Inbound Marketing is simply the process of building relationships with those who engage with your business.
If we think of our customers as dollar signs and not as people we will have a more difficult time being sincere to the very people who make our business successful. They are our lifeblood. Any success in our business will come directly from them. They will be drawn to us and allow for the opportunity to engage with them (think conversation) and build a growing thriving relationship.
Ultimately these relationships will provide the opportunity to effect their lives positively while growing your businesses.
When we care enough about our clients or customers we should take the time and energy to know them as well as possible and in return know about us and our business offerings to gauge if this is a right fit. By engaging with them in fruitful ways this will also give the insight you need to…
- Guide them to resolve their needs.
- Which content to create for communicating with them effectively.
- Which service, products and/or promotions you should offer to be a benefit to them.
- You’ll also begin to understand the types of the conversations you’ll have.
- You’ll begin to understand the best ways to communicate and how often.
- How to effectively, and maybe effortlessly sale a product or service, and then how to best serve them over time.
This relational process for inbound marketing can also help you determine what you should have in place to accomplish what is needed. For example, which content is most effective in building the relationship?, what product or service should you offer?, and which process and personnel work best to service them?, etc.
We’ll talk about conversion next because Inbound Marketing and Converting leads to relationships are so intertwined. However, before moving on let’s break Inbound Marketing into phases:
1. Attract New Relationships
Building the right relationship by drawing people with purposeful content and on-going conversations in turn give you the opportunity to advise and meet their needs.
2. Engage Those Relationships
The ability to know your client or customer so well you can provide correct solutions to eliminate pain points and accomplish their goals.
3. Wow Your Relationships
On-going conversations which help, service and support relationships provide for their success and yours.
Content is one of the best ways to attract and solidify relationships in your business. There are many types of content to offer in a variety of ways. You do not have to offer or provide everything. You can easily overwhelm yourself. This is where understanding your clients and customers will help you decide how to spend your time and what resources you should offer.
Here is a list of content types you can utilize:
- Blog Articles
- Videos offering training and information
- Social Media Posts
- Case Studies
- White Papers
Choose one or two to start and then commit as much to the process and end result as you can. Keeping in mind how to best communicate and the relationships you are striving to start and grow.
Conversion is when you bear the fruit of your lead nurturing efforts, the content you’ve created, promotions you offered, and the many on-going conversations gleaned from your inbound marketing process.
But wait there’s more…
Sometimes we often think converting leads is all there is to reaping the harvest of growing a business. Using our fruit growing analogy, I think of it more as the art of refining relationships. When you convert leads into customers/clients this tells us to much more of a degree that we’re attracting, engaging and wowing people. Converting also begins to educate us even about how we can increase our effectiveness in helping those we serve or sell products to. These relationships move from more of a casual friendship to a deeper connection. To do this we must dig deeper and nurture in more effective and efficient ways.
Here is a list sampling of some of the questions we can begin to answer:
- Do I know enough about [insert your customer/client’s name here]?
- How can assist in the most efficient way?
- Am I specifically being helpful enough?
- Are there any hiccups or challenges that I need to address?
- Are there additional products or services that we can create and offer?
These are some basic questions and no doubt there will be other questions that come about when we listen and analyze more closely the converting process. You’ll begin to see similarities in the relationships you have and also understand each person’s uniqueness along the way as well.
Think of the entire process of inbound marketing and conversions as a journey. Everything you’re doing and learning will make you better. Also remember that your customer or client is also on a journey. Some call this a “funnel”. Use whatever terminology works best for you and even create your own name or system to make it effective for you.
A key point is that this journey has less of a distinct start and endpoint.
Inbound Marketing and Conversion and the relationships that are formed is about knowing. Who’s getting value from your resources. Who’s winning. How can I assist even more.
This brings us to a final realization that happens throughout this journey.
Implement ways to gather data or information about these relationships and how they align with your own business growth goals. Even the relationships that never take off. This gathered information needs to be collected and measured so you know if you are being effective and if your investment is tangible.
- Are the relationships benefitting your sales?
- Are you valuing your time and resources to best assist you, your business growth and the relationships you have?
- Is there anything I can do to improve?
The goal is rewarding relationships that grow your business and fulfill your passions. Not to try and make do with relationships that will take more out of you then you can provide. You can only effectively nurture if you are being nurtured yourself.
By starting to answer these questions with data-backed answers, you’ll eliminate the guessing. The information you’ve gathered will make you stronger and better and more successful. You’ll begin to see if there are new opportunities to explore or better ways to streamline your efforts while providing even better solutions for those you’ve built relationships with.
As technology and online experiences continues to offer new ways to communicate and engage with people we too will have the knowledge and experience to evolve.
My hope is that the ultimate question you’ll ask yourself throughout the process of inbound marketing, conversion, and information gathering: How can I develop the best relationships possible so we ALL call succeed?