Making Inbound and Content Marketing Work for You

Do inbound and content marketing mean the death of the salesman? There’s no doubt that the landscape of sales has changed dramatically over the last few years, with traditional tactics such as cold calling or door to door sales waning in popularity thanks to inbound marketing and the rise of content marketing. This is good news for customers, who can find what they want when they want it instead of fielding unwanted calls. It’s good news for businesses too, making it easier to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy. But where does that leave your business sales force? Is there a place for the salesman of old in the new landscape of inbound and content marketing and encouraging the customers to come to you? The answer is a resounding yes, if you employ some flexibility and make the best of both worlds.

Selling Has a New Face

Make no mistake about it, an important part of content and inbound marketing is driving sales, but in a more connected and less pushy way. Good inbound marketing acknowledges that increasingly more people are looking online for what they want and that your job is to have useful, engaging content ready for them when they reach you.

Good quality content and well planned inbound marketing don’t replace sales – they help to drive them. By giving your visitors the information they want, you are encouraging them to do business with you. That’s where inbound marketing and traditional sales meet.

A Warm Welcome and Useful Follow Up

Inbound marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, part of your marketing plan should be to foster good connections with your customers by giving them a strong sense of your brand’s personality and the people behind your online presence. A welcoming presence that makes your customer feel valued is a key part of any marketing, inbound or outbound. As well as in your content itself, consider how you can generate that feeling when following up on leads generated by your inbound marketing efforts.

Engaging with customers who have shown strong interest in your content means utilizing your sales force to talk directly to people who are already interested in what you have to sell. By looking at the content that piqued their interest, your sales force can start a conversation that hones in on a customer’s immediate problems, concerns and needs.

Invite Your Customers and Be Ready When They Arrive

Instead of seeing your marketing and selling departments as separate, it’s time to realize that the two can offer each other valuable insight. Your marketing department understands your customers and can craft the content that will invite them to your digital doorstep. Your sales department understands how to qualify leads and how to talk to your customers to hone in on their needs, figure out how you can help, and close the sale.

By working together, your marketing and sales people can formulate a cohesive strategy for catching the attention of customers who are looking for just what you are selling, and communicating clearly with them when they arrive. You’ll still be selling, but in a much more focused and responsive way that is better for you and your customers.

9 Ways to Keep Leads and Prospects Engaged

Sometimes the usual phone call or email is just the complete wrong way to follow-up with leads.  While tempting, keep in mind that you may catch them at a bad time, lead them to feeling like they’re “being sold,” or have them ask you to stop attempting altogether.  How can you spark action and interest into that lead without a hard sell?  Simple!  Here are 9 types of information you can send to your leads to keep their attention:

Recorded Webinars

Webinars are a convenient way of educating a large audience with minimal costs associated.  What is also great about them is that they can be recorded!  If you’re going to deliver a great presentation that highlights your expertise, make the most of it by saving the recording and using it as a sales tool for future leads and inquiries.

Recorded Sales Demonstrations

In sales, you may come across a situation where you have to deliver multiple demos for the same company before you can close the deal.  While every point of contact is an opportunity to get closer to the lead, make sure they don’t forget you (and can show you off to colleagues) by sending them a recorded demo.  That way, they can refer back to it at their convenience and never forget the greatest parts of your software. For example, check out our drag-and-drop demo for our mobile website builder, iFlyMobi!

Digital Company Brochures

If you have a fantastic printed brochure, turn the original PDF file of it into an electronic sales tool!  It’s a great way to sum up all of your company’s benefits and services into one well-designed package, and your leads can then save it on their desktop.  Be sure to share this via a software that handles electronic fulfullment so that you have a history record of sending it.

eBooks

Educate your audience with an enticing eBook that includes interesting facts about your audience’s pain points, and the solutions to those problems.  You can subtly promote your services and products within them, but have this eBook act as a reminder to all that you’re the answer to their problems.  Take a look at our eBook, “Guide to Selling Marketing Services” for inspiration.

Videos

Position yourself as the expert by giving tips, best practices, and a summary of services in 1-2 minute video clips.  Send this along to your prospects as a conversation starter, and let them get to know you through creative videos.

Podcasts

If you have team members who are fantastic speakers, podcasts may be the best approach to take when trying to capture their knowledge.  You can get away with longer podcast sessions as opposed to videos because the listener can listen in the car, at their desk over lunch, or on their morning run. Invite educational guests and keep folks coming back monthly for more knowledge!

Infographics

If you have a great graphic design team, and some captivating statistics, highlight both of these resources in an infographic (like this one).  They’re interesting, fun to look at, and share-worthy.  You can share information about the industries your target audiences are in, how you have increased success for clients, or how you’re keeping up with new technologies.

Service and Product Sell Sheets

Perhaps your leads don’t need the entire brochure, all they may want is a one-pager that goes over key benefits of one service or product they may be interested in.  Think real estate; they’ve mastered the 1 page sell. What’s great about having electronic sales sheets of your various offerings is that you can send a mixture of them depending on what your lead needs, and not clutter up their mind with too many ancillary services that don’t suit them.

Surveys

This sales tool is beneficial for two big reasons.  If you deliver a survey with weighted questions, you can customize the end results of what the survey would say based on the lead’s answers.  It also helps you qualify the lead in finding out what type of offerings would best fit their needs.

The bottom line?

The sales process doesn’t always have to be direct.  Take more of an inbound marketing approach and let them come to you. Sometimes the best way to keep the conversation going is to send educational and informative materials that will captivate your leads and get them excited about what you have to say so when they are ready, they come to the expert first (pssst…that’ll be you!)

Related Posts:

Need a reminder of these great tips? Print this handy cheat sheet:

3 Website Resolutions for 2013

Your website is the most important marketing tool you have. Period. 2013 will be the year you fully embrace that, if you haven’t already.

Gone are the days of polishing up your brick and mortar storefront, or taking out that full page ad in the local paper. What once were staples of your marketing are now obsolete. Your domain is the most precious gem in your marketing chest, and it’s time to let it shine.

If you haven’t bought into your website being the crown jewel of your empire, here are 4 tips to get you on track for the new year.

1. Leads on Every Page

It’s difficult to predict where your site visitors will land. You can use analytics to narrow it down, but you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket either. Every page and subpage on your site should be just as strong as the next. What you cannot predict is what may spur a prospect into action. A sale can begin on any page, and you can capture that by employing strong calls to action and data-capturing tools.

Every page should have the capability to bring in new leads. This can be with a White Paper download, a free audit, a webinar registration page – the possibilities are endless.

2. Integrate Social Media

We’ve been preaching this forever. But a strong social media presence is only as effective as what it is linking back to. If your website is, for lack of a better term, lame, why on Earth would someone click a link on Twitter to see it? Perhaps you already have been using social media and not seeing the results you wanted. Your website may be to blame.

3. Responsive Web

Responsive web design is a relatively new term for a fantastically intuitive concept. My boss, John Foley, talked all about it in one of his recent posts. Responsive web, simply, is the idea that your experience as a viewer should retain consistency across all platforms. If you are reading a blog post on your laptop, it should look similar in theme and layout on an iPhone, tablet, desktop, etc.

For more information on web design and how we can help, read more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Webinar Announcement: 5 Best Practices For Inbound Marketing

On Thursday, December 13, at 2:00 pm EST, Tom Barry and myself (Lou Cimaglia) will be hosting a webinar entitled, “5 Best Practices of Inbound Marketing – And How Grow Socially Can Help.”

Register Today!

 

Date: Thursday, December 13

Time: 2:00 pm to 2:40 pm EST

Who: Sales Executive Tom Barry and Content Marketer Lou Cimaglia

Topics covered will include:

  • How to turn your website into a lead-generating machine
  • Creating engaging and original content and boosting your SEO
  • Next generation and responsive web development and design
  • Strategic outbound marketing, email marketing and social media
  • The importance of analytics

Register Here!

List of Graph Expo Speaking Engagements

Graph Expo 2012 Logo: interlinkONE and Grow Socially are exhibiting at this event, and our CEO John Foley, Jr. is delivering multiple presentations.

Graph Expo 2012 is just around the corner! In addition to exhibiting at Booth #’s 1071 and 1072 in the Marketing Pavilion, we also have the privilege of delivering a number of speaking engagements at the show.

We’d love to see you there!  We promise that we’ll sharing a lot of valuable information.

Event: Executive Outlook

Date: Saturday, October 6th
Time: 4:45 PM to 5:30 PM
Title: Integrating Social Media into your Marketing Mix
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More information >>

Event: Educational Seminar

Date: Monday, October 8th
Time: 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Title: Mastering the Triad: Social Media, SEO, and Your Website
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More information >>

Event: Marketing Pavilion Theater

Date: Monday, October 8th
Time: 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Title: Social Media for the Printing Industry: Strategies, Tactics, and Tips to Help You Grow
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More Information >>

Event: Global Channel Partners Summit

Date: Monday, October 8th
Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Title: How Social Media Works in Channel Sales
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More Information >>

Event: Canon Booth Presentation

Date: Tuesday, October 9th
Time: 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Title: Content anywhere, Implementing a Cross Media Strategy
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More Information Coming Soon >>

Event: Marketing Pavilion Theater

Date: Tuesday, October 9th
Time: 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Title: 5 Ways to Generate More Leads from your Website
Presenter: Jason Pinto
More Information >>

Event: Educational Seminar

Date: Tuesday, October 9th
Time: 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Title: The Cloud and Mobile Demystified: Good For YOUR Business
Presenter: John Foley, Jr.
More Information >>

If you have any questions about these events, or anything else regarding Graph Expo, please contact our team today!