You Can't Run...or Hide
Over the past decade we’ve seen rapid growth in the digital space. Social platforms have evolved, allowing access and the ability to share information at the drop of a hat. The shear amount of content accessible at your fingertips is overwhelming. How can you leverage these advancements to accomplish YOUR goals?
Here is our advice: Inbound Marketing is your best bet for 2017...
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is one of the most discussed topics amongst marketers and remains the most cost effective method to achieve engagement that positively impacts business. Most of us are familiar with outbound (or traditional) marketing, which includes things like billboard advertising, print advertising, rented contact lists (for email blasts that turn into junk email), and other uninvited outreach tactics. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, utilizes methods of communication with an audience that encourage the development of organic, high quality connections. Communication is invited. Unlike the inorganic marketing efforts from outbound marketing, inbound marketing creates a two-way communication platform by offering value and encouraging interactions with clients around relevant, meaningful content. In turn, clients share information about themselves, invite future contact and communications from the business, and engage in conversations that provide rich insights – increasing the probability of securing business from the potential client.
Why Inbound Marketing?
According to a 2013 Hubspot study, 51% of marketers reported a positive return on investment from inbound marketing campaigns. Specifically, of businesses that maintained blogs on their website and used them as a tool for inbound marketing, 79% reported a positive return on investment.
Businesses saved $14 per customer acquired through inbound marketing efforts compared to (traditional) outbound marketing.
Increase Client Engagement & Reach
Creating and sharing content on a blog creates an opportunity for your audience to learn more about you through your expertise. Those who are interested in your content can comment with their thoughts (engagement) or share it on their own social media for other people to read – thereby increasing your exposure (reach).
Build Brand Awareness and Authority
Everything you share tells the public who you are – it’s part of your brand. When you share high quality, relevant content you gradually establish your business as a trusted resource and an expert in your industry.
To grow your business, you must draw audience attention to your digital platforms. How do you start? Create a blog. According to Hubspot, businesses gain 77% more web traffic from blogging than those that do not. Blogs create educational content for your ideal audience and makes them want to know more about you and your business.
Over 2 billion people have active social media accounts.
The next step is to share that content on social media. Over 2 billion people (i.e. potential audience) have active social media accounts. Ignoring social media engagement is a huge lost opportunity to connect with potential clients and expand your business.
Selecting the right social media platform for your inbound marketing strategy is extremely important. Take Facebook for example. It’s a great place to share almost everything especially videos and articles. To demonstrate that your firm is a thought leader, Facebook can become a powerful tool. Similarly, LinkedIn is great for demonstrating proficiency and sharing relevant insights with other professionals and services providers.
Facebook and LinkedIn are great platforms to share "long format" visual and written content.
Once you have your audience’s attention, invite them to learn more about your business by offering access to useful resources and insights. One solution is to use opt-in forms such as email subscriptions, which is one of the quickest methods to build an audience of engaged members and generate business leads. Additionally, use your past successes to promote your business by collecting client reviews and testimonials - both of which can increase your firm’s credibility.
88% of people trust reviews as much as they trust personal referrals.
The Right Content is King
When it comes to powerful marketing that supports customer retention, content has been king - and still is. But not all content makes the grade. One mistake many businesses make in their marketing is treating all clients the same. Clients are known to have different preferences and requirements. Although it may require a little extra effort, there is immeasurable value in giving each one a customized experience. Segment your customer base according to the most important differences and curate your content to appeal to those groups. In order to offer value, the content needs to be meaningful to them.
You’ve done a great job connecting with your target audience and they absolutely love your service – at least it seems so. Are you done? Absolutely not. Now is the time to deepen your relationships with your clients and ensure they’re fully satisfied. Encourage your them to participate in surveys to share their experiences. Find out what they enjoyed about your service or if they have any constructive feedback. It’s never too late to correct mistakes. Constructive criticism is a gift.