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2018 Inbound Marketing Skills You Need to Master (Today)

Technology and social media has influenced not only how people interact with one another, but also how customers interact with businesses. Today’s customers do independent research, use search engines, and read up on products before they make first contact with a sales representative.

As digital marketing continues to evolve, here are some tools to help generate leads and turn leads into sales.

 

Create Content Your Buyer Persona Wants to Share

Shares on social media (such as Facebook and LinkedIn) are free advertising that’s boosted with the credibility of a personal recommendation. People are more likely to trust a link from a friend or coworker than a random headline. In theory, that seems pretty straightforward. But getting that recommendation is harder than it looks.

Social media is about social proof. Users don’t recommend content because of what it says or shows: they share it because of what it says about them. That LinkedIn contact who’s always posting articles from the Harvard Business Review? She’s trying to look like a smart hire. Your friend who shares cool tech product videos on Facebook? He’s making not-too-subtle hints about what he wants for Christmas. When you’re creating content, don’t just ask, “What does my target user get out of watching/reading this?” Ask, “What does he or she get out of sharing it?”

 

Meet Buyers At Every Step of tTheir Journey

Because so much of the sales process has shifted off of the shoulders of dedicated sales teams and onto the actions of independent buyers, your company needs to find a means to meet potential customers at various points along the way. A concise and clever blog post can make a customer aware of your services. A video tutorial might show them how your services can solve their problems, and an online questionnaire can help them decide what specific service or product fits their needs best.

 

Keep the Conversation Growing

Don’t assume the journey’s ended when they reach the site—it’s barely begun. The job of your site isn’t always to make a sale. On its face, a sale is simply a transaction. If you’re successful in capturing leads, then you have the opportunity to create a conversation (through drip email campaigns) that can lead to many sales over time.

 

Stand Out In the Search

The rules of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are forever changing, but one thing doesn’t change—most companies are found through search, and customers won’t find you if you’re not close to the top of the rankings. Tools such as Google Analytics help you discover where your business already stands out in online searches. Avoid short, generic words when tagging your content in favor of long-tail keywords or phrases that add context to your product. Put yourself in the shoes of your Buyer Persona and mimic their language.

 

Make Smart Advertising Decisions

Pay-per-click advertising is exactly what it says: you pay only for the clicks you get, which means every penny you spend is guaranteed to result in a site visit.

Social advertising has come a long way. Pay-per-click ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a low-cost, highly effective way to reach consumers with sophisticated targeting (by region, demographics, and interests). Because it’s promoted content, social advertising is less likely to be viewed as invasive. Even better, various platforms offer some interesting marketing tools. For example, Facebook Business now allows you to target lookalike audiences—targeting your ads to the same demos that are already just like your current customers.

 

Document Your Content Strategy

Tie all of these marketing tools together in a Documented Content Strategy. Be intentional about what content you create, who it appeals to, how it can be shared, and at what step in the buyer’s journey is it most useful. Perhaps you are marketing towards multiple buyer personas. The purpose and format of your content may vary, but still needs to tie into a unified marketing message. Diversity is necessary in inbound marketing, but it can only be effectively achieved when planned, balanced, and documented. If this is something we can help you with, let’s talk—it’s what we do, in 2018 and always.

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