Whether you’re a large or small company, whatever you specialise in, there’s one thing that all businesses need: customers. There’s no point in setting up a business without having an idea of your target customer. They’re the financial backbone of your brand.
However, getting customers is easier said than done, especially if you’re a new company. How can you reach out to them? While advertising your services is of course going to be the essential and obvious thing to do, it’s not enough to just simply say “here’s our company and this is what we do”. The best thing to do is use an approach called Inbound Marketing, which is what this article will cover.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the more commonly used informal name for inbound project management, which is marketing focused purely on getting new customers. Since communication has greatly expanded in the last 30 years, this will mean that these new possible customers will be discovering your company through the internet, largely through social media websites, but also through blog posts.
When someone first contacts you wanting your product or services, they’ll be a prospective customer. After they see how well your company will perform to help them, they’ll then officially become a customer when they wish to use your products or become a part of your company (e.g., they’ll use your bank instead of another). Regardless of what you provide, you must maintain a one-to-one relationship between yourself and the customer.
How Can I Look for Potential Customers?
As stated earlier, it’s not just a simple case of putting yourself out there and announcing you have a business. You need to look for the right type of people who you’d want as customers. To do this, you need to use a method called social listening. This dictates how you track, analyse, and respond to conversations across the internet on various social media channels of your brand.
Many social media websites – notably YouTube, to give one example – allows its users to monitor the activity of the videos that creators upload. This grants them access to not just what other creators are commenting on the videos and the ratio of likes to dislikes, but information regarding who is watching the videos; the analytics. Are the viewers subscribers or not subscribed? Were they even signed in to YouTube? What is their gender? What is their age? All these are vital to understand who the audiences are, and can help identify both fans and influencers.
In fact, another great way to receive new customers is to endorse the good reviews that you may receive to show how highly regarded your company is. Also, social listening can be a good way to track your competition. Who are you up against? Can you do something that they can’t? All this information can then help generate a buyer persona for you to use.
What are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer, who will be based upon the data you have gathered concerning your audience. The creation of a buyer persona is no different than trying to create a character for a novel or a screenplay; you can flesh out and fully develop who they are. How old are they? Do they have children? Are they married? What’s their lifestyle? What social media sites do they more commonly use?
By taking on board these characteristics, this will help you develop a list of wants and needs for this specific demographic of people to better target your brand identity to them. You need to know who exactly it is you are trying to connect with so you can think of and generate relevant brand content. This will also help you identify roadblocks that could prevent their journey to success. Additionally, understanding your buyer persona will assist you with the five fundamentals of inbound marketing.
What Are the Five Fundamentals of Inbound Marketing?
There are five fundamentals when it comes to inbound marketing, all of which are key to acquiring new customers:
- Contacts – The heart of inbound marketing itself. They’re who you’re marketing to and ultimately engage with. It’s important that you identify which contacts you know you can successfully help. In addition, once you know who they are, you can think of the right questions to ask so you know how to help them.
- Buyer personas – Going back to what was said in the previous point, think about who exactly it is you wish to help. What do you already know about your audience? Remember those details and use them to your advantage.
- Buyer’s journey – This is the active research process that’s ongoing as you lead up to acquiring a new customer. This consists of 3 stages: The awareness stage (the buyer realises they have a problem), the consideration stage (they identify the problem and think of solutions to resolve it), and the decision stage (they evaluate and decide on the right solution, I.e., the right provider – your business – to help them).
- Content – How are you going to reach future customers? By providing content that catches their interest. This can include blog posts or photographs of what you’ll be providing in the end. It must be noted that inbound marketing is basically a combination of the content you provide and context, with the latter being who it is you are reaching; your buyer personas.
- Goals – What is it you wish to achieve at the end of the day? If you don’t know, then how are you going to get there to begin with? Remember to keep track of both of these during your journey.
Inbound marketing is a necessity. You’ll need to understand your prospects to ensure that they become customers and use your services or buy your products. If you don’t know who your customers are, let alone what your goal is and how you’re going to get to it, then how will you make new customers?
This article only covered the basics regarding inbound marketing. If you wish to dig deeper and learn more, contact Floodmaker today.
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