Difficult for an entrepreneur who wants to create or develop his online business to know where to start. The world of digital marketing is relatively dense and complex to understand for a “neophyte”, which can be discouraging at first and yet really beneficial. The challenge is twofold: for marketers and agencies there is a real work of evangelization to be carried out with potentially interested companies, and these companies must first become aware of their need before understanding and considering it. Inbound Marketing is a complete and accessible method by virtue of its philosophy, approach and efficiency …
# 1 Visible business and remarkable services
Inbound marketing offers to establish a real conversation with your targets rather than a less and less engaging commercial monologue, the main idea being to naturally bring your customers to you thanks to positioning and content adapted to their needs. and their profiles. This approach has imposed itself in the face of new consumption paradigms linked to the advent of web 2.0: users have permanent access to large volumes of information which they process in their own way with their tools. and according to their needs, we like the term “consumer-actor” to define them.
In our previous article, we mentioned the interest of defining your “Buyer personas” to refine your WEB strategy. These same personas will guide your Inbound Marketing strategy, associated with the study of their behaviors and their degree of commitment in the purchasing process. When you have determined all of these variables, you can begin to design and optimize your main communication tools to meet the needs of your targets and attract their attention:
Optimize your website
And no longer just for search engines! A site designed and thought out for its visitors will be more efficient from an SEO point of view than a site over-optimized for SEO. Keep in mind that Google is much more than just robots, they are human teams that browse your site and evaluate it on a number of criteria (more than 200 ranking factors are mentioned). Your only objective here would be to design a site that is easy to navigate and understand and whose main information is quickly identifiable by your target visitors. You have to think about user experience and comfort!
This requires careful attention to its design (navigation, graphic charter, architecture), its content (subject, keywords adapted to the languages of buyer personas) and the shaping of this content (hierarchy, fonts, titles and sub- titles, illustrations, photos, formatting, etc.).
Two advices: don’t freeze your site in time, make it live! Above all, be sure to offer a responsive design site to your audience, mobile optimization becoming a qualitative criterion for Google from April 21, 2015!
The blog is a remarkable tool when it comes to developing a business’s online presence. It will allow you to provide your ecosystem with a single source of information, build your expertise online and present yourself as a leader in your market.
Your blog is a powerful ally for your SEO: each article has its own page, individual and indexed by search engines. An article becomes an opportunity to be found by your targets.
To be effective, certain good practices should be followed: think of all your content for your buyer personas, deal with only one subject per article, publish often and regularly, treat your blog as much as your site!
Finally, think about giving a second life to your most popular articles by updating and republishing them … At the right time! Rely on your analytics to determine when your targets are best suited to read your productions. Do not forget to link your blog to your site but also to your social networks …
Social networks, of all the “Inbound” tools, are among the most crucial for your strategy. They intervene at all stages of conversion of your visitors into customers, and even after!
It is mainly a direct communication channel with your prospects and customers, take the opportunity to be attentive to their expectations, criticisms and criticisms. In addition to providing suitable and quality content, your strength lies in your ability to provide appropriate and timely responses.
All this is only effective with a strategy: once your buyer personas have been identified and their buyer’s journey traced, you will need to provide content adapted to each stage of their purchasing process, the aim being to engage them ever more. The dissemination of this content must follow a strict editorial line and marketing plan, thought to be as effective as possible. Again don’t overlook social media analytics.
Would you like to know more about this first step? Download the full white paper # 1 here for free.
# 2 And your visitors became prospects …
The second step in the inbound logic, the conversion of all these proudly acquired visitors into prospects is mainly based on three marketing tools and conversion process.
We referred to it above, all your platforms as well designed as they are, will remain useless if your content is unsuitable or of poor quality. This is the message you deliver to your entire audience, your weapon of attraction and conversion!
To be remarkable, your content should no longer boast about your products but offer tailor-made solutions to the needs and problems of your targets. Having previously identified and classified your ideal customers, you should be able to clearly state why they are coming to you. The other parameter to consider is the stage of the purchasing process in which they find themselves: are they trying to understand their problem and how to respond to it? Do they learn about possible solutions? Or are they already making a choice among the possible solutions?
The finesse of content marketing lies in the fact of constantly offering content that is on the one hand adapted to the identified profiles and their reflection phase. The difference will be for example on the form that a content will take and what it should lead the target to: ebooks to draw attention to a given subject, expert guides or comparisons to present solutions, demos live, trial versions to motivate a choice…
In practice, follow a certain rigor in your methodology: planning, creating, disseminating, analyzing and repeating are the five key steps in an iterative improvement process.
Call to action & landing page
The winning and fashionable couple of web marketing! Literally, it is a call to action (ex: “click here to download your free trial version”) which sends the visitor to a landing page which has no other goal than to recover at least one of his contact details before giving him the desired content.
“I offer you something if you give me something” …
The interest is the rapid and automatic transformation of a previously unknown visitor into a qualified prospect, whose contact details are instantly found in your contact database.
These tools make it possible to double (from 6% to 12%) the average conversion rate of a website (source: Hubspot state of inbound marketing 2013).
Note that there is a relationship between the number of landing pages used on a site and the overall conversion rate of this site …
Improve the conversion process
Your conversion process is made up of conversion paths. OK… What about a conversion path? We just mentioned it without naming it: a conversion path is the sum of a call to action, a landing page and a thank you page.
The principle of the conversion process is therefore to offer one or more conversion paths per phase of the purchasing process for your personas (the famous buyer’s journey).
This method makes it possible to engage and attract your prospects in an optimal way, each landing page of course offering content adapted to its context!
Learn more about this second step by downloading the full white paper # 2 here for free.
# 3 You sang, and sell well now!
As we have just seen, Inbound Marketing guides your visitors through their purchasing process, naturally directs them towards your solutions to the point of becoming more than qualified prospects, ready to finalize their purchase. All is not done yet, let’s accompany them a little further …
The direct marketing association reports that 75% of marketers use more email today than it did three years ago. We think it’s not without reason!
In an inbound context, email marketing allows you to reach your targets regardless of their position in the purchasing process.
To attract visitors: if we assume that people share what they like, that you segment your emails correctly while taking care of the content and the tone according to your personas, you are likely to see your emails forwarded by your prospects to members of their network! In this sense, also consider including social sharing links in your emails! Word of mouth is as old as the world, yet it is the very foundation of our social air.
You are playing on both fronts, your new visitors being one step away from becoming new prospects, without any effort on your part.
To convert prospects into customers: you can and must segment your mailing lists but also personalize each sending. Be useful, informative in your approach and in your content: help your prospects to understand their problem, donate your knowledge and your tips, generosity and involvement pay off! Also take the opportunity to take an interest in them, via open questions, listen to them! It is this strong bond that you create with them that will make the difference at the time of the final decision.
Finally, email marketing is a formidable tool for retaining your customers, maintaining the link that we have just mentioned: keep a frequency in the emails sent, offer exclusive offers to your customers. This attention you give them may lead to successive sales.
This method of supporting and seeking customer satisfaction via email campaigns and the automation of shipments has a name: lead nurturing. It involves knowing your audience, properly segmenting your lists, getting the content out at the right time and being very careful.
We use this term from Hubspot, a pioneer in inbound marketing, because it evokes a less functional aspect of this method but important to us: the link that exists between the marketing and sales teams within a structure.
The figures indicate that 87% of the terms used by its teams to describe each other are negative, highlighting a divide within the company. At the same time, businesses whose sales and marketing teams are progressing in the same alignment most of the time show positive sales and results.
Smarketing, a contraction of Sales and Marketing, therefore highlights the importance for these teams (and for the company!) To move forward in a unique context: aligning with objectives and personas. To achieve this, we can imagine 5 steps:
- Speak the same language, keep in mind everything we have in common, including our interests!
- Establish closed-loop reporting and analysis (were the prospects qualified? How intelligent is the data available?).
- Establish an ALS: what should each team do to help the other?
- Maintain open communication, frequent meetings.
- Rely on data, stats, concrete to perfect positioning.
Inbound sales process
We might wonder what is an inbound sale? An answer could be “a sale whose objective is to take into account only the needs of consumers when they feel this need, and their pleasure in making this purchase”.
So how do you adapt your sales process?
- By transforming the way of targeting the targets (making sure to target the right person profile, based on the personas and buyer’s journey, taking into account the marketing perspective: visitor, qualified marketing or sales prospects, opportunity or client) .
- By transforming the way of prospecting (knowing each context before picking up the phone, drawing up the identity of the canvassed companies, knowing their state of health, their presence on the net and social networks, the behavior of prospects online and on your site ).
- By transforming the way you communicate with prospects (create a link, find common points, get to know them, think about their interest before thinking about your profits, adapt the right speech to resonate with them, always be useful, available and voluntary).
- By transforming their way of perceiving you (listen and listen again! Do not hide your human side, be flexible, impose yourself as the leader they will trust).
Trust your common sense, your sense of service and always keep your goal in mind: customer satisfaction!
In addition to this third step, download the full white paper # 3 here for free.
# 4 Your customers are your ambassadors!
Generally, each company sets its priority on the acquisition of new customers and the development of its offer, sometimes to the detriment of the attention paid to already acquired customers!
Retaining your customers costs much less and yet represents a significant competitive advantage. By building on your customers’ trust and redoubling their care, you can consider relying on their actions to support and promote your brand. You anchor yourself with them in the lasting relationship that you have been preparing since the beginning of the conversion process.
The weight of social networks should be enough to convince any structure of this approach: it is your customers and their experience by your side that make your success, not your products! We are now leaving this reductive state where a brand was above all a product…
So think that the satisfaction of your customers is no longer an after-sales service: it is built from the start of your discussions. Your tone, your listening and understanding of their needs, your content will make the difference. Three axes to consider:
- Innovate: so that your products always remain adapted to the time, the context, the need. To maintain your leadership position and to surprise, always generate more interest.
- Communicate: personally or professionally, no matter when your contact is enriched by your discussions!
- Inform: human beings are by nature curious and hungry for knowledge, become an “influencer”, a source of knowledge and training!
All this implies a certain fulfillment of your structure and your collaborators: satisfaction is something that is communicated and transmitted, tested and felt. Discover this last aspect that leads to more customer satisfaction in the latest white paper available here, for free!