Do you like intrusive ads and pushy sales pitches? Yeah, we thought not. Your customers don’t either. If you’re wondering how to generate quality leads for your business, outbound marketing is out and inbound marketing has taken the lead.
Outbound marketing means you’re shoving ads in front of people without any indication they might be interested. People put up defenses against it and tune it out.
Inbound marketing means sharing content that your customer finds valuable in ways that they welcome. You aren’t calling them to “Buy Now!” but you are inviting them to learn something useful or participate in interaction with you or others like them.
“Every 60 seconds, 300 hours of video were being uploaded to YouTube and 347,222 Tweets were being sent, to name just two content platforms. That was in 2016. One can only imagine that those numbers are even larger now.”
Marketing’s biggest challenge: How to generate quality leads and web traffic in an endless sea of competition
The inbound marketing approach sounds all well and good, you might say, but the internet is huge. How do you generate traffic to your wonderful content, and how does all that content result in actual sales leads?
You’re not alone in asking that question. In a 2017 survey conducted by HubSpot, who launched the whole inbound marketing movement, generation of traffic and leads was identified as the top marketing challenge by businesses worldwide. Read HubSpot’s full marketing challenges article here.
Face it, the competition for eyes and ears on your content is vast. We are all inundated with information overload from businesses, news outlets, charities, as well as our friends and family. Two years ago, Contently published data on the amount of content created and consumed. They expressed it not just daily, but by the minute, reporting that every 60 seconds, 300 hours of video were being uploaded to YouTube and 347,222 Tweets were being sent, to name just two content platforms. One can only imagine that those numbers are even larger now. See an infographic with the Contently data here.
“Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?”
Plan to engage customers
So how does your content ever get noticed? Successful inbound marketers do the following:
- Pay attention to research
- Know their market and strategically speak to their actual needs and preferences
- Build a plan around engaging customers for the long haul
- Execute the plan with quality messaging in all forms
HubSpot tells marketers to ask themselves two questions: “Are you truly creating high-quality content — the type of content people would pay for? And, do you know the type of content your audience actually wants?”
Create content your audience actually wants
To answer the second question, you can study research from HubSpot and other marketing data collecting organizations. But don’t neglect to simply ask the people in your own market. You can learn a lot from a simple survey that can be designed and sent out using a tool like Survey Monkey or Google Survey. Ask your customers whether they prefer blogs or video, email newsletters or social media. Would they be interested in a podcast or online course? Suggest a few topics related to your business and ask which ones interest them most. That type of personalized research is in itself creation of engaging content.
High-quality content probably means establishing partnerships with a writer and graphic designer unless you already have those team members with those specialties, or with a full-service marketing provider who can coordinate the creative process and consult with you to strategize where, when, and how to publish your content.
Create content inviting them to click to read further, subscribe to a newsletter, watch and share a video, share their experience, tell you what they think, or contact you with questions. When they come back for more, that’s traffic. When they trust you and you’ve determined they have a need you can meet, that’s a lead. Keep listening and engaging them well, and you just might close a deal.