Going Inbound: Attract, Engage, and Delight
Done right, inbound content marketing makes you the hunter who gets captured by the game
Are you some kind of psychic? How can you know they’re going to be your customer before they’re even ready to buy? Nope, it’s not spiritual or paranormal. It’s called inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is the digitally enhanced Yin to traditional advertising’s analog Yang. It’s not about you and your brand’s features and benefits. It’s about positioning yourself to be a blip on the radar screen when a prospect searches for the solution to their problem. It’s not about push. It’s about pull. It’s about telling stories creatively crafted to attract qualified prospects, convert them to customers, and delight them so they come back for more – and bring others with them.
Not everybody’s invited to this inbound marketing party you’re throwing. If you’ve done your buyer persona homework, you know precisely what the perfect customer looks like – which also means you know what they’re searching for as prospects.
The content you create to attract them is highly focused and relevant. It makes no apologies for being uninteresting to you – but it’s likely you’ll never see it, anyway. You’re not looking for it. Why will this content work on helping to attract the right prospects?
Because it’s not about your product or service. Nope, not so much about you at all.
Successful content for inbound marketing is about the problem your brand solves. Think about the process you went through the last time you had a mysterious and inexplicable pain. Let’s say you woke up with a dull ache in your rib cage.
Before you search for solutions and finally determine the best one, you’ll look for information that validates your problem. You’ll seek out information that educates you and gives you perspective. It’s an inbound journey. You’re looking for objective content as it relates to your problem. What part of this search would content about your solution satisfy?
The first part of successful inbound marketing requires you to, well, be modest. It doesn’t matter if your brand is the absolute best solution. Prospects aren’t looking for the best solution. Yet. They’re traveling inward and wading through information as they seek out expert advice on the problem. Offering a solution to them at this point would be like a doctor prescribing a medication before a patient even describes their symptoms.
The right inbound content at this point is problem-centric, and it transforms strangers into visitors. It is objective and offers perspective. It helps a prospect fit the problem into their worldview and creates a level of trust which also positions your brand as an expert. Who better, at that point, to offer a solution?
Now you’re ready to transform a prospect into a customer by offering more content that converts and closes. Your content for engagement must be interactive.
It’s creating a conversation that encourages people to start taking your brand and the solution it offers for a test ride. These are no longer strangers because you’ve demonstrated that you understand their problem. What’s more, you’ve shared content with them which explains why you are an expert on the subject.
You’ve earned the right to ask them for a certain level of commitment so you can provide them with even more information to help them decide on the best solution. The more information they share with you, the more personalized experience you provide for them when they visit your website.
Now you’ll start to talk about yourself – and it’s because you’ve earned the right to toot that horn. The content you’ll share becomes more valuable, too. Problem? Identified and put into perspective? Solution? Here’s how others just like you approached it.
The right inbound content at this point is solution-centric, and of course it features your brand. It helps people put your solution into their worldview by showing them how others have done it. It’s a generous offering of whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, and webinars. Every offer has the ultimate objective of deepening trust and widening the opportunity for two-way communication. It is as far from the idea of push-style advertising as you could get.
Congratulations on the sale. You’re so not done.
Remember the discussion about flywheels from your high school physics class? Big heavy wheel used to increase and maintain momentum. Flywheels can be used to store energy and prevent stalling. That’s the behind-the-scenes role this last element of inbound marketing accomplishes.
After all, you’ve gone through all this effort to engage and create a two-way dialog with brand new customers. Doesn’t it make sense to ensure your solution has resolved their problem?
The right inbound content at this point is relationship-centric. It reaches out and asks, “How things are going?” It reminds customers of why you offer the solution, which is because you both once shared the same problem. This is also where you’ll go back to the concept of offering education and perspective by sharing content which helps customers look at your brand in new ways. How else can you help them? What else can you offer them? How can you show them that you are just as delighted as they are about the relationship?
Make sure this content is sharable. It’s time to capture some of the energy that went into attracting, engaging, and delighting – and divert it to the flywheel. Customer delight converts efficiently into word of mouth recommendations – which might as well be the perpetual motion machine of marketing.
These three elements – Attract | Engage | Delight – can be dissected and reverse-engineered, but the powerful inbound marketing engine won’t run unless each piece is fueled by appropriate content. Most of this content bears no relation to traditional marketing. Up until a certain point, it’s not even about your brand. Learn more about our approach to attracting, engaging, and delighting the right people for your brand.
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