Inbound Marketing: Generate Business By Playing To Human Nature
If you’re not familiar with the term. inbound marketing is a coordinated approach to increasing qualified website traffic and nurturing those leads in order to generate business from your website or online presence. Successful outcomes are usually a result of coordinated website design, SEO services and a well thought out content and programming strategy. Whether you offer a product or are a CPA, attorney or doctor who offers a professional service, understanding inbound is key to making the most of your web presence.
A recent wine promotion I came across while having dinner at a Seasons 52 restaurant turned out to be a great example of nurturing leads through a sales funnels the same way inbound methodologies do online.
Once our party was seated, the table was set with tableware, menus and a promotional card describing a special offer on “flights” of wine. Guests were able to choose from (3) groupings of wines for $15 to $20, and enjoy a free “signature flatbread”. Once you picked from the groupings of Whites, Reds, or Acclaimed, you were given a sample of each of three wines in that grouping and then a full glass of your preferred choice.
So What’s So Inbound About a Glass of Wine?
In terms of this particular promotion, our party qualified as wine “prospects” that the restaurant was trying to convert us into wine “customers”.
A Free Offer of Helpful Information and Call to Action
In terms of the inbound methodology, the promotional card was free information about the restaurant’s products and services that we could learn more about before deciding on a purchase. A special price on the wine flights was their “offer”.
In fact, when we selected a flight (and agreed to the $15 charge, by doing so), we were really still a “lead”, since we had not selected a specific wine from the samples. As it happened, our party all agreed that one of the samples would be a perfect match for our dinner.
Particularly important from an inbound point of view was how “engaging” the presentation was. Each glass was fitted with an informational “hang tag” at the base. It was an easy way for anyone at the table to read about the tasting notes and details of each wine. While one glass was being tasted, another was studied by the guests.
The promotional information and presentation actually stimulated a conversation among the guests about the wine, our meal, and our preferences.
Relationship and Trust Building Activities
Once a decision was made about the samples, a full glass was poured and matched with a flatbread selection. Not only was this promotion a good deal, it became a way for our server to join the conversation and learn about our preferences, tastes, and a unique way to check-in with us throughout the dinner.
From a revenue point of view, we purchased an additional glass of the selection, which otherwise would not have been even noticed.
Moving and Nurturing Leads Through the Sales Funnel
By our account and the restaurant’s, the promotion was a success. From a brand perspective, the promotion reinforced the positive views a guest already has about the product and service.
In terms of an inbound methodology, we became prospects, converted to leads, and ultimately became customers. With time and a commitment to the approach, you can do the same for your business.
Leveraging your own expertise for Inbound efforts and promotions
If you are in a professional services business, it’s highly likely that you have special knowledge and wisdom of value to your customers. They may consider you a “trusted advisor”. The special knowledge and judgment you possess can be used to attract new prospects and leads. If you are concerned about the value and privileged nature, consider how you convince potential clients to choose your service. If price is not the determining factor, then you’re already sharing your knowledge in a way that’s adaptable to inbound efforts.
Develop an offer of information that your “ideal customer” will find valuable
Using the wine promotion above as an example, can you think of knowledge or expertise you have that your ideal customer would benefit from? When you determine what to offer, developing that into a call-to-action and landing page will help to attract qualified leads to your website. Integrating offers into blogging content, social media, PPC and general website content will ultimately help you to attract more qualified web traffic.
Move prospects through the sales funnel with presentations, webinars and interviews and evaluations
If you have a system in place to measure the results of your efforts, you’ll quickly find out what activities are working and which are not. This can help you fine tune your approach. Once you understand what types of offers are generating the leads you want, you can easily begin to develop new or repurpose content into other forms that are suitable for webinars, slideshare presentations and evaluations. The idea with these additional pieces of content is to “move” prospects through the sales funnel until they are ready for a consultation, interview or evaluation. This commitment on the part of the “prospect” leads to new customers and champions of your brand.
Get Started with Inbound and Stand Apart from Your Competition
You may be ready to start and have the staff and time to handle an inbound program yourself. On the other hand, you may feel that your time is more valuable on other high priority, high payoff activities, or need guidance on setting up an appropriate strategy for your company. In this case, you can use online search to locate a qualified inbound marketing + website design professional in your region. They should be able to help you identify “challenges and pain points”, articulate goals and create and manage a measurable plan with structured activities. Depending on your situation, the cost of a comprehensive inbound program can compete with “social only” approaches and deliver much better results.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.