Whether you are a freelancer, consultant, independent trainer or chartered accountant, inbound marketing is the digital strategy best suited to your field of business. Why ? Because the sales cycle of your services is relatively long and responds to complex problems, requiring your customers to inquire and inform themselves to find the solution that best suits their needs. However, all of these online searches are an incredible opportunity to get noticed by providing useful and relevant information and to prove your experience. But how to implement such a strategy? This is what we discover now.
Inbound marketing, a strategy oriented from B to B
The principle of inbound marketing is to find new customers by providing them with the right content at the right time based on the different stages of the purchase journey in which they are.
Unlike traditional marketing, it’s about being visible to your audience through useful and relevant content that can allow your prospects to move forward in their thinking and buying journey.
In fact, the sales cycle from B to B takes place in 3 main phases:
- The discovery phase: it is the moment when your target discovers a problem or an opportunity and inquires.
- The consideration phase: at this stage, your audience has defined their problem and is looking for the best solutions for it.
- The decision phase: this is the time when your prospect knows their problem and knows how to fix it. All he has to do is figure out who to organize it with.
Your content should always be built around these 3 stages and help your prospects move to the next stage.
To achieve this, you’ll need to rely on 3 pillars: natural referencing, content marketing, and marketing automation.
But how are these 3 elements intertwined? How can you concretely implement such a strategy for your service provider company? This is what we will see now, simply by following the inbound marketing conversion funnel:
To effectively build such a strategy, you must first have clearly defined your audience and analyzed the different stages of your buying journey. To do this, rely on building Buyer Personas and create your content for them.
Next, you’ll need to set SMART goals. For them to help you run your business, they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and with deadlines.
With that done, we can get to the heart of the matter and see how to implement an inbound marketing strategy in 4 steps:
1. Attract visitors to your site and content
The first step is to drive traffic to your website and content. To do this, you have to rely on the pillars of content marketing and natural reference.
By creating a blog with educational articles that target a specific query and SEO strategy to gain search engine visibility, you will be able to generate significant traffic flow in the medium to long term.
But other traffic capture channels are possible and even recommended:
- Increase the visibility of your content through social networks
- Make your content stand out and instantly generate traffic with advertising. But instead of promoting an offer, highlight educational and instructional content.
2. Qualify visitors into leads
You must therefore qualify your visitors as a lead. In fact, visitors are unlikely to immediately convert to customers, given your field of business. You don’t sell products that are bought on impulse, but instead that take time to think.
You must retrieve at least one email address offering premium content exchanged for personal information. These premium content, called lead magnets, can be of any type: white papers, webinars, demonstrations, training videos …
To promote your lead magnets, use banners and pop-ups on the pages adapted according to the topics covered.
3. Nurture your potential customers
Once you have collected personal information about your visitors, you will need to work with marketing automation software.
Thanks to this tool you will be able to trigger scenarios that will automatically send a series of emails and other means of communication (SMS, publications, etc.) depending on the interests expressed by your prospects and the stage of the purchase path in which they are.
To find out where your prospects are on the shopping journey, you’ll have the ability to rate your prospects based on the interactions they’ve had with your content. For example: 5 points for reading a blog article, 20 points if they go to the pricing page, 10 points if they download a white paper… When a point threshold is reached, a scenario is automatically activated.
4. Turn your customers into brand ambassadors
Once you’ve converted a prospect into a customer, your work doesn’t stop there. We know how important word of mouth is in selling services. Make sure you provide high-value information on the use of your services, such as best practices, tutorials or case studies. Your customers will therefore be delighted with their experience with your company and will be the first ambassadors of your brand.
Also, this will be an opportunity to increase your average basket and to offer the other services you sell.
Then, by following such a strategy, you will be able to position yourself as a true expert in your field of business, lower your average cost per lead, and capitalize on a strategy with a long-term vision.
And you, how do you generate new online contacts?
About the author
Jonathan Rothe: founder of UpNet, a digital marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing