Inbound marketing seems impractical to some people. We’re all so used to the traditional model in which you reach out to the customer and try to catch their eye. As a result, people have learned to associate outbound marketing methods with results. However, this is more a function of the fact that outbound marketing has been more popular than inbound marketing in the past. Now, however, it’s time to change the paradigm.
Paradigm changes are something that Stephen Covey talks about in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. According to Covey, it’s important to change the way you think about something before you can expect it to have an effect in the outside world. You can’t just change your outward behavior and expect things to change. You have to change from the inside out.
He gives the example of a man who enters a subway carriage with a number of children who are constantly making noise and disturbing people. Everyone is upset with the man who is making no effort to control them, until they realize that his wife just passed away in the hospital. Once you understand this fact, your whole attitude towards the man changes. Annoyance turns into sympathy. A paradigm shift occurs. Covey suggests that a paradigm shift can also occur in the business world.
A Paradigm Shift in Marketing
People used to believe that in order to get new customers, you had to get in people’s faces and make them aware of your product or brand. However, the recent success of inbound marketing, which works in the opposite way, is leading into a paradigm shift as far as marketing is concerned.
Think about it from your own point of view. Do you like watching ads on television? So many people are starting to download TV shows or just watching Netflix because they don’t want to be bothered with advertising. Many also have ad-blockers installed on their computers so that they don’t have to look at ads while browsing the internet.
We’ve all become very resistant to advertising, probably because we’ve seen so much of it. You can’t go anywhere nowadays without being surrounded by billboards, print ads and TV ads. In this way, advertising has intruded into our homes, our workplaces and even our commutes.
The Authenticity in Inbound Marketing
The reason why inbound marketing appeals so much more to people is because it doesn’t get in their faces. It’s not intrusive; it’s subtle. And the way in which the customer becomes aware of the product smacks of authenticity.
In the inbound marketing paradigm, people learn about a certain product or service through a series of coincidences. A friend might recommend that product or service in person. Or a friend might recommend it on social media. Or your favorite blogger might mention that product or service.
People are constantly surrounded by media sources like newspapers, magazines, the internet etc. They might hear about the product or service via one of these sources. Customer testimonials from a neutral website can also make a person want to look up that product or service.
So there are many ways in which we might hear about a product or service. And we’re more likely to trust these recommendations because no one was paid in order to give them to us. Our friends aren’t getting money to recommend products or services to us. And if a blogger or media source is trustworthy, then they won’t accept money to endorse products either. So there’s a sense of authenticity about these sources, which we come to trust.
How to Convert Inbound Leads with Honesty
The beauty of inbound marketing lies in the fact that a customer is already leaning towards trusting your product or service by the time they look you up. There’s no persuasion involved, at least not in that first step. And if you’re smart, you’ll take advantage of this fact and continue in the same vein.
What this means is that you need to continue to be honest with your customer. Rather than trying to persuade them to buy your product or service, provide them with the information they need to make up their own minds. Don’t try to force someone who doesn’t need your product or service to buy it. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
This is a mistake that many salesmen make with their customers. It makes more sense to expend all your energy on someone who really needs your product, not someone who doesn’t have any use for it. However, salesmen tend to put the same amount of energy into all their sales, when they should be focusing more on some and less on others.
When it comes to converting your inbound marketing leads, you also have to take a customer-centered approach. Think about what exactly is going to be best for your customer. Should they buy one of your products or avail of one of your services? Or would another one be better? Do they require an all-around solution or just something to solve one particular problem? When the customer comes to your website, all these options should be laid out clearly for them.
Making the Customer’s Life Easier
The customer should learn as much as possible about your solutions without being plied with jargon. Jargon is the number one thing that tends to people off. This is especially true when it comes to the IT field. Most people aren’t going to be familiar with IT terms, so if you keep using them in an effort to sound more professional or impressive, you’re going to be doing yourself a disservice.
What people really want to know is how using your IT solution is going to benefit them. And they really want to know whether it’s going to be simple to use, because training a lot of people to use a software can be incredibly difficult. So it’s important to make sure that the customer feels like investing in your product or service is going to make their life easier rather than more difficult.
Practice Human-to-Human Marketing
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution that will help you to convert inbound leads. However, if you make your customer a priority and focus on finding them the solutions that will benefit them the most, you’re likely to increase your sales as well.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you’re dealing with a person on the other end. That person isn’t just someone who may or may not buy your product but a living, breathing human being who also has other interests. That person belongs to a certain age group, lives in a certain geographic location and might even belong to a certain subculture. They’re going to have their own likes and dislikes. So people who come to your website are not just “inbound leads” or “traffic.” They’re not even just customers. They’re much more rounded than that.
So it’s a good idea to have a profile of your customer, to know them inside out and to approach them with the idea of helping them. If this sounds too difficult, try to think about what you would like to see if you were in their place. And then develop your online presence based on the things you come up with. This technique is nowadays referred to as human-to-human marketing which is a better way of thinking about things than just B2B marketing (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer).
Contact us for more great ways to convert inbound leads