So, you want to know how to implement inbound marketing? Let’s first talk about trust! The Know, Like, Trust Factor, to be specific.

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Zig Ziglar, the American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, said, “if people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you”. This is truer now than it has ever been. 

What Ziglar meant, and what I take away from this quote, is that we now live and do business in a world that trades in the currency of trust. Without trust, fewer and fewer customers will buy from you. It is, therefore, imperative that your company begins to apply principles and best practices that will help you to gain this trust with your prospects and over time to keep it with your existing customers.

So, how do you achieve this? How do you get prospects and customers to know, like and trust your company enough to become loyal repeat buyers and brand ambassadors?

You implement Inbound Marketing.

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 How to implement Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is an approach adopted by your entire company, including marketing, sales, service, finance and operations, to work together to attract, engage and delight customer as a way to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.

It is about having and using a holistic approach to how you market and sell. The approach requires you to have a set strategy, as well as processes and systems, to attract, engage and delight customers. 

It is important to always keep in mind that, while Inbound Marketing is effective in helping us define a journey we want customers to travel, customers have their own parallel journey that they walk towards purchasing what we offer. This is known as the buyer’s journey. 

The buyer’s journey is made up of the Awareness, Consideration and Decision stages. 

1.     During the Awareness stage, the prospect is experiencing challenges and symptoms of a problem or opportunity. 

2.     By the time the prospect enters the Consideration stage, they would, to some extent, have defined the challenge they seek to overcome or opportunity they seek to exploit. It is during this stage that they start to evaluate the different avenues and solutions they can use to solve their problem. 

3.     And, ultimately, during the Decision stage, they conclude and make a commitment to the solution they will invest in to solve their problem.

The Inbound methodology effectively addresses the buyer’s journey by matching it to your attract, engage and delight inbound marketing stages, as depicted below:

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In the following sections, the three Inbound Marketing steps and methodology will be explained in detail.

Stage 1: Attract

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The attract stage focuses on the customer, not your company, not on how many awards you have, nor how many followers you have on social media or branches you own. The attract stage must focus on how you can help customers advance themselves. 

During the attract stage, you concentrate on enticing and creating interest in the minds of your prospective clients to come to your business, either through your website, physical store, or office. You use this step to let prospects know about your business and how it can help them solve their challenges, as well as to achieve their goals. It is about getting your prospects to hear and see your message, so they can get to know who you are and ultimately trust you enough to do business with you.

There are many different ways to attract prospects. You have off-line options that include traditional advertising (television, radio and print). However, these options are expensive and out of reach for most businesses. Also, with these forms of advertising, it is often difficult to track and measure the results that they deliver.

You do, however, have online options. Online and digital marketing options are much more affordable, quicker to implement, as well as easier to track and measure in terms of results.

It should be obvious by now that the first place people go to find your business and the products you sell is online. A 2018 report by Bright Local says that 97% of consumers used the internet to find a local business from which to buy. Another research report by Simplilearn says that 55% of people will search for you on social media, while 55% use their phones to see if they can buy what they need from you via eCommerce. 

Therefore, your aim is to be found online, through your website, social media pages and any other platforms on which you can list your business’s products and services. You want to ensure that all of these assets and platforms are optimized to drive qualified leads to your site. 

The first step to doing this effectively is to clearly identify and define your customer’s profile and needs – aka, define your customer personas. 

Once you understand your customer’s profile and needs, you will be better informed of the type of content that will have the greatest probability of pulling leads into your Sales Funnel and Inbound Flywheel. 

This content needs to be educational, helpful and engaging. Its marketing message must cut through content clutter and stand out from competing messages. It needs to create interest in the minds of your target audience and entice them to access it and use it to solve their problems.

Research by Forrester and many others, claim that “B2B (Business to Business) clients, and now B2C (Business to Customer) clients are 65 – 90% of the way through a purchasing decision process before they contact your firm!”. This means you should advertise and promote your content to attract prospects so they see your content, before they are ready to make a purchase. 

And, by using Inbound Marketing, you can provide them with valuable, engaging and educational content that is going to guide and help them make that buying decision – hopefully with you! This is where lead magnets come in.  

Lead Magnets 

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A lead magnet is a piece of content that has a high perceived value of helping your prospect to solve a particular problem. Typically, your prospects would be interested in getting it from you, for free. However, in order to get it, they need to provide you with their contact details. Once you have these details, you can follow up, engage them, and move them towards the next stage of their purchasing journey.

Ideally, lead magnets are educational. Your prospective clients must get to know you as an expert in your field, someone who cares about their wellbeing and, therefore, someone they can ultimately trust with their money and success. 

Examples of lead magnets include ‘how-to’ articles, eBooks, videos, webinars, free consulting sessions and software trials. In order to entice a good number of your targeted leads to download or to access your lead magnet, your lead magnet will need to address a problem that most of your prospective clients are experiencing. The lead magnet must show them how to possibly overcome part of, or the entire, problem themselves, or how to accelerate the solving of that problem, and achieve their desired outcome, by purchasing your product or service. 

Here are a few examples of lead magnet titles which address ‘common mistakes’:

Examples of progressive lead magnet titles that help people to achieve positive results include:

Examples of trials and free sample lead magnets include:

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Your prospects are always looking for a way to solve their problems and using a lead magnet is a great way to get them to discover you and to associate you with the solution to their problem.

Opt Your Leads In

Using your preferred advertising or promotional mode to promote your lead magnet, you will entice leads to your website, landing page or physical store. What you want to do now is to make sure that you collect the lead’s contact details, so that you can follow up with them afterwards. 

Ensure that you opt your leads into your sales funnel\ inbound flywheel by capturing their contact details in exchange for your lead magnet. It may seem obvious, but you will be surprised at how many businesses provide educational content and lead magnets to prospects without collecting their contact details in exchange. Make sure that you do not miss this critical part of the Inbound process! 

Initially, you should request as little information as possible. For example, request their first name and email address. The more information you ask for, the less prospects are likely to give it. A phone number and street address might be too much to ask for in the beginning, unless you truly need it to deliver your lead magnet. 

Remember, you want your prospects to give you essential contact information without their feeling uncomfortable doing it. And they will do it if there is something of perceived value in exchange for their contact details. So, make sure your lead magnet clearly articulates this value so that prospects will willingly give you their contact information.

Stage 2: Engage

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 What do you do with the leads that you capture? 

Most small businesspeople will contact their leads two or, perhaps, three times, and then stop trying. This is why most businesses do not close enough sales. Because they do all the hard work to get prospects interested in their offering, capture their contact details, and pretty much throw the opportunity away by not properly nurturing those leads. This results in the leads disappearing and forgetting about your business. Why? Because you did not nurture that relationship.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of building great relationships with prospective buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, flywheel and buying journey. It focuses on educating qualified sales leads who are not yet ready to buy.

Lead nurturing includes answering questions that your leads may have about the problem they are experiencing, or the various potential solutions they can use to solve their problem. You need to continue providing them with content that is valuable enough to keep them engaged, thereby ensuring that when they are ready to buy, you will be top of mind and the obvious choice for their purchase.

So, how many times should you follow up before you appear to be the proverbial creepy salesperson? The answer is: It depends.

What you do need to know though is that: 

However, most companies will quit following up with their leads well before a reasonable number of calls and contacts:

It is easy to see why salespeople waste their hot leads and are, ultimately, unable to close enough sales to meet their quota. They do not follow up enough!

Stage 3: Delight

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In the last part of the Inbound methodology, which is Delight, you should continue to use email and marketing automation, as well as conversations, to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time, every time. 

The aim here is to align your sales and service team members to deliver an amazing and delightful customer experience that your customers are going to love and want to share with their friends and family in-person, online, on social media and other platforms. 

To get this right, though, you must have the right strategies and supporting tools to make your sales process as pleasant as possible for your customers. If you do not, 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. And 51% of those who do buy from you, will never do business with you again after one negative experience! (HubSpot)

Make an Offer

For the leads with a high lead score, based on what your lead’s pain is, how they initially contacted you, as well as how they have continued to interact or engage with your content, you are now in a position to propose. In other words, to make them an offer. 

Another way of making an offer, to your prospective clients, is to make them a low-dollar offer. This is also known as a tripwire. A tripwire is a product or service specifically designed and priced to convert as many leads into clients as possible. Your goal is NOT to make a profit from your tripwire offer, but rather to dramatically increase your buying client base and to cover all of your lead generation expenses. 

Remember, at this stage, you are still getting the prospect to trust you enough to commit to a real relationship with you. And high-value offers may be too much to ask for, too early in the process – especially if the prospect’s lead score is low. You use a tripwire to get your lead to initially make small commitments, and not to scare them off with big offers too early in the engage and nurture stages of the marketing and sale process. Unless, of course, you genuinely feel they are ready for a high-value offer.

You may try discounting a high-value offer for a limited time to help create a sense of scarcity or urgency around that offer. How they react to this offer will depend on how they generally interacted with your company and content throughout the nurture phase.

Remember, though, you want to automate as much of this process as possible. But do not overthink it in the beginning. Work from your existing manual process and automate it from there. Put some simple emails and offers in place, test them, and refine the process along the way.

And when the prospect does, finally, make that buying decision, make sure you have an easy payment process in place and that the prospect always knows what will happen next. This will help you to eliminate related anxieties for the prospect. Remember: 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.

To avoid this, you should ensure that your staff are well trained to help make this step seamless for both your business, as well as for the buyer. Process the payment, collect the agreed-upon money, and handle the transaction, as expected and\or outlined in the proposal, to ensure that the deal goes according to the plan that your customer expects.

In Conclusion

Implementing Inbound Marketing will significantly improve your probability of success, now and in the future. Those who ignore the principle of Inbound do so at their own risk. The sooner you start to implement it and to embed it in your company culture DNA, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits of an Inbound Organization.

It is clear to see that there is a lot to do when it comes to attracting, signing up, engaging, nurturing leads and delighting paying customers. The idea behind your business should be to do this, and do it at scale – to move beyond the point where every lead and customer feels like they are receiving the attention and service they deserve, without business owners and managers still feeling the need to always micro-manage everything to achieve that. 

It is also clear to see that, without the appropriate system, businesses with few or no staff would not cope if they needed to do all of this manually. It is therefore important to find the best-fitting inbound solution for your budget, challenges and growth opportunities. 

See below for FREE access to HubSpot CRM – the originators of Inbound Marketing! 

I wish you great inbound marketing success.

KK Diaz

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