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Imagine that you are looking for a new accountant. You do an Internet search, and one of the first results is a blog article about what you need to know before you file your return. You read the entire article, scroll to the bottom, and see that it was written by a local accounting firm that you haven’t heard of. You go to their website, which is clean and informative, learn more about their firm, and schedule an appointment.

This scenario is a perfect example of successful inbound marketing. The foundation of inbound marketing lies in adding value to users rather than bombarding them with advertising messages. Since the birth of advertising, consumers have been bombarded by direct marketing. Mailers, billboards, and brochures are dated forms of outreach, which is why more and more reputable companies are turning to inbound marketing.

So how does inbound marketing work? How can you transform strangers looking for information into future clients?

There are four key phases of inbound marketing- attracting, converting, closing, and delighting.

Attracting

The first step in inbound marketing is attracting targeted traffic to your website, blog, or emails. While all visitors are welcome, you ideally want to attract people who are interested in your services or offerings. These customers are the ones you want to build your inbound marketing strategy around. A few ways to attract targeted traffic include:

  • Search Engine Optimization- Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) refers to how quickly people can find your website in search engine results. Make sure to add relevant keywords specific to your business, headers, and subheaders, and register your business with Google and Bing.
  • Blogging- Blogging is a great way to stay in front of you clients with helpful information. Inbound marketing revolves around helping clients and prospects find answers to their concerns.
  • Social Media- When you share valuable information on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, not only are you establishing yourself as a thought leader, but you are also creating the opportunity for people to share your content with their friends and family.

Converting

Once you have generated a group of targeted visitors, what’s the next step? Inbound marketers suggest collecting contact information and more details about who your visitors are and what they are looking for from you. When you have their contact information, you can convert them to leads by offering them emails, whitepapers, and other appealing content. The more engaging your content is, the more likely they will be to reach out.

Closing

This is the step that usually puts a sparkle in service professionals’ eyes because this is the step that usually equals increased business. Once you have fostered a relationship with your leads by providing informative content, you can motivate them to take action. Some methods may be keeping in contact through email newsletters, offering clear calls to action on your social media pages and websites, and reaching out directly to see if you can answer some questions they may have (compliance allowing).

Delighting

You may think that the inbound marketing journey is complete when you have converted a lead into a client, but this isn’t the case. One of the most important steps of inbound marketing is continuing to follow up with your target audience and delighting them with new content. Our content library is regularly updated because we know that service providers benefit from new content to share with their network.

Another goal of inbound marketing, aside from sales, is to create brand loyalty. Clients who continue to share your informative content become ambassadors of your firm and may offer up their experience as future marketing materials, such as testimonials or case studies (plus, it never hurts to have a fan club!).

When creating your inbound marketing strategy, remember that it takes patience, perseverance and practice. Leads aren’t generated overnight and client relationships take time to build. But, a successful inbound marketing strategy is worth the time because it helps service professionals establish themselves in their community and transform strangers into clients.