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Outbound Marketing

We're all familiar with outbound marketing tactics. Television, radio, and print media are the traditional delivery tools used in outbound marketing efforts. They treat everyone in the audience as a potential customer, relying heavily on demographics for their effectiveness in reaching the right potential audience.

Outbound marketing forces you to tell the entire story of your product or service in a very small window of overall attention time.  For example: in a 30-second television commercial, the advertiser has to inform you about what the product is, why you need it, and how to get it. That message is then broadcast to the largest possible potential audience in hopes that a larger "fishing net" can capture more customers.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing takes a different approach to reaching your target audience. It's a methodology that uses content and buyer personas to attract, engage and delight new and existing customers. Inbound marketing uses a more human, helpful approach to doing business that relies on information and content to allow consumers to self-educate on their own terms. 

In order to understand inbound marketing, you must first understand how purchasing decisions are made. Every decision follows a similar path-to-purchase. This path is also known as the Buyer's Journey. Once you understand your customers path-to-purchase, you can provide them with the right content along the way, nurturing them while building meaningful relationships.


Welcome to The Buyer's Journey

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Awareness Stage
Consideration Stage
Decision Stage
  • The first step to solving any problem is to identify what that problem is. In the buyer's journey this is known as the  the Awareness stage.  During this stage buyers identify their challenges.  Understanding that they have a need will prompt them to seek solutions. 

    In the awareness stage, your potential customer is turning to Google, social media, or friends and family to determine what is the root cause of their challenge. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself as an expert in the field and present some useful information that will help your potential customer identify their true needs.

  • Once the root cause of the problem or opportunity has been discovered, your prospect enters the Consideration stage. At this point, the buyers have clearly defined the goal or challenge and have committed to addressing it. They are also evaluating the different approaches or methods available solve their challenge. 

    In the consideration stage, your prospect is researching solutions that best address their needs. Thanks to the power of the internet, buyers have greater ability to self-educate and gather the facts they need. In this stage you have the opportunity to provide your buyer with additional educational content they can consume on their own terms.

  • The final stage of the buyer's journey is the Decision stage. By now, buyers have already decided on the type of solution for their needs.  It's at this stage where buyer's begin to compare similar products or services offered by you and your competitors. 

    Marketing to a person during the decision stage may include product demonstrations, features-and-benefits proposals and special pricing or trials. By now, your buyer should have a strong understanding of your offer and is ready to make a commitment.


The Inbound Methodology Stages

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Attract

While the buyer is in the Awareness Stage of their journey, you will want to create content that will Attract buyers to your brand. 

For inbound marketing to be truly effective, you have to know who you are talking to. Buyer personas are fictitious people who represent an ideal client for your company. Use them to explore what makes your potential customers unique, and then craft all of your content around them.

With personas in place, you may now effectively write articles, make social media posts, and perform an effect SEO content strategy. These tactics are designed to attract visitors to your website, blog, and social media channels.

Engage

Content without Engagement is ineffective. To this point, if you do not create some way for your potential customers to identify themselves, then you have no way to interact with them and nurture them onward toward the next stage of their journey.

Thanks to advances in technology, there are now many ways to engage your potential audience. The first step involves an exchange of information. Much like asking a customer in a retail store "How may I help you?" or identifying a caller with "May I ask who I am speaking to?" Your inbound marketing strategy needs to include the following engagement tactics:

  • Conversations through live chat or instant messenger
  • Website forms
  • Email
  • Webinars, Seminars & Conferences

These are just a few examples of how you can create engagement opportunities within your inbound marketing strategy.

Delight

When we talk about delighting our audience, we do not mean just the customers who bought our products or services. The Delight stage of inbound marketing includes all prospects in any of their lifecycle stages. 

Inbound marketing draws buyers in by allowing them to access your content on their own terms, at a time and place of their choosing. It's simple human nature: when we get what we want (when we want it), we are "delighted."

If you asked a sales person at a car dealership to test drive their latest model, you would no be very delighted if they responded with "Thank you for your inquiry, we will have someone contact you when it's convenient for us." In fact, you would not likely purchase that particular car.

As we've mentioned, you can delight your audience by providing them with answers and content on their own terms. You can accomplish this through meetings, social media, email, telephone, or any other method of communication they prefer.


Tying it all together with CRM

InboundMarketing-GraphicFull-1At the centre of your Inbound Marketing strategy is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is the bridge between the buyer's journey and inbound methodology. CRM technology enables your sales and marketing teams to create content which your buyer personas will consume.  
 
Your CRM is where you will store the information you have gathered throughout your inbound marketing campaign. If all you want to do is keep track of names and email addresses, you will not need a CRM; a spreadsheet will accomplish the same task just as easily.

Your CRM should be more than a storage centre; it should give you the ability to segment your lists and report on activity. If you are going to truly Attract, Engage, and Delight your buyers, then having an intelligent storage and delivery system is an essential tool. 

Here are a few functions of a CRM within Inbound Marketing:

  • Data collection
  • Automated workflows and sequences
  • Reminders, Tasks, Calendars
  • Lists and Segmentation
  • Reporting and Analytics

Without CRM you will not be able to truly gauge the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy.