smaller groups, Inbound marketing is more effective as it enables organizations to target individuals and broader groups at the same time. Every social media marketing strategy needs to keep advancing faster, in parallel with changing consumer behavior, and needs to be constantly fine-tuned with people’s needs and aspirations. It is vital to plan and see ahead, optimizing all marketing efforts with real time actions. Social media plays an important role not just in sales or marketing but in every aspect of business.