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Nov 18, 2020

The Advantages of Inbound Marketing During a Pandemic How to Bring Your Marketing Back to Life

by Connor DeBlieck
Inbound marketing, Outbound marketing, Lead generation, Educational marketing

You’ve heard it several times before as the year, 2020, has progressed, “We need to stay at home.” “We have to avoid face-to-face events.” All of which is reasonable and understandable given the situation we are all in but while we can make adjustments to our personal lives, what about our business structures?

Companies have heavily relied on outbound marketing sources such as face-to-face meetings and trade shows but now that those things no longer exist during these times, what becomes of businesses? Everything they once knew is now no longer viable and cannot work.

There are no more tradeshows and face-to-face meetings no longer happen thus making outbound marketing dead in the water. It has also been proven that this situation cannot be ridden out as it has gone on for over 8 months and counting with no near end in sight and even if it was possible, things are never going to go back to how they once were. In truth, the reality is that outbound methods that many companies have relied on for 100% of their leads are no longer achievable. Cold calls, another outbound method are a relic of the past. As millennials become the main demographic to engage with, it is becoming more apparent that simple phone calls fall on deaf ears.

Now, why is that? Put yourself in their shoes. Information and data is such a driving force now that everyone is easily overloaded with information and bombarded with calls. The simple truth is that if your contact information is not on someone’s phone, they aren’t going to pick up because to them, your call is just another piece of information in a sea of spam.

Regardless of what industry your business falls in from Water Infrastructure to AEC, this information will play a valuable role in how you conduct your marketing going forward. Now that you know all the old methods are useless, what can you do to make your marketing come back to life?

The answer is inbound marketing. With inbound marketing, you can create campaigns that last indefinitely, establish workflows to track every metric of the customer journey and engagement and, most importantly, you're educating rather than selling. Everyone is interested in learning, few are willing to be sold

Let’s break it down, we know your pain points are:

  • Tradeshows and face-to-face meetings can no longer occur

  • Outbound sales (cold calls) no longer work since millennials, the growing demographic don’t like calls

  • The methods used to acquire 100% of leads are just gone up in smoke

How, how can inbound marketing address those? To answer that, let’s breakdown what inbound marketing can offer:

  • Sell your business’ value through educational content

  • Establish workflows to track the actions of your leads through every step of the sales funnel

  • Generate business contacts and marketing leads with informational content

  • Create PPC (Pay-per-Click), Social Media Ads, Blogs, Emails and more supporting content to nurture warm leads

  • Utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies and analytics to measure the performance of your campaigns

  • Give customers control of the sales process

  • Let them consume the content they want and entice them to reach out

  • Enhance brand position by positioning yourself as a solution provider

  • This will also help your business establish trust, a pillar of all business relationships

  • Create a two-way conversation with clients

  • Cost-effective and cheaper than outbound specific strategies

  • Increase visibility by putting yourself in front of target audiences in a non-disruptive way

  • Bring your sales and marketing together under one roof

  • Managing everything on one platform

There are several other great advantages inbound can offer but how does that apply to you?

We already looked through the disadvantages of outbound methods and how they have lost their place during these changing times. We understand that no matter your industry if you focus 100% of your efforts in driving leads through initial face-to-face, trade show meetings and cold-calling outbound strategies you suffer from:

  • Changing demographics

  • Face-to-face meetings can no longer occur preventing leads from being driven through that method

  • The sales funnel is at a standstill with no new prospects coming in

  • Sales and marketing teams are siloed

  • In the case of new prospects trickling in, there is no way to track their progress through the sales process.

Now that we have explained what inbound offers and identified the pain points of your industry, let’s explain how inbound marketing helps.

In the case of siloed marketing and sales teams, inbound brings the two together under one roof. What does that look like? By bringing two teams that work in-tandem together you can eliminate the confusion that can occur through communication errors. Both teams are now in sync and can streamline the sales process making it a smoother and more effective experience for your prospects.

Inbound marketing also eliminates the dependency of tradeshows and face-to-face meetings by establishing workflows and organizing your entire campaign in a digital space. Not only is this cost-effective and cheaper than purchasing a tradeshow booth and creating printed content that serves only a general-purpose of being an ice-breaker with general introductions, but it also allows you to take full advantage of the customer's journey from start to finish. You no longer need to reach out and start the process with cold clients through general-purpose content and can instead create content that would entice prospects to reach out to you. You no longer need to rely on general-purpose content and a typical sales pitch to entice customers, which is not very effective, and instead can put all effort into nurturing a relationship with prospects. The focus now is to no longer sell your product but to sell the value of your company. Think of it this way, while your industry is a necessity, people are not so inclined to buy if that is the only selling point. They understand it’s important but what they need to know is how your service is a solution to the problems they are facing.

By creating educational content you can support that message and support the service you provide by educating your clients about why what you offer is important. This is the starting point of creating a better connection with your customers and by turning the tables and having them reach out to you first. The benefit of this is that when they reach out to you they already a warm client that you are more likely to close with. They have already expressed interest in your business rather than the other way around where you need to gauge their interest and make a sale at the same moment.

Fixing the Demographic Problem

Now that you know what all inbound marketing can offer you, it’s time to dive into how it tackles the changing demographic issue and how you can track the customer’s journey through the sales process. In short, millennials hate sales calls but are prone to interact with companies that appeal to their interests on digital platforms. This is how educational content fills the gap, they want to be catered to and educated. Now that you have the target audience and you have the content necessary, the next step is to apply the glue that holds everything together through campaign tracking. By utilizing platforms like Hubspot you can house all your social, blog posts, emails and more under one roof and generate tracking URLs to measure how many people interact with your content. From there you will have a Google Analytics and Google Adwords dashboard to track and measure website traffic in greater detail and the performance of your PPC ads.

Inbound marketing also allows you to gate your content, what this means is that you put educational information behind a form to garner prospective customer’s information to put them into the sales funnel. They have taken the first step in engaging with your content and now with their information you can put them in the system and keep track of their movements to create tailored content for wherever they are. You no longer need to have those unnecessary conversations about the status of clients with the sales team or have the same conversation with prospects twice which runs a high risk of losing their interest.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, you are now mostly thinking to yourself that this seems like a daunting or impossible task with several moving parts and components that you may know nothing about. But creating an inbound marketing strategy is not as big of a process as you think and it doesn’t need to be taken alone. Just take things step-by-step by creating the necessary tools to engage with clients and track their progress or if you need help, feel free to call us at Watermark and we can help you build your inbound campaign.

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