If you're wondering how to catch new customers using Inbound Marketing, let me be your guide:

Go Where the Fish Are

This summer I was fishing on the South Fork with Trevor Wine, a guide from World Cast Anglers. I've been fishing my whole life: mostly in the big holes and banks of the river; finding the slack water in merging currents. 

When Trevor told us he was going to take us to his secret spot where they’d been catching 20”+ trout all summer, we didn’t argue.  We past bank after bank of amazing looking water only to arrive on fast, flat shoal.  “Just watch,” he said.  Watching the water you could see these HUGE fish rising in this water that was maybe 8” deep.

After catching our biggest fish of the day, I walked away with the realization: Where you THINK the fish are and where they ARE can be totally different.   It’s best not to leave it up to guess work and actually listen to and follow the guidance of the experts.

The same is true with marketing.  You have to go where your potential customers are by determining which persona you are trying to reach. Are they on Facebook ? Twitter ? Yahoo Answers? or LinkedIn ? You can assume, like many people do, that your target customer isn't using social media or the blogosphere . Or you can measure where your traffic is coming from, identify your referrers, track your leads, and close the loop on which new sites and content produced the most leads and customers.

Just like Trevor opened my eyes to new places on the river to catch the big one, my advice is to listen to the experts and be open minded.  Marketing, just like the river, is going to change and you want to be where the fish are if you’re going to reach your target customers.

Choose Your Bait Carefully

Walk into any local fishing shop and they’ll have a board of the “hot flies” for each piece of water in the area.  Once you know where your customer is you're ready to think about what tasty piece of content you’ll be luring them in with.

Get Technical:  Watch the water for insects and match the hatch. In marketing, being well informed about which of your campaigns are driving your best conversion rates to both leads and customers provides you the opportunity to make smarter marketing decisions moving forward with the types of campaigns you run. Companies that download a white paper convert into a customer at one rate, but companies that request a free trial convert at a higher rate.  Ask yourself: which call to action do you want to drive the most visitors and leads to? 

Great Creative:   Throw a totally crazy attractor out there and see if it catches their attention. A great example of a company "getting creative" is one we recently talked about on the blog. Take a look at the pink glove dance that St. Vincent's hospital in Oregon put together to raise Breast Cancer awareness -- in only 3 short weeks this creative little video has over 4 million views. 

Keep Your Fish On The Line

The worst feeling in the world is having a customer on the line and losing them - so you need learn best practices to land your customers.

When you're fly fishing, you need to keep the line tight; any slack in the line gives the fish an opportunity to free itself.  You also want to keep your angles on the fish.  As the fish swims the position of the hook changes. By keeping your angels, you reduce the chance the hook's position will change and he'll get away. 

It's the same with lead nurturing - you need to make sure your angles are right.  If the person came into your site with an interest in social media, you would keep engaging them with social media material.  It's all about catering the material to their interests and engaging them with it when they're interested.

There is nothing like the rush of bringing a fish in, but there's a reason it's called fishing and not catching.  A good day on the river I'll catch one great fish. The true beauty of Inbound Marketing is you have the opportunity to generate lots of higher quality leads because they are interested in the solution you provide.

What's a good day on the river for you as an Inbound Marketer? For me, it's a day when after all my hard work -- I finally land a new customer. 

Inbound Lead Generation Kit

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Originally published Dec 13, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


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