Reaching more prospects and finding new customers is the primary challenge of every small business. How to find them, how to get them to listen to your story and how to make them your customer.
Inbound marketing is an excellent solution. Inbound marketing can answer questions for prospects as they search the Internet. They are looking for solutions to their business and personal needs and wants. What’s the best buy in office furniture? Who has the part I need to fix my air compressor? Is this the right way to handle this accounting issue? Telling them about your products and services will provide the answer to their question.
Your products or services may likely be the solution to their problems. But you must describe them completely. You should start by explaining the ways your business is helping your existing customers. Continue by describing the way the new service you recently announced can solve other problems. Be descriptive, display products via video clips. Let customer testimonials convince your prospects that you are their solution provider.
Write your content in the language that your customers use when discussing their problems. It is easy to get caught up in the technical jargon that describes a product’s benefits. Focus on the customer’s needs and describe the benefits in the customer’s language. When you know your customer, you’ll be able to reach them using the words they use among themselves.
Knowing your new customers also involves knowing the social media sites where they spend time. Facebook has the most participants and is the most often accessed. It works best for businesses selling to consumers but is also used by B2B companies. In the last several years B2B companies have increasingly used LinkedIn. Now B2B’s use LinkedIn more widely than Facebook.
You should use a consistent look and presence as you create content. Think about how prospects will see your company. What is the tone of your writing? Do you appear as an expert? Whatever the case may be, you want your voice to be the same on every social media site and your website. You need to choose a base set of colors, type faces and images to represent your company. You want your customers and prospects to recognize the look and style of your company wherever you write. A consistent style will reinforce your message. It should be the same on your website, your social media sites, YouTube, your business card and all the places you advertise.
Inbound marketing is the first step in closing business
It’s meant to get new visitors to your page, answer their questions and build your company’s image. All these things are necessary in moving them toward buying your product or service.
The flow of prospects through your company’s sales channel is like the movement of fluid through a funnel. The wide end of the funnel catches as many prospects as possible. As their likelihood of buying from you increases, they move down the funnel. A few prospects fall out; you can’t be all things to all people. But new ones keep coming in the top. And as prospects become qualified they turn into customers and exit the funnel at the bottom.
Prospects’ information needs change as they travel through the funnel. Prospects find your website or Facebook page as they look for basic information. Your content should attract their attention. As their research continues, prospects want more detail and your inbound marketing must respond. Higher level pages have basic content but as the prospect drills down he is looking for more detail. Lower level pages must provide that detail. Images can help clarify information and lighten a page of text. Your prospect’s research helps him educate himself. It also qualifies your business as a viable vendor.
Include a call-to-action before the prospect moves on
While your prospect is browsing your pages invite him to request more information. You’ve worked hard on developing your information; don’t just give it away. Package it into a research paper; an e-book; an infographic, or a video and put it behind a call-to-action button. To get more detail your prospect has to give you something – his email address so that you know where to send the gift. When he gives up his email your site will capture it and store it for use in contacting him later in the funnel. You also will send him the gift you promised.
Like websites and social media sites, email should play a role in selling to your prospect. You will have gathered email addresses as a normal course of doing business. As visitors requested more detail about your products and services you will have gathered addresses. These addresses enable email marketing to be another tool in your content marketing. The copy you have created for other delivery means can also be a part of or attached to email. In fact, it makes sense to reuse content in all these media. Make your hard work pay off several times.
Ann Handley is the author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. In it she notes that “If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means we are all relying on our content to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.” http://annhandley.com/everybodywrites/
Use inbound marketing to help your prospects find you
When they find you, educate them on your company and your products and services. Once educated, pass this lead to a salesman to make them a customer.