A critical component of inbound marketing is attracting ideal clients and moving them through their buyer's journey. This is typically achieved with lead generation campaigns — a way to attract your ideal client to your website and capture their contact information — that is followed by lead nurturing — a way to engage and educate your prospects through the buyer's journey. But oftentimes execution of these ideas is elusive. Here are some implementation strategies to put into place for your sales and marketing teams.
Attracting Your Ideal Customer
Inbound marketing strategy begins with attracting an ideal customer. But there are several aspects that must be determined for this piece to work — clarifying your buyer persona and determining a buyer's journey stage.
Clarifying Your Buyer Persona
When you determine a buyer persona you can more clearly and directly create content that speaks to that personas' current issues or obstacles. We think about buyer personas in terms of seven overall categories:
- Background: This should include information about the role at their company, how long they've worked there, and what their personal life is like (are they married? do they have kids? etc.)
- Demographics: Include information about age, gender, household income, and living situation.
- Identifiers: When you come across a person who fits into this persona, how do you know it's them? How can you identify them as the correct persona?
- Goals: What are their primary and secondary goals in relation to your service or offering? For example, if we were selling accounting software, our primary persona might have a primary goal of simplifying their overall accounting process so they can spend less time focusing on accounting tasks like payroll and report running.
- Challenges: What challenges do they face in meeting these goals? For example, again if we're selling accounting software, one of their challenges might be that they've been sold poor accounting software in the past which leads them to be skeptical of new solutions.
- What Can We Do?: The "we" in this situation is your company. Think about the persona's goals and challenges and determine how your product or service can help them fix their issues.
- Common Objections: What are some reasons that this particular persona would not purchase from your company?
Determining the Buyer's Journey Stage
There are three stages in the inbound marketing buyer's journey — awareness, consideration, and decision. In this digital age, prospects do research online before ever reaching out to a salesperson or company. Think about how digitally savvy you are as a consumer (or how internet fluent your kids, coworkers, or tech-y friends are). If you're not providing content for your leads who are doing their research, they may not even find your business in the first place. This is why all companies need to have content for the top and middle of the funnel (the awareness and consideration stages). But determining a stage to focus on for a particular piece of content is also critical to speak directly to that buyer's current state of mind.
Converting Online Leads
In order to gain information from your visitors, you need to offer something in return. This is where high value content offers come into play. High value content can be a number of things, but essentially it's information that your visitors find valuable. This could be in the form of eBooks, white papers, infographics, checklists, quizzes, videos, workshops, events, and more. If you've developed a great piece of content that your buyer persona would find valuable, they'll be willingly to give up their information to obtain it.
Each piece of high value content should target prospects in a specific stage of the buyer's journey and you should have high value content offers in each stage. In order to be successful with your content marketing and generate more leads online, you have to appeal to your buyer personas whether they're just discovering that they have a problem, weighing their options to solve their problem, comparing companies, or they're ready to take action. If they find your content valuable they'll be willing to provide their email address, and maybe more information about themselves, via a form in order to get this valuable item.
As soon as they complete that form, you have captured a lead in your database. Then the fun begins.
Nurturing Your Prospects
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with prospects through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on addressing the needs of prospects and providing the information and answers they need in order to make a buying decision. This is why clarifying the buyer persona and stage of the buyer's journey is so crucial before turning on the lead generation magnet. Lead nurturing is most often done through the use of email marketing and workflows.
Since lead nurturing is based on staying front-of-mind with your prospects to remind them you exist and provide them with more information to move them closer to a buying decision, regularity of email content is important. An email workflow is often used in lead nurturing because it does all the work for you and does it automatically. Many email providers offer automated email follow-ups as a marketing tool. You just have to build out what you'll say to these leads and how often and place them in the automation tool. The reason we prefer HubSpot's workflow tool is that you can also add internal notifications, CTAs, web-hooks, and monitor those clicks as well as adding content activities to inform a lead scoring campaign that will alert your sales team of the most engaged hot leads.
When and How to Close the Deal
Closing the sale is the part of the process that typically gets the most attention (it is, of course, the end goal), but many businesses rush for the close before someone is ready and can end up ruining the potential sale (and relationship). Utilizing workflows is best to ensure that there is always an opportunity for a prospect to request more information or to talk with a sales person at every step in addition to continuing down the lead nurturing path that you've created for them. THEY are in control of that part of the process. This is another way to build trust since they are in control of the conversation, you are merely being available when they want to advance. As with every part of the buyer's journey, especially in this nurturing stage, it's important to be helpful — NOT SALESY.
Including calls-to-action (CTAs) at every stage of your buyer's journey is important to this process. It allows those leads to raise their hand, or even set their own appointment, when they are ready to buy. For many, this may feel too passive, but the magic of this strategy is that the deal is practically closed when this lead reaches out to your sales team. The prospect has already completed their research and decided that your company is a great fit for the issue they have encountered. The only thing left is to determine the details and sign the contract.
If you are looking for strategy and implementation help for your inbound marketing strategy we'd love to talk more with you. Just click the image CTA below set an appointment and talk with our team. Or feel free to explore the links we've sprinkled throughout this blog post for more tips and details on inbound marketing. We're always here, and ready, for a conversation when you are ready.