Although this is a stand-alone article, it is can also be viewed as a ‘build-up’ of our previous article on Inbound Marketing.
Inbound marketing involves the use of all sorts of multimedia tools (such as articles, blog post, images, videos, animation, etc.) along with variety of online content, in order to reach a number of online visitors (to your website) with the aim/ ‘hope’ of transforming them into sales leads and eventually paying customers. According to HubSpot “Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful not interruptive. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”
Inbound methodology is an overarching domain -of the Content Marketing and of the Outbound Marketing subdomains, which is a popular form of Digital Marketing.
Inbound is about being an integral part of ‘the conversation’ with the customers/ users (of your products and services), starting a ‘movement’ and converging people with shared interest into a particular place. Traditional marketing in the past has been very product-centric and involves extremely intrusive methods such as cold- calling and cold- email (spam) whereas Inbound Marketing thrives on non- intrusive and customer-centric methods such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blogging and responsive marketing. Inbound Marketing is about creating marketing that people love and appreciate.
4 Inbound Marketing Attributes
The Inbound Methodology revolves around the following 4 key attributes (please refer to the attached Inbound Marketing Flow Chart image at the bottom of this article):
The Inbound Marketing process first aims to attract. The attraction phase deals with getting strangers to view content posted by a brand or an individual. This can be achieved by creating useful and engaging content through research to find out about the particular keywords in an industry online visitors care about. This is also achieved through social publishing which involves employing social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
You have seen examples of it… White Papers, Templates to download and all other sorts of Resources – even useful URLs.
The second stage and the most intensive stage of the Inbound Marketing process is to convert online visitors into potential sale- leads, who will be interested in purchasing your product(s) or service(s) at that very instant or when the need arises.
Several techniques are employed in the convert stage include tools ranging from Forms to Call to Actions (CTA’s) and Landing Pages. You are familiar with ‘special offers that are good till midnight’, etc.
By the way, CTA is a ‘science’ on its own.
Sale- leads must be closed in order transform all your sale- leads into paying customers, thus achieving all set revenue- targets. Tools used in this section include Customer Relationship Management tools, E-mail and Work Flow tools etc.
CRM is not just a software application- it is a whole set of business processes and you should think more of it as a Customer Relationship Chain Management (as in Supply Chain Management) that just using a software tool.
Remember, CRM involves any part of that ‘chain’ that interacts with your customer/ user: e.g. the CRM app used by your Field Sales Representative or your Call Agent, your IVR (Interactive Voice Response), your Web-SelfHelp, etc.
The existing customer must always be delighted to be a part of your Tribe (of Loyal Customers) in order to continue to be attracted to the product. Strategies for delighting the paying customer includes Surveys, Smart Content and Social Monitoring.
Even technical measurements for your CRM Applications can help you in Cross- & Up Selling and in Delighting your customers. In a former client setting, we used to analyse all unsuccessful IVR scenarios within ‘seconds’ (ok it was minutes – we were not that fast), and then have a female Customer Rep call the client immediately to find out what it went wrong; she would offer them little gifts as a default action in true proof of our apologies for all possible inconvenience caused by the IVR, and then try to resolve the issue always in the manner best deemed fit by the customer. The result was both upselling and cross-selling almost 90% of the times, but also the build-up of a long-term Customer Loyalty relationship; actually, it was more of a 2-way Loyalty.
The eventual desire of a comprehensive inbound methodology and strategy is to get the visitor to purchase or at the very least mentally profile the company as a reputable company to do business with hence purchasing from them when the need arises.
Social Media as a Vehicle for Inbound Marketing
Social media plays a strong role in Inbound Marketing. If inbound marketing is the present/ gift given to the customer, Social media can be described as the packaging in which the present is wrapped and delivered.
Social media is ostensibly an online platform that allows brands to build ‘Tribes’ and Communities of Loyal Customers, who are passionate about a certain cause or product (besides the intrinsic value of helping people connect with friends, relatives and strangers all over the world). What makes Social Media attractive is that it is never far away from users.
Social Media thrives on shareability and engagement. Engagement allows brands to gauge their visitors’ interest in the Inbound Marketing strategy that has been chosen.
User feedback and response, allow companies to tweak the Inbound Marketing model to suit the interest of their desired target customers. By targeting online discussion forums like Reddit and Quora, marketers can find what targeted clients truly care about, and create content to suit their needs.
Social Media as a Vehicle for Inbound Marketing II
There is an inevitable link between Social Media and Inbound Marketing because, without Social Media, all Inbound Marketing efforts can be challenging to promote. Social Media has naturally been designed to be interactive and curiosity induced, this explains why more than a billion people use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp to engage and share-worthy content every day.
Social Media also provides insights into the demographics and analytics of targeted audiences and sales lead that can help brands in determining where to spend money on content promotion. Knowing client demographics also help in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because search engines are always on the lookout for fresh and engaging content. Social media therefore aids Inbound Marketing in getting to the right audience at the right time.
A simple example
The use of Social Media can be directly tied to a company’s profitability and revenue generation strategy. For example:
Let us assume the Social Media Manager of an organization spends 6 hours on social media promoting useful and engaging content. The content reaches 10,000 people which resulted in 800 email sign-ups. The company has a conversion rate of 10% which results in 80 people opting to buy the product or service.
For a product or a service with a monetary sales-price of 200 cedis which means Social Media has generated 16,000 cedis in revenues after six hours of work.
Again, this is just an example. Other factors can make this number a lot higher (really a lot higher) or a lot smaller.
Social Media and Inbound Marketing are the 2 sides of the same coin, one does not go without the other. Therefore it would be most beneficial for everybody if entrepreneurs, brands and business owners were to seek/ make conscious efforts to blend these two aspects and achieve the highest client acquisition and a loyal following.
So, please go ahead and use effectively & efficiently all sort of social media applicable to your Industry, and turn ‘strangers’ into known prospects over time, and in best-case scenarios, loyal customers and advocates of your brand.
Kwaku and Spiros
They welcome all your comments/ remarks/ feedback at [email protected]
© 2017 Kweku Abedi & Spiros Tsaltas and © 2017 HireLoyalty