Just when you think you have a handle on this internet marketing stuff, a new buzz surfaces. Right now, Inbound Marketing is making the rounds. Everyone is talking about it, but what is it, how do you get started, and what tools do you need? Inbound marketing starts with free information, offered through social channels, search, or paid advertising. The objective is to spark the curiosity of a prospect and get them to trade their email, and possibly phone number, for your content.
So where do you start?
- Find a question
your prospective customer is wrestling with. Your answer needs to give them just enough information, (without overtly selling) demonstrate your expertise.
- Create the content – Downloads come in all shapes and sizes including workbooks and checklists, ebooks, videos, audio files or spreadsheets. It doesn’t need to be very long or complex, but enough information so the serious prospect will be motivated to ask for more details on the things you actually do sell for money.
- The Landing Page All your external promotion will drive traffic to this page. It can be a page on your website, a blog post on a specific and related topic, or a landing page with just one purpose: to get people to trade their email for your content Having a unique URL for the campaign will allow you to measure the effectiveness of individual marketing channels and how strong your conversion rate is. To build custom landing pages, we really like the Premise plugin for wordpress combined with Formstack for data collection.
- The Auto Responder Not everyone who downloads your information today is ready to buy. It doesn’t mean they won’t buy down the road. Your plan must include a series of touches to reap long term benefits. We use the autoreponder feature in Formstack to send an email, which simply looks like a personal casual note a day or two after the original download. These notes often generate conversations, feedback and requests for more information. We also like Constant Contact as the basis of a longer drip campaign.
- Drive Traffic with a Promotion Plan. People will not necessarily find your landing page by accident. Share links on social platforms. It is ok to ask friends and strategic partners to share the link to their community if you are willing to do the same for them. (And you should be). If you have a regular email program Include the link there too. This can help you find serious prospects in your data base. Don’t overwhelm visitors to your website with too many choices, but adding one call to action in a footers, headers or side bar will drive interested prospects to your landing page. Should you use PPC to drive traffic to your landing page? That depends on your sales process. If you have a specific strategy to convert causal contacts to clients then the investment in advertising might pay off. Don’t use PPC to build brand awareness.
- The personal touch. An automated process opens the door, but if you want real sales result you should pick up the phone and talk to the prospect. Did they find the information was helpful? Do they have additional questions.