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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Feb 3, 2015 7 min read

How Inbound Marketing Works If Your Prospects Aren’t Looking For You

Not Looking For YouInbound marketing is filled with great questions, but this is one of the best. It's also one that we were answering for a client last week.

It’s easier to see how inbound works when people are actively searching for information related to what you do, what you sell, your industry and your business.

But, what about when they’re not?

Inbound marketing actually works just as well when your prospects aren’t looking for what you do – IF you believe that they are looking for something.

Where Do You Go For Your Information?

Before we go on, I don’t think we have to suspend reality to see that almost everyone is online searching for something. I don’t think we have to stretch our imaginations to agree that everyone has challenges at some point in their day, week, month or year – or even within their lifetime. Right? 

If you’re not buying this assumption, maybe you're thinking that you know someone who never has any issues and never uses the Web for anything. I guess it’s possible, but not likely. Even the argument that older generations aren't online is quickly running out of steam, as my 75-year-old mother frequents Facebook, buys products from Amazon and gets her email on a smartphone.

Connecting The Dots With Content

So, if we can agree that your perfect prospects are on the Web, that they have daily challenges and that they’re looking for information on those issues, the real question becomes: How do we get them to connect you and your business to the information they’re getting, which is unrelated to you and your business?

The answer: an inbound marketing strategy. This is accomplished by understanding what they are looking for. Then, you must creatively provide information that solves those issues, connecting your business to them in order to continue the conversation.

A Real-Life Example

Here is a practical example: We have a client who wants to attract owners of successful small businesses. To protect the innocent, I’m going to leave out some of the details. But, we know exactly the psychographic and demographic characteristics for their perfect prospect. Since these people are already running successful businesses, they’re not overtly looking for what this client does or wants to offer.

However, we do know what their challenges are as small business owners, what keeps them up at night, what they like doing and what they don’t like doing. We typically refer to these as “pains.” We know their pains and the information they’re seeking online, in social media, on association sites and in membership organizations.

Now, we have to pair up the information they're looking for with the information they might not think they need. For instance, these business owners use software to execute their services. This software is constantly changing: It’s moving to the cloud, new tools and options are rolled out monthly and changes in regulation mean the software must be updated on a regular basis. There are challenges associated with using technology to deliver their services.

We know for a fact that these business owners are searching for information on the Web that's related to software solutions. How do we know that? Because we look at search data for keywords associated with this issue and see over 12,000 monthly searches for a keyword that’s directly related to this topic.

We think it stands to reason that if our client were on the first page of Google for this keyword, it would drive a lot of traffic to a page on their website that talks about software. It also stands to reason that some of the people visiting this page might be interested in a related conversation on how this company helps small business owners with their issues: the rapidly changing requirements associated with their business, software solution options, ways to buy software at reduced rates, ways to evaluate new software and more.

This connection between something the target prospect cares about and what our client wants to talk about is exactly what inbound marketing does best. We strategically marry what prospects want to learn about with what our clients want them to know about their business.

Now That You Know Who They Are, What's Next?

The result: a new contact in our client’s contact database, who is now open to information from our client. This contact has been advised and educated on a pain point by our client, who therefore has some trust currency with this new prospect. Now, the marketing shifts from attraction to nurturing. We’ll continue to advise, educate, counsel and coach this business owner on a variety of relevant topics until he finally realizes a possible interest in what our client has for him.

Or, this owner might encounter a situation within his business that forces him to change his opinion. At that point, he already knows, likes and trusts our client, so the search for solutions doesn’t start there. He immediately reaches out to his trusted source of information, which is our client. Now, our client has a viable prospect who is ready to speak with them about what they do and how they do it.

That’s exactly how inbound works. Time and time again.

Start Today Tip – The tie between what they want and what you want to sell them isn’t hard to come up with, but it takes some thought. The bigger challenge is creating the content and messaging that actually draws them into your world. Doing this right requires planning, and that should be your first step. Walk your team, as if they were one of your prospects, through the thought process I outlined above. Once you know what issues they’re facing, create the content that helps and guides them. When that’s done, you won’t find it hard to connect your story with the helpful content you’re providing. The result: a fan of you, your services/products and your company.

 The Science Of Inbound Marketing Strategy

Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing And Inbound Marketing Revolutions!

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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