In the movie Se7en, Kevin Spacey’s John Doe, a social critic turned killer, teases the detectives, played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, through his own interpretation of the seven deadly sins. When finally “caught,” Doe explains the method behind his apparent madness:
“Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”
In a way, Doe’s right. Today, traditional advertising has become the most common landscape we lay our eyes upon. As a result, we’ve all become experts at tuning out the traditional ads as easily as one swats away a fly.
But Doe is also wrong. In addition to his criminal actions, “sledgehammering” ad-savvy modern folk is not the best way to gain, or keep, their attention. Rather, replace sledgehammering with a more intentional, nuanced process. Inbound marketing offers just this: an effective mindset and series of tools and tactics for authentically gaining customers’ attention and engagement, producing lifelong loyalty and enthusiastic promotion of your brand and products.
Let’s move past the deadly sins and discuss instead the “7 Virtues” of a killer inbound marketing plan.
1. Attract, don’t annoy
Competing for your customers’ eyes with marketing messages that are flashy and invasive is a short-term solution that leaves people annoyed. Instead, you want to ATTRACT customers. How? The first step is to create a focused and SEO optimized website to deliver blogs with targeted keywords, and a social media strategy that attracts visitors instead of interrupting them with annoying marketing messages. This allows you to work within an environment your customer has chosen, putting yourself in front of them without rudely pushing your way in.
2. Create relevant content capable of drawing customers in
What content can you create for clients that will bring value to their lives? Many companies have discovered that technical documentation, once considered a necessary evil, is actually a goldmine for attracting and keeping customers when put in an easily accessible format. Blogs, infographics, and videos that are packed with useful, informative, or engaging content turns you into a resource for your potential customers, and starts the relationship off on the best foot possible: with you giving them something valuable, absolutely free.
3. Approach inbound marketing as a cycle
Think of marketing as a cycle of the buyer’s journey from visitor to lead to customer to fan. Once the potential customer has encountered your relevant, useful content, they’ve entered the first stage of the journey. By then giving a prospect opportunities to engage with you, your brand, and your content, you carry them through this journey in a way that earns their respect, business, appreciation, and promotion as they advocate for you to their networks.
4. Convert prospects into leads with calls-to-action
Once a prospect is on your site, use every opportunity to take that engagement to the next level. Smart websites convert prospects into leads using calls-to-action to highlight high-level content, forms to gather information in exchange for that content, and landing pages to convince people of the content’s value.
5. Utilize all available channels
Create a presence on multiple channels (ie. email, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) rather than relying on just one or two. Basically, you want to meet potential customers where they are spending time already so they can choose to interact with you.
6. Close leads into customers with closed-loop reporting.
Closed-loop reporting integrates tracking tools to not only tell you where that customer found you in the first place, but to also gather their information before they leave so you can lead them to a product or service of yours that meets their needs.
7. Keep it up!
Just like any relationship needs constant re-creation, so does your relationship with your customers by continuing to offer great service to further your brand. Continue creating smart content to keep them engaged while delivering ongoing value for the life of the relationship.
By dropping the sledgehammer of old, invasive marketing, and picking up this finely-tuned, virtuous, inbound strategy, you’ll be able to enjoy not just an increase in business, but a heightened quality of engagement with your customer base as you earn, rather than demand, their attention.
We realize this seems like a lot of work. That’s because it is. Fortunately, we love doing it. Let us help you put your Inbound Marketing campaign together. Call us at (941) 548-9950 to discuss the possibilities, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest tech trends and more!
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