What is the goal of your online marketing? Do you just want website visitors or new customers?
Would it be helpful if your website could generate leads?
How about walking a potential customer through a process that takes them from a stranger who doesn’t know a thing about your business into a stark raving fan who refers you to everyone who will listen?
If that sounds good, you may want to look into inbound marketing.
Moving these strangers down a path that turns them into customers and raving fans can be done in 4 simple stages. The graphic above was created by Hubspot, the leader in inbound marketing software, and they use it in almost all of their presentations to drive home the methodology of inbound marketing.
Let’s take look at them one-by-one along with some activities in each so you can get a clear idea of how effective your online marketing can be.
Inbound Marketing Stage 1 – Attraction
The first thing you need to do is introduce yourself. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to involve any time consuming networking or shaking hands at an expensive trade show.
Online, you introduce yourself – or your business – in some pretty simple ways.
One way is social media. Another one is your blog or by appearing at the top of the search engines.
The easiest way to describe stage one is that you need to be consistently publishing educational & entertaining content that your ideal customers want to see or read.
Answer their questions, help them out.
Perform keyword research before you write your post so you know what questions your ideal customers are asking. An added benefit of keyword research is that you will also know what long tail terms you want to rank for in the search engines.
Write you post and then share it on social media, or even email.
Since you will be in the places your ideal customers are looking for answers AND you will have some answers for them, they will become website visitors and enter Stage 2.
Stage 2 – Conversion
Have you ever thought that more website visitors would solve all your marketing problems? Tell the truth now…..if you are like most businesses, you have. It’s a natural thought. And as an SEO company we have had our share of clients that thought a number 1 ranking in Google would solve all of their problems.
The truth is that mere website traffic isn’t going to help you much unless you continue to move that traffic through your funnel.
In order to get these visitors to the next stage in the process you need some tools that will turn them from visitors into leads.
You need to have relevant, exciting offers on your site. These offers should be made with effective calls-to-action, dedicated landing pages, and a form that takes the visitors info and transforms it into a contact or lead.
Isn’t this already much more powerful than just getting traffic to your site? Now your site is generating leads! Let’s move on to the next stage where those leads become customers.
Stage 3 – Closing
Turning leads into customers is an age old marketing process. What you need to do now is adjust the process for marketing online. Essentially, what you need to do in order to turn a lead into a customer is to get the prospect to know, like and trust you through your online content.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should trick her into liking and trusting you! It means you should behave in ways that will drive your ideal customers to come to know, like and trust you. You should deliver drip e-mail campaigns to leads, write new relevant blog posts, make relevant offers, share it all on social media and try to move your leads into the bottom of the funnel where they become customers.
Strangers come to know you through your content. They come to like and trust you because you demonstrate your expertise in all of your content – emails, blog posts, ebooks, etc. – and you freely share this educational and entertaining content.
Remember the entertaining part! It is what will keep marketing fun for you AND it will help get your prospects to like you too. It is much easier to do business with a company that is an authority and fun!
So be fun!
You will need to have a call to action that can turn your online lead into a customer. For some of you that will be a simple “Buy Now” button. For others it might be a special phone number to call. For those of us with service businesses it might be a phone consultation.
No matter the call to action, you do need to make sure that once your prospect says yes, you are ready to over-deliver for them and take them to the next stage – a raging fan who refers!
Stage 4 – Delight Them!
It today’s world, where every consumer is faced with a myriad of choices, it is important to not stop your marketing at the customer stage. You need to turn your customers into raving fans that become evangelists for your products and services.
Every time you touch a client there is an opportunity to market (read: communicate) effectively with them. You need to have excellent service and your support team has to be ready to serve your customers.
Not only must your service and support be top notch but you should share stories on social media, continue your emails to customers and direct workflows in ways that will turn your customers into raving fans.
I love one of our clients because whenever I am with him and he introduces me, he always finishes with “If you are looking for online marketing, I highly recommend them.”
What more could I possibly ask for?!
If you follow the actionable advice in this post you’ll have raving fans like that too.
All you need to do is:
Attract – Introduce yourself to strangers
Convert – Impress Visitors & get contact info with content
Close – Turn your leads into customers
Delight – Impress your customers everyday
Master these 4 stages of inbound marketing to not only turn strangers into raving fans but also achieve all of your business goals!