Whether you’re the owner of a local financial company or the owner of a boutique shoe store, getting customers can be a real struggle for small business owners. Competing for customer’s attention online can add to the frustration, especially if you’re trying to compete in an environment dominated by a major brand name. This is where Inbound Marketing can help. If you’re unaware with inbound, check out our Inbound Marketing Infographic to get a better idea, or just keep reading.
Inbound marketing is different than other types of digital marketing. It focuses on each customer’s specific journey towards making a purchasing decision. Much like the well-known AIDA model, Inbound takes a more modern twist on it.
AIDA stands for “Attention, Interest, Desire, Action” and attempts to describe the decision-making process that consumers go through leading up to a purchase. It originates back to the late 19th century, and while it depicts the decision-making process accurately, a lot has changed since the 1800s.
Get with the times
So we took a look at the modern buying process, and realized that “Action” was a part of every single stage. Research. Showing interest. Desire. Purchasing. These all involve some type of action, and only focusing on the purchase fails to create the relationship customers are searching for nowadays.
Inbound marketing splits up the decision-making process into 4 stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. It recognizes the buying power consumers have and takes the customer/company relationship into account.
The first thing you need to do is attract people to your website. This is done by creating valuable content that is relevant to your ideal customers, or buyer personas. Understanding who your target audience for your products are is the first place to start if you want to increase traffic with inbound marketing.
Start writing a blog. Post videos of your products or services in action. Get social and connect with your audience that way. Anything that increases your presence on the channels your ideal customers are spending their time can help attract them to your site.
Once they’re on your site, the goal is to capture their attention with the content you attracted them with. This is easier said than done, but with good content and an easily navigable website they’ll be able to explore your offerings.
The ultimate goal of your website is to gather information about your potential customer. This is done through landing pages and forms where they give you a little personal information in exchange for a valuable piece of content.
This could be a price request, an informative eBook, or a step-by-step guide helping them solve an issue that might be going on in their life. Regardless of what it is, it need to add value.
Once they’ve engaged with your content and they’ve qualified themselves as a strong potential customer, it’s time for your sales team to reach out and bring them onboard. Offer a promotion. Schedule a meeting. Make it personal and relevant to their activity and they’ll be more inclined to buy. Remember, people like doing business with people.
This is the most overlooked aspect of business. Once you’ve created a customer, make sure their happy. Avoid the potential for cognitive dissonance at all costs. Follow up with a survey. Give them a call and see how your product is adding value to their life. If you want to increase retention rate with inbound marketing, you need to be active in this part of the purchasing process.
So when it comes to marketing your small business, think about who your ideal customers are. Find out where they’re spending their time and what content they’re interacting with. Ask yourself: Is inbound marketing right for my business? If you’re struggling to attract and retain customers on digital channels it might be time to start implementing some best practices. As a small business, it’s close to impossible to compete with the big box, major brand-name companies but never underestimate the power of relevant and personal content.
If you remember one thing from reading this, people love doing business with people.