4 Highly Effective Inbound Marketing Techniques
Inbound marketing. If you Google the term, you’ll find a plethora of definitions, but the basic idea is simple: create quality content, and you will draw customers towards your company and product. My last blog focused on the need to engage with customers. Today, I want to talk about the content that will start the relationship, from your landing page and beyond.
The average consumer has only a few seconds (not minutes), to look at what you have to say. If your content doesn't catch their eye, they will look away. It has to be fun, yet informative. Sufficiently detailed, while not compromising its readability.
Since audience taste differs according to age and gender, you won’t have their attention long enough to cater to all demographics at once. You only have about 15 seconds before they bail out. So here’s the conundrum: not all customers are the same, and you may have to cater to a variety of types. But your time is limited.
Let’s suppose your target demographic includes teenagers and young adults of both sexes. That’s already 4 different populations. In order to cater to each, have at least 4 landing pages. All of them will have to be tested with their targeted demographics, and Facebook will help you locate those individuals (my next blog), but for now let’s focus on the content.
There are 4 different content types that, when done properly, can be extremely effective at engaging customers:
Although I don't see a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses putting out video content, it is nonetheless the best way to smartly engage customers. Try putting together something funny or snarky which, while entertaining your visitors, delivers a subtle push to your product. But, be wary of its length. Customers who are not already engaged almost certainly won’t watch something longer than 3 minutes.
Remember that the content should cater to each target demographic. A real estate agent, for example, might choose to explain home improvement strategies that will boost the selling price of your property. While one version of this content could be made to appeal to young, single adults by focusing on studio apartments, a slightly different version could target married adults, by using the context of a family home.
While a lot of landing pages tout a free ebook when you agree to receive updates, remember that an ebook is quite an involved read. I have seen some that are 25 pages long and I always wonder who has the time to read all of that. Customers prefer a simple 1 or 2 page production, with explanatory pictures, an easy to read graph (if you absolutely need it), and interesting stories which can imply why they need your product. Make it as interesting as possible — if you can, sign off on a cliffhanger, which requires the customer to come back for more to find out what you've shown them that they need to know.
By the way, don't try to write your ebook yourself. Hire a professional, to ensure the quality your customers will look for.
In the recent past, it has become a trend to bring in a professional to do a long webinar. I often get 3 to 4 reminders to join a webinar, and when I am sufficiently interested, I’ll click through to the presentation. But my interest starts to wane as the clock hits 5 minutes. The main reason for my fleeting interest is that the content is too dry, or is being communicated inefficiently.
Webinars are usually formats for tutorials, so they can indeed interest and engage the customer. But unless you have great presentation skills and you can keep your message to less than 10 minutes, I would encourage most entrepreneurs and small business owners to skip it. You are better off shortening your webinar to short video snippets.
Reward your visitors:
Offer discounts and prizes to those who subscribe to receive your content. Ideally, it should be related to your product, but it doesn't have to. A tax professional might offer to help his or her customers with their tax questions in a free 10 minute phone call. If your advice is good, they'll come back for more.
A restaurant owner can raffle off a romantic date night, and do a story about the winners the following week. The possibilities are endless, especially since they don't always have to be a discount or promotion for your particular service.
In summary, engagement with your customers must be continuous, through consistently providing quality content. It cannot be done in short spurts. It is a constant journey that will keep bringing in customers and ensure they stick around.
I can already hear a bunch of you asking who on Earth has the time, but that’s the topic for a future blog (notice the cliffhanger?).