When you start an open-ended conversation around marketing strategies for business, there's a wide range of suggestions thrown out there ...
You should be doing trade shows. You should be hiring a search engine optimization specialist. You should be redoing your website. You should be advertising in trade magazines.
There are a lot of options, but coming up with the right recommendations for your business shouldn’t be about the options; it should be about your prospects.
What I mean is that today’s buyers – your prospects – are behaving a certain way, and you want to make sure that the marketing tactics you’re executing are matching up with the way they want to buy.
Here is an example: Today, people don’t want to be interrupted. They don’t want to get a cold call. They don’t want to watch an advertisement on TV. They don’t want to receive an unsolicited email in their inbox. And they don’t want to see an online ad while browsing the Web. So, they use technology to answer the phone only when they recognize the number, to DVR their shows and fast forward through the ads, to spam-filter their emails and to block ads on their browser.
As marketers, we have to respond by looking for tactics that engage, not interrupt. Once your prospects engage with you, they’re open to hearing what you have to say.
One of the best ways to do this is with inbound marketing. It's the marketing methodology that targets people who are already looking for you and connects with them in a helpful way instead of a salesy way.
Here are some examples.
Writing A Guest Blog Post
It’s not hard to find a handful of blogs about your industry. Every industry has people who call themselves experts (some of them might actually be experts) and who love to write about the goings on in a particular line of business. Simply searching your industry and the word "blog" will result in a long list of bloggers for your business.
These bloggers have audiences, and they’re looking for content to talk about. By helping them out and providing them with a story angle that educates, advises, counsels or coaches their readers (who are also likely to be your prospects), you’re getting access to a group of new potential prospects for your business.
If you help them, they’re probably going to want to get to know you a little better. While they might not be ready to do business with you today, they’re engaging with your company. If you nurture them properly, it's very likely that they'll want to do business with you in the future.
Publishing A New E-Book
Today, your prospects are coming to your website before they call or contact you. They’re visiting more than once. When they come back and you have new educational content, they’re going to download it. Then, you know who they are, and you’re able to carry on an ongoing, one-to-one conversation with them. It’s these one-to-one conversations that turn your marketing from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s this experience you’re creating that gets people to want to do business with you.
Adding Top-, Middle- And Bottom-Of-The-Funnel Offers To Your Website
It sounds simple on paper, but you’d be surprised how many businesses skip this step entirely. They have only one conversion point on their website: "Contact Us." Maybe they have a "Free Trial" or "Take A Demo" option, both of which are more appropriate for people that are pretty far down in the decision-making process. But, what about all those people visiting the site who aren’t ready to sit through a demo or tackle a free trial?
They need to have offers and conversion points, too. In fact, there are many more of these people than the ones you think want to do business with you right now. So, when you think about marketing tactics, don’t exclude the people who are still in the Awareness or Consideration phases of their buyer journey. Some might argue that these prospects are even more important than those who are about to make a decision.
Emailing Educational Tips
Speaking of those people who are still in the middle of their buyer journey, they need to be nurtured in a very deliberate and strategic way. No, they don’t need to get coupons, discount offers or meeting invites, but they do need to receive additional educational information so they feel like you’re continuing your efforts to help them.
Actually, this experience must be strategic in its design. How often are you going to touch them with information? In what formats? What action do you want them to take? This needs to be thought out, and the stories need to be consistent and engaging. This is exactly how you emotionally engage your prospects without having to advertise, make cold calls or waste time at trade shows.
You should see how marketing strategies are more complex today than they were in the past. Your prospects are smarter, more discerning and more aware of how you market to them. Make sure that your marketing approach aligns. Make sure you have inbound marketing to give you the tools you need to create the remarkable experience your prospects are looking for when they’re ready to make a decision.
Start Today Tip – You need to expand your understanding of the marketing tactics available to you. Today, there are more options – and more prospect-friendly ones – than ever before. Consider leaving some of your old-school tactics behind in favor of some of the new inbound marketing tactics we’ve discussed here. Before you jump in, however, take the time to completely think out your entire marketing strategy and then move forward with purpose.
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