News flash: old school marketing is dead.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Gone are the days of cold calling, spam emails, and pushy website pop-ups– for effective marketers, that is. And when you do happen to run into one of these little old-school “leftovers”, you almost feel…embarrassed for them.
Because you know they don’t work.
Yes, it’s time to take a totally new approach towards marketing: it’s time for the world of Inbound.
What the Heck is Inbound Marketing, Anyways?
By this point you’ve probably heard the phrase thrown around the block now and then. You may not be completely certain what it is, let alone why it’s CRUCIAL to the success and survival of your business.
So let’s cover the basics — the mindset and methodology behind it all, and the 4 pillars of inbound marketing.
A Marketer-Centric Approach
So what do I mean by old school marketing? Thinking back even just 10 years ago will give you a pretty good idea of some of the outdated tactics that are no longer effective: website pop-ups, cold calls, and spam emails, to name a few. These practices still exist, they’re just painfully obvious (and quite futile) attempts at getting in front of our faces. Not to mention they’re a HUGE waste of money.
Old school marketing is all about interruption— about getting in front of the prospect’s face at any cost (talk about a high customer acquisition cost).
To truly succeed in the digital age, you MUST abandon any and all traces of “old school” marketing strategies, and hop on the inbound train.
A Customer-Centric Approach
Inbound marketing flips this intrusive, outdated approach on its head and focuses on creating and delivering outstanding, quality content your customers actually WANT. Whether you’re blogging, creating a video, or providing other useful resources, inbound focuses on attracting and delighting your customers. Not getting in front of their faces by being pushy at any cost.
It’s all about empowering your customer.
The 4 Pillars of Inbound Marketing:
- Attract: The first step in an inbound marketing strategy is to create content that your customers want. Think about what they need (and are searching for), and make it easy for them to find you. Strategies like SEO (search engine optimization), blogging, creating video content and other resources and tools that your customers want are essential.
- Convert: Now that you’ve got your customers’ attention it’s time to deliver– give them exactly what you promised. Make them hungry and curious for more information on your product or service. They’ve already invested the time and energy to find you and absorb your content; it’s time to convert them into a subscriber. You can accomplish that with a lead magnet, an opportunity to opt in to your email list, or an opportunity to get in touch with someone on your team.
- Close: Now that your prospect is interested, it’s time to empower them. Give them all the tools and resources they need to make an informed decision. If you’ve done your job well, the decision to work with you will be an easy one.
- Delight: There’s nothing better for your brand and your business than an ecstatic customer or a raving fan. They’ll promote you to their families, friends and networks (and do a lot of your marketing for you!). Providing your existing customers and followers with top-quality content on a regular basis is a surefire way to a sustainable (and highly profitable) marketing program.
There are lots of moving parts when it comes to an effective inbound marketing strategy, but one thing is for sure: if you want your business to succeed in 2017 and beyond, these 4 steps are how to do it.