Whether you are a freelancer, consultant, independent trainer or chartered accountant, inbound marketing is the digital strategy best suited to your field of activity. Why ? Because the sales cycle for your services is relatively long and responds to complex issues, requiring your customers to inquire and inform themselves to find the solution best suited to their needs. However, all these online searches are an incredible opportunity for you to make yourself seen by providing useful and relevant information and to demonstrate your expertise. But how to deploy such a strategy? That’s what we find out now.
Inbound marketing, a B to B oriented strategy
The principle of inbound marketing is to find new customers by providing them with the right content at the right time according to the different stages of the buying journey in which they are.
Unlike traditional marketing, it’s about being visible to your audience through relevant and useful content that can allow your prospects to move forward in their thinking and the buying journey.
Indeed, the B to B sales cycle takes place in 3 main stages:
- The discovery phase: it is the moment when your target discovers a problem or an opportunity and inquires about it.
- The consideration phase: at this stage, your audience has defined its problem and is looking for the best solutions for it.
- The decision-making phase: this is the moment when your prospect knows his problem and knows how to solve it. All he has to do is figure out who to set it up with.
Your content should always be built around these 3 phases and help your prospects move on to the next phase.
To achieve this, you will have to rely on 3 pillars: natural referencing, content marketing and marketing automation.
But how are these 3 elements intertwined together? How can you concretely implement such a strategy for your service provider company? This is what we are going to see now, simply by following the inbound marketing conversion funnel:
To effectively build such a strategy, you must first have clearly defined your audience and analyze the different stages of your buying journey. To do this, rely on the construction of buyer personas and create your content for them.
Next, you will need to set SMART goals. In order for them to help you manage your activity, they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and time-bound.
Once this is done, we can get to the heart of the matter and see how to deploy an inbound marketing strategy in 4 steps:
1. Attract visitors to your site and your content
The first step is to drive traffic to your website and content. To do this, you must rely on the pillars of content marketing and natural referencing.
By creating a blog with educational articles that target a specific query and an SEO strategy to gain visibility on search engines, you will be able to generate a significant flow of traffic in the medium to long term.
But other traffic acquisition channels are possible and even recommended:
- Increase the visibility of your content through social networks
- Highlight your content and immediately generate traffic with advertising. But rather than promoting an offer, you highlight educational and instructive content.
2. Qualify visitors into leads
You then need to qualify your visitors as leads. Indeed, it is unlikely that visitors will convert immediately into customers given your field of activity. You do not sell products that are bought on impulse, but on the contrary that require time for reflection.
You must recover at least one email address by offering premium content that you exchange for personal information. These premium content, called lead magnets, can be of any kind: white papers, webinars, demonstrations, video training…
To promote your lead magnets, use banners and pop-ups on the pages adapted according to the subjects covered.
3. Nurture your prospects
Once you have collected personal information about your visitors, you will need to work with marketing automation software.
Thanks to such a tool, you will be able to trigger scenarios that will automatically send a series of emails and other means of communication (SMS, publications, etc.) depending on the interests expressed by your prospects and the phase of the buying journey in which they are located.
To find out where your prospects are in the buying journey, you will have the option of rating your prospects based on the interactions they have had with your content. For example: 5 points for reading a blog article, 20 points if they go to the pricing page, 10 points if they download a white paper… When a point threshold is reached, a scenario is automatically triggered.
4. Turn your customers into brand ambassadors
Once you’ve converted a prospect into a customer, your work doesn’t stop there. We know how important word of mouth is when selling services. Make sure to provide information with high added value on the use of your services, such as best practices, tutorials or case studies. Your customers will then be delighted with their experience with your company and will be the first ambassadors of your brand.
In addition, this will be an opportunity for you to increase your average basket and to offer the other services that you sell.
Thus, by following such a strategy, you will be able to position yourself as a true expert in your field of activity, lower the average cost per lead and capitalize on a strategy with a long-term view.
And you, how do you generate new leads online?
About the Author
Jonathan Rothe: Founder of UpNet, digital marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing