Most of you probably know the story of the Trojan horse. After a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse and hid a select force of men inside.
The Greeks pretended to sail away and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war.
What you probably don’t know is that inbound marketing works in a similar way. Your prospects are like the Trojans. They are on the defensive. They are holding your marketing back. They are deleting your emails, skipping over your TV ads, flipping past your print ads, ignoring your web-banner ads and hanging up on your cold calls. The only way in is with your Trojan horse--educational content.
When you offer your prospects educational materials like "how to" videos, whitepapers, research and tip guides your prospects will let you in. Why? Because you’ve made it about them and not about you. By offering them help in their decision-making process you've built your Trojan horse and they have brought you behind the walls of their city.
First, you want to formulate an organized and structured plan of attack. This is where our metaphor differs slightly from history. You don't need to defeat their army and end the war like the Greeks. Now that you've made it past their defenses, you need to start a relationship and provide a unique experience. This requires that you market to them on a 1-to-1 basis, talking with them regularly. Create a simple schedule. Here's an example:
After they download your Free Report or watch your “how to” video and you have their email address, start a lead nurturing campaign and add them to your monthly email marketing efforts. Now you know you’ll be talking to them at least four times during the next 30 days.
Lead nurturing email number 1 (sent 24 hours after their download) could promote your blog. If you can get them to subscribe to your blog, it’s another opportunity to stay in touch on a regular basis. If you blog weekly, then you add four more prospect touches from your inbound marketing program.
Lead nurturing email number 2 (sent three days after their first download) could promote a Low Risk Offer like a webinar or an online assessment that would pull them closer to your business. Getting them to attend a webinar or complete a form on your website gives you even more information about their business and their challenges. It also means they are moving through your funnel and getting closer to the “New Customer” stage.
Lead nurturing email number 3 should promote another piece of educational content. Perhaps someone who downloads a whitepaper would also like to read a recent research study or a tip guide that also helps them with their purchase.
Of course, this approach should be aligned with your sales effort too. You can’t be subtle and helpful with the marketing and aggressive or pushy on the sales side. Both have to be helpful, counseling and oriented toward educating your prospects.
Keep in mind the new buyer behavior:
- They won't do anything until their pain is acute.
- They won't buy from you until they know, like and trust you.
- They won't buy until they have an emotional connection with your company, products or services.
Educational content is the Trojan horse that puts you in a position to achieve these conditions with all your prospects.
Start Today Tip – Do you have the resources to add educational content to your sales and marketing process? If you don’t do this, it’s going to be a long and drawn out battle with casualties on both sides. The Trojan horse tactic needs content at its core. This isn’t as hard as you might think. Your content doesn't have to be long and it doesn't have to be expensive, but it DOES have to be helpful and informative.
Start with an easy one. Create the “10 Secret’s Everyone Needs To Know Before They Purchase (your products/services here).” List out 10 tips most people don’t know. Write a sentence or two of explanation and you have a Tip Guide. That’s it. Now offer it on your website, in your sales process and at your next trade show. Make sure that whoever gets it—gives you their email in return. Congratulations! Now you have an inbound marketing program and the Trojan horse you need to get past your prospects' defenses.
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