What is inbound all about? Not just inbound marketing, but inbound sales and inbound services, too. Do you think you could explain it in 30 seconds or less? Give it a try. We can wait ...
Yep, it’s harder than it sounds! The world of inbound is a big one -- and its constantly growing and evolving. Industry experts are seeing things like social media engagement and remarkable content play a greater and greater role in attracting the right traffic to websites, while “faceless” corporations who neglect their potential and current customers are quickly losing ground.
And it’s not just marketers who are using the inbound methodology. While marketers continue to develop strategies to draw the most qualified visitors and contacts to their sites, sales and customer service representatives are beginning to use the inbound philosophy to close more of those qualified contacts into customers and delight them into promoters.
So what is inbound all about today -- and what do you need to know to do it correctly? Regardless of whether you’re in marketing, sales, services, or another part of your organization, there are three key mantras you must know to be successful with inbound. Let’s take a look at them.
Inbound Mantra #1: The buyer is a person. Treat them like it.
To do great business in today’s world, we need to go beyond just focusing on churning out any piece of content and closing as many customers as possible. Now we’re not saying content and customers aren’t important -- just that the focus has shifted to creating the right content that'll attract, convert, close, and delight potential and existing customers. We need to treat our prospects like real people with real wishes, dreams, challenges, desires, and dislikes. We shouldn't ignore them -- we should help them!
Help grant your potential customers’ wishes, achieve their dreams, overcome their challenges, and satisfy their desires with the content you create. And to do this most effectively, you can’t just create any content. You need to create content that will appeal to the specific prospects you’re trying to attract, convert, close, and delight.
Inbound Mantra #2: The buyer holds all the power. Don’t fight them; empower them.
Today’s customers are empowered and in control of the entire buying journey -- and the best ones expect more than ever before from the businesses they choose to engage with. So inbound must last the entire customer lifecycle.
In 2014, simply creating content to be found isn’t enough. To be a successful inbound organization, your business must create content to nurture and engage customers throughout their entire experience with you. You must create targeted content based on who your ideal customers really are and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Inbound Mantra #3: Make life easier for your buyers -- not more complicated.
It’s not enough to know who you’re trying to attract, convert, close, and delight. Buyer personas are important, but you also need to know where your prospects are in the buyer journey, what those personas are looking for help with, and what they want that help to look like. Whether pre-, mid-, or post-sale, make your potential or existing customers’ lives easier by not only creating content for them as people, but making the content actually interesting, relevant, useful, and easy for them to access.
For example, if a plumber is trying to get more leads from his website, it won’t do him any good to showcase reviews of his service on his homepage if potential visitors are looking for a guide on how to fix a leaky faucet. Don’t make your prospects hunt down answers hidden deep within your site, on social platforms they don’t use, or leave them looking for content that doesn’t even exist in the first place. Know what they want to see and make their lives easier by providing it to them in an easy-to-access way.
Follow the Golden Rule
Regardless of what your role is at your organization, these three mantras will help set you up for success with inbound. The common theme between all three is that successful inbound strategies should follow the golden rule: do unto others as you’d like to be done unto yourself. To be successful with inbound, treat your potential and current customers with respect: help them, empower them, and enable them.
At the beginning of this article, we asked you to explain what inbound is all about. You may not yet have the perfect, 30-second-flat answer composed, but by now, you’ve hopefully realized that inbound is all about creating marketing, sales, and service experiences designed with real people in mind.
To learn more about the fundamentals of a successful inbound strategy and how to attract, convert, close, and delight your future and current customers, check out HubSpot’s free inbound certification series.