Step 13 of a digital strategy: inbound marketing & lead generation

An inbound marketing and lead generation strategy allows you to filter quality traffic and leads generated through your business’ website. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting new leads for your business through offers, whereas inbound marketing is providing them with valuable experiences and content.

Inbound marketing focuses on adding value to the customer venturing through the buyer’s journey. The first initial stage of the inbound marketing strategy is establishing your business’ key personas.

Once you have identified the ideal customer that you want to target, you can implement your inbound marketing strategy. To ensure the success of your strategy, there are multiple stages that should be of focus:

  • Awareness;
  • Consideration;
  • Decision;
  • Nurture;
  • Evangelise.

During the awareness stage, your customer becomes aware that they have a problem that they can’t immediately solve. Your content should start to surface as they begin researching their problem (via Google), or if your target audience is specific enough, you can seek to pre-empt their ‘awareness’ by pushing your highly relevant message on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Working the funnel into your digital planning

Your awareness content should be focused on your target customer’s pain-point – addressing their issue but providing no solution. This is your chance to develop a relationship with the customer by putting them at the forefront and demonstrating that you understand their problem. The content part of this stage can then be pushed effectively to these potential customers via your website, social media and content strategy.

Next, is the consideration stage, where the customer has clearly defined their problem and has begun researching and considering potential solutions. For businesses, this is where you can begin to soft sell one or more of your offerings that can provide a solution to their problem.

During this phase, there is an opportunity for you to begin a lead generation strategy. To do this, you can use offers (discounts, free consultations, downloadable content) to capture information (email, contact number, interests, etc.) about the customer. You can then use this information throughout the remainder of the buyer’s journey and for further marketing and remarketing campaigns.

The third phase of the buyer’s funnel is the decision stage. At this point, you are sure that the customer is in the purchasing mindset, as they have defined their problem and considered the various options available to them. As such, you can be firmer with your communication and the selling of your offering provided that it solved the customer’s initial problem.

For the customer to be considered a true conversion, they must make a purchase (if you are e-commerce driven) or completion of a form that demonstrates a definitive intention to purchase (typically by facilitating the sale offline). This can be done with well-positioned forms and Call-to-Actions (CTAs), clear messaging and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

Inbound marketing is all about understanding your customer and this should continue after purchase. Conversion offers many additional data-points and pieces of information that allow you to understand your customer even better – what products they’re interested in, complimentary products and product expiration dates or renewals.

Following the conversion, it’s important you continue to nurture the customer with offers and value-adding content. Surveys are also recommended for this stage of the funnel. This is classified as the nurturing stage.

The final step of the inbound marketing process is evangelised. Here, you need to provide your converted customers that you have nurtured into real fans with materials that allow them to spread the word about your company and the services you offer. This is crucial to your company’s organic growth and brand authority positioning.

Putting together the pieces of the funnel

Along with completing the marketing funnel with relevant content and advertisements, an automation strategy can also be executed. This should be launched in conjunction with your inbound marketing and lead generation strategy.

Automation is the process of automating certain digital actions to create unique and personalised experiences for your customers in real time. Through these automated events, you can draw additional customer insight and assist the conversion of your leads. Personalised email automation, alerts and tracking for certain actions users take on your website, can make up part of your automation strategy.

This can also be done alongside a lead scoring strategy. Leading scoring is a method used to rank customers against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the business.

Lead scoring allows you to identify your most engaged and profitable customers. It also provides you with an insight into the actions they take across your website and email marketing assets.

By developing this knowledge, it allows you to then target these engaged customers with tailored and personalised content and offers, as a gateway to conversion. It also gives you an opportunity to provide them with a V.I.P experience to develop loyalty and evangelism between your business and their needs, wants and desires.

Overall, an executed inbound marketing and lead generation strategy should work in correspondence with a content marketing strategy and an overarching digital strategy. By conjoining the two strategies, it helps generate and filter the quality of leads that are generated through your business’ digital platforms, while also increasing lead conversion rates.

By committing to inbound marketing and lead generation, it also allows you to identify who your most engaged and profitable customers are through a lead scoring strategy. By doing this, it allows you to be more direct with the customers with a more personalised experience with your business.

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