Monday, August 10, 2015

Inbound Marketing: Pull Prospects Into Your Sales Funnel

Attracting prospects by providing interesting and valuable content is an effective form of marketing that "pulls" prospects in. Blogs, eBooks and white papers let you impart your knowledge and establish your expertise in the industry. Offering this helpful content in exchange for prospect data such as name, business or email address is the basis for inbound marketing campaigns.

This approach is vastly different from traditional outbound marketing which involves a "push" approach where companies use paid advertising to get products and messages in customers' minds and hope they take action.

Creating inbound marketing campaigns for a defined target audience to generate qualified leads is one of the best ways to market online.

Here's an overview of how to execute your inbound marketing campaign:

1. Identify the audience
Define your target audience, their specific needs and pain points. Consider surveying or interviewing existing clients or prospects from target audience to determine:

  • Demographics
  • Biggest challenges
  • Perceptions

2. Set goals

Determine what type and how many leads the campaign should generate by a targeted date.

3. Create relevant offers and landing pages
Create a content offer (eBook, checklist, white paper, etc.) that's valuable to the target audience. In exchange for prospect contact information, give them access to this valuable content (downloadable PDF).

Having an effective landing page (with a call to action and lead capture form) on your website is crucial to converting prospects.

4. Choose promotional channels to get the word out
Decide which organic and paid channels to use to reach your audience and promote your offer. Email, blog posts, social media and paid advertising (such as Facebook) are good places to start. Develop campaigns and schedule posts or ads to drive traffic to your offer/landing page.

5. Ensure lead follow up
Once you capture prospect information, what will you do with it? Create a series of relevant follow up emails as well as sales team actions to turn your prospects into warm leads or even new clients.

6. Monitor progress
Assess whether your set goals were met and where campaign improvements can be made. Test different offers to see what gets the best response and closely track your promotional channels to understand where the leads are coming from.

Inbound marketing should continually evolve as you try different tactics, evaluate and adjust accordingly.