I recently read an article that questioned the validity of Inbound marketing based on the financials of a company that is probably considered the “poster child” of inbound.
Without getting into that discussion at all, let me just say that the validity of inbound marketing success rests upon one of the most solid foundations of our information age, namely that:
“Prospects are findng your solution at the peak moment of interest – when they are actually searching for it.”
It’s pretty hard to seriously question the logic of that premise, both from a common sense standpoint, and from a financial one.
To truly comprehend the superiority of search engine marketing (SEM) and other forms of inbound over the outbound “spray and pray” methodology of times past, it helps to be a sales veteran of the pre-digital era.
Those experiences will help to inform an effective “digital sales strategy” for today. But we still have to fully embrace and understand inbound marketing to leverage its superiority.
Part of that understanding is that:
- not everyone searches the web for solutions
- not everyone searches the web for solutions very well
- not everyone who searches for YOUR solution finds you
- those who do find you, may not like what they find
These are “givens” within the realm of inbound. Once you address them in your strategy, your success will probably increase on an order of magnitude relative to improvements you make in each of these areas. Let’s take them one at a time.
Not everyone searches the web for solutions
That’s why email marketing is still considered a viable component of any inbound strategy – to convert non-searching email users (a big number to factor into your “sales numbers game”) into potential customers – by directing them to your landing page through a relatively effective means other than search..
Not everyone searches the web for solutions very well
Here’s where it really gets sticky – and where SEO expertise comes in handy. In my last linkedIn article I covered this in some detail. Of course it’s all about relevance, but it’s about perception too – your prospect’s perceptions – you have to capture those perceptions on their terms , yet relevant to you (set your expectations accordingly).
Not everyone who searches for YOUR solution finds you
Another given, yet you can minimize this factor in several ways. Email marketing , as mentioned, is one. You may also want to engage in display network advertising if it’s the right venue for you. With display networks, people are not “searching for your solution at their peak moment of interest”. Rather, they are being “served your message while doing something else online” … based on certain online behaviors which profile an interest in your solution type.
Those who do find you, may not like what they find
And why should they (after all ) unless you’re rewarding them for being smart enough to engage your least expensive sales channel (in a very price – sensitive and competitive environment) ?
You owe it to your inbound prospect to at least acknowledge their expedience in the form of a tangible reward of some type – exclusive to customers acquired online.
And if you do, you’ll gain a competititve edge over those who do not. Creativity usually earns dividends here.
Cover these 4 key strategies if you aren’t today, and I would expect your inbound success to grow accordingly. Just measure and monitor to continually reach higher.
Next time, we’ll cover the follow-up outbound call strategy (you’ll eventually have to call about 90% of inbound leads at some point anyway). Here’s where the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing BUT the Truth actually pays off in your outreach approach.
Bruce Sutter image source