There’s a sports adage that many coaches tell their athletes, “let the game come to you.” It may seem like odd advice, because most sports-related activities and matches seem to be all about controlling the tempo and taking charge of the game. However, this different and disciplined approach can yield important benefits for players and professionals alike.
For marketing professionals in today’s business climate, it means being patient, not passive, just alert and resolute. And it means letting the customer come to you. You still have to entice them of course, but it may be over a longer period of time. How do you establish visibility and credibility with this approach? By creating relevant content that has more in common with inbound tactics vs. outbound tactics.
Companies today often utilize outbound marketing efforts in hopes of reaching sales goals through volume. Get enough marketing information out the door and you’ll get enough leads in the door and hit your targets. Direct mail pieces such as quick and easy postcards that get sent in masses or interruptive advertising that pops up on websites or social media platforms are outbound tactics that have their purpose in very specific situations.
Inbound tactics just handle lead generation through different tools that help prepare the consumer for a buying decision with your company. The tactic most compelling is through the creation of relevant content. And believe it or not, it is often a free way that helps businesses connect with customers and build trust over a longer period of time. With inbound tactics, customers actively choose whether to stay in the loop with what your company is offering and doing.
Here are some examples of how inbound content tactics work:
Thought Leadership Blog offers customers new insight about an important topic that turns into a subscriber enewsletter A.K.A. leads.
Engaging Company Facebook Page and posts show the human side of your organization and helps tell the personal story of how your business works and plays, receiving Likes and being shared along the way.
Helpful Company LinkedIn Page that offers a connection to a specific group with like-minded interests. Your demonstrated expertise in the group’s communication leads to one-on-one questions through LinkedIn’s personal messaging system, A.K.A. leads.
More needs to keep happening with your perspective to create content that fully embraces the inbound approach. Not sure what you should focus on? An interesting way to start this process is to ask customers what they are interested in. Using a quick online survey can yield some great feedback that will provide your company with opportunities to provide the content that customers want to consume.
Following the step above and surveying your customers will help toward personalizing the content you create as well. Knowing that consumers are reading anywhere from four to nine pieces of content prior to contacting a company and a whopping 80 percent of people make a purchase decision without ever contacting a company means your content needs to answer questions and guide them through the process.
Personalizing content requires having a solid grasp of who your customers are and how you can make a difference in their lives. One strategy for producing content of this type may be to provide more in-depth pieces to generate high-level interest. Experts often note that content follows the 80/20 rule – with 80 percent of leads coming from 20 percent of their content.
People are going to come across your content through many different channels so be sure to optimize, optimize, optimize. Yes, you want your content to enhance search engine rankings, as it will help bring customers to you. Beyond that relevant content will be heard as an original voice and grow as a best in class piece. This provides optimization opportunities, as it can become an important link builder that improves your website’s domain authority.
Relevant content is a gateway to action. It still requires being patient and yet staying fluid, to create content that is valuable and sustains customers’ interests. Get to know your audience and write for them. Need help getting started? Contact Modern Marketing Partners.