One of the classic lines from the movie “Field of Dreams” is “If you build it, they will come”. Now, this is one of my favorite movies, but sadly when it comes to digital marketing, this is just not true.
But there are some things that you can do to your inbound marketing approach that will help drive qualified traffic to your website that, if nurtured properly, will lead to sales. We are going to walk through all of that today.
Why “If You Build It, They Will Come” Isn’t True For Inbound Marketing
So let me qualify my statement above as to why this common wisdom of “if you build it, they will come” simply doesn’t hold in marketing.
As of 2020, there are over 2 billion blogs on the internet. That means there’s approximately one blog for every seven people on the planet. Additionally, every minute, tons and tons of content is being uploaded to social media channels.
As you can see from the above infographic provided by GO-Globe, there is a tremendous amount of content that is constantly being produced online. Essentially what it comes down to is that your content is a needle in a stack of needles. Need more proof? With every breath you inhale, there are about four hours of content uploaded to YouTube. So don’t get too excited thinking your video is going to go viral — it takes a combination of being very special and very lucky to achieve that.
Are you starting to understand why you need better tools to transform your inbound marketing efforts? An inbound marketing strategy that gets people to come to you requires understanding that marketing is both an art and a science. Let’s unpack what I mean by that and what you need to effectively generate, nurture, and convert leads into raving fans of you and your brand.
Why Successful Marketing Is Both an Art and a Science
What this image shows is our unique process that we developed over the past 21 years. What you need to focus on first is your website. Your website needs to be built for thought leadership. People buy from people they like, know, and trust.
How do people get to know you? First, you have to establish yourself as a thought leader. What is a thought leader? It’s someone who:
- Consistently communicates
- Offers guidance and insight
- Is seen as an authority in their field
- Shares new ideas
- Shows that their product, service, or approach is innovative
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey As Part of Inbound Marketing
If you want to figure out an inbound marketing strategy where potential customers come to you, you have to understand that when they come to you, they’ll be in a variety of different places in what we call a buyer’s journey, which we break down into three parts:
- Awareness. The buyer becomes aware that they have a problem.
- Consideration. The buyer defines their problem and considers options to solve it.
- Decision. The buyer evaluates and decides on the right provider to administer the solution.
Ideally, you’d hope a potential customer finds you in the awareness stage, and then you can nurture them through consideration and finally into making a decision. But sometimes, they’ve already started the journey with someone else, and then they find you somewhere near the consideration or decision stages when they’re doing their due diligence.
What’s important for you here is the idea that you need to develop content and thought leadership that applies to all three areas. It’s very important that you don’t just create what I call “Me Too!” content. You need to think hard and develop your unique selling proposition, with emphasis on the word unique. What do you bring to the market that distinguishes you from everybody else? What do you have that no one else does?
A common answer I see is “customer service.” But everybody says that. You have to lay out the details of why your approach to customer service is innovative.
How To Start With a Wide-Net Approach
The next thing you’ll want to do is develop what we call a “wide net approach.” This is basically when you’ll start to generate leads through SEO (not a guarantee), social media, and maybe paid advertising. That’s how you’ll try to generate people coming to your website. Those are the three main avenues, with email marketing being a possible fourth, although building a list can be hard.
You want to be very clear about how customers are coming to you in the awareness stage. If you build a content-based SEO approach, you have to know that this takes a long time compared to a more expensive approach like paid advertising, which is disruptive marketing. That means that instead of customers waiting around to see your content or ad, your ad comes to them, disrupting their usual pattern.
What Are Top Tips To Drive Traffic Successfully?
You may be asking, “How do I drive traffic to my website successfully?” Here are a few steps to consider:
Step 1: How will you generate traffic?
You have a few options for traffic sources:
- SEO (takes more time)
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Paid ads, paid social, Google, or programmatic ads (most expensive, but quickest)
Step 2: What software or approach do you have for nurturing customers down the funnel?
Nurturing past the awareness stage and into the consideration stage is probably the most neglected part of inbound marketing. In the ideal sense, you want to set up two different levels of engagement in the consideration stage.
Get customers into an automated platform like HubSpot with the ability to get a cookie on their computer to track them, and use an automation platform to nurture them once they download a piece of content.
One of the best ways to nurture is by having a potential customer download an offer or request a consultation and then begin a drip email campaign which, in stages, provides information about your product or service such as:
- Overview, features, and benefits
- Cost of procrastination
- Testimonials and case studies
- Next steps or related offers like a newsletter
Slippage campaigns are also a type of drip email campaign that can be set up when you sense potential customers have dropped off. This piece of inbound marketing can win their attention back and get them re-engaged with your content by addressing:
- Common objections
- Pain points
- Highlights from previous features and benefits presentations
With any kind of drip email campaign, the messaging has to fit hand in glove with their pain points. If a potential customer is hedging about purchasing your product or service due to cost, you can push messaging that talks about the cost of procrastination, etc.
Creating Compelling Decision-Level Content
Decision-level content is used when a customer has weighed their options and they’ve basically narrowed it down to you and a competitor. This is where you want to create “us vs. them” content to really differentiate yourself. This content can include:
- Competitive advantages
- What you offer that is better than your competitors
- Answering very narrow and specific questions
- Features/benefits compared to doing nothing at all
Putting It All Together For A Killer Inbound Marketing Strategy
So there you have it, that’s how inbound marketing works. At the end of the day, you have to make data-driven decisions about all these stages. It’s not enough to live out the mantra of “If you build it, they will come,” because chances are they won’t. You won’t hit home run after home run and you’re lying to yourself if you think your content will automatically go viral or speed through the buyer’s journey.
When you create really great content, analytics will be key to knowing what’s working and what’s not so you can re-optimize content if necessary. To reduce death-by-data, a dashboard like HubSpot can tell you how many visits you’ve had compared to your goals, how many leads you’ve had compared to your goals, and how many clients you’ve converted compared to your goals. You can break this down by platform.
By year two or three after establishing this strategy, you’ll see what channels work best for your content and can double down on the areas that work while scaling back parts that don’t. When you figure out your secret sauce to what it takes to make a sale or gain a client, you can use your database to push new potential customers down the funnel in a more efficient way.
A Team-Based Approach to Digital Marketing
Instead of hiring a team of expensive, full-time marketers, we recommend that you use a team-based approach for your digital marketing. A team-based approach grants you access to a large team of experienced marketers without the cost associated with comparable full-time employees. This lets you reap the benefits of having a full-time marketing department while saving at least 40% compared to any traditional marketing alternative.
Hopefully, we’ve set you on a path to dispelling the myth of ”If you build it, they will come” when it comes to your marketing efforts. We hope that we’ve energized you to take action. If you have any questions about putting together a comprehensive marketing system, reach out with any questions or to learn more about our unique approach.