Mass marketing techniques are no longer as effective as they used to be especially when it comes to selling to schools. Your prospective customers now decide for themselves what to buy, who to buy from and whether they want to be advertised to or not. And that’s why more and more businesses are moving towards inbound marketing.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a method for enticing customers to your products/services by making use of content marketing, social media, search engine optimisation (SEO) and strong branding.
So effectively, instead of constantly advertising your service/product, you focus on creating valuable content that answers your prospective customers’ questions and solves their problems. This means when it’s time to buy, they’re more likely to come to you as you’re being seen as the market expert.
4 benefits of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is so much more beneficial than traditional advertising and marketing methods, and we want to share the top benefits of this that we’ve found by using an inbound marketing strategy at Ambleglow.
- It costs you less – mass marketing costs a lot of money, I’m sure you’re aware of this. Think about how much it costs to send a whole run of postal letters out for example. Plus, the future is digital, so these traditional marketing tactics are quickly losing effectiveness. With a more focused marketing strategy, using inbound marketing, you’ll be spending less and seeing a higher ROI. And ultimately, that’s the goal, isn’t it?
- Customers come to you – by creating helpful and trustworthy content online, your customers will most likely find you when they’re doing their own research. As we all know how much research goes into big purchases these days, especially by schools.
- Quality traffic and leads – this isn’t all about creating brand awareness, it’s about bringing in the right leads for your business. By using inbound marketing, you’re creating a more targeted approach, which means you’re able to attract leads who’re more likely to be interested in your product/service.
- Opportunity to improve – a big part of inbound marketing is social listening. You’ll want to keep your finger on the pulse of conversations being had about your business and competitors on social media and, as a result, further improve your output.
Creating an inbound marketing plan
There are so many options when it comes to creating your inbound marketing plan. But when you’re doing this, you want to get it right, especially as you’re dealing with schools.
Creating an inbound marketing plan involves looking at and getting to know the inbound methodology which we’re going to talk through now. The three stages of the inbound methodology are Attract, Engage and Delight.
The first stage is about attracting prospective customers and making sure they’re aware of your brand and what it is that you offer. This mainly involves creating content that offers these prospective customers value and, more importantly, making sure they’re seeing this content.
Did you know it takes an average of 6-8 touch points before anyone considers buying a product? So make sure you’re hitting them with content from lots of different directions.
Here are the three main avenues you can take for this:
- Content creation – creating engaging and useful content and then promoting it on the appropriate channels is the most effective way to attract potential leads. Content can include blogs, videos, infographics, success stories and downloadable resources.
- SEO – once you’ve created all this fabulous content, you need to optimise it for search engines, such as Google, so it shows up when your audience is looking for it.
- Social media – social posts and engagement should be an important part of your inbound marketing strategy. As with SEO, it offers huge amounts of visibility for your content.
Now it’s time to engage with these prospective customers by offering insights that align with their goals so they are more likely to buy from you. Here are three popular tactics used for engaging with leads:
- Landing pages – your landing page is what a potential lead sees when they land on your website from social media, for example. You need to optimise these pages to encourage visitors to do something whether that be subscribing to your newsletter, filling out a contact form or downloading your resource.
- Calls-to-action (CTA) – make sure your CTA is relevant to the text and destination. CTAs should ideally be placed multiple times on a lead generation page to drive more conversions. They should also have a compelling design, encouraging visitors to take the action that you’re promoting.
- Email marketing – one of the most effective ways to engage with your leads is through email. When prospective customers subscribe to your email list, this means they want to hear from you. That means you have to continue providing them with insightful information and offering them solutions to their pain points.
Inbound marketing is not just about getting customers. It’s about making these customers happy so that they turn into promoters of your product/service. The happier your customers are, the more likely they’ll be to leave brilliant reviews and offer positive word-of-mouth.
The objective of the delight stage is ultimately to attract more visitors and potential customers to your business through your existing customers. Here’s how you can delight your customers:
- Live webinars – webinars are a great way to engage with your customers and keep them updated with interesting news and your latest products/services. You can also host Q&A sessions which are extremely popular.
- Customer service – there’s nothing worse than purchasing a product, having an issue and not being able to get it resolved. Making sure your customer service is spot on is so important, especially when it comes to schools.
- Social listening – we mentioned earlier how important social listening is and we’ve written a whole blog for you about how important it is for your business.
- Surveys – if your customers aren’t leaving reviews on their own, just ask. Reach out via email or social media to ask for their feedback on how to improve your services for their benefit.
Inbound marketing is all about letting your customers come to you instead of hounding them with endless emails and letters. It may seem like a mammoth task to get started on, but trust us when we say – it’ll be so worth it!
And, as always, if you need help setting up a solid inbound marketing strategy for your business, just get in touch.