Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  13 Feb 2017

MARKETING: It's All About Timing: How to Use the Inbound Marketing Funnel to Drive Results


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Clockwork Media MD, Tom Manners breaks down the buyer’s journey and how it can benefit both your organisation and your potential clients.

The telemarketers that sell your products or services probably put up with a lot. Of all the suggestions floating around the internet to wind them up, some popular favourites include describing what you’ve eaten in the last 24 hours, posing riddles, and asking them what they’re wearing. Why? Because it’s the most entertaining and sometimes an effective way for people to say “no” to a product or service they’re not interested in... yet. What you need to get them there is a funnel.

The stages of the marketing funnel
In inbound marketing, the funnel is a metaphor for the buyer’s journey. For the buyer, this is the process they go through before deciding to make a purchase. For you, it’s a way of personalising your sales strategy to speed that process up and make sure it ends in your favour more frequently. This comes down to giving them the insights they need to make an educated decision (which just so happens to coincide with your product or service).
There are three stages in the buyer’s journey – awareness, consideration and decision. Each stage is designed to nurture potential consumers from strangers into visitors, and leads into customers.

The laws of attraction
Awareness is what I like to think of as the AA stage; before you can help your soon-to-be clients, they have to admit they have a problem. You are not going to get them to do this by trying to shove your product or service down their throat, so forget that, at least for now. You need to turn them into friends and invite them over… to your website.

Attracting strangers to your website comes down to two things: visibility and good content. For this, you’ll need killer SEO smarts and keywords to get people clicking on your links, as well as blogs that ask the right question, which is always “what’s my problem?”.

Channelling Netflix
Once your visitor realises they are indeed making “The top 10 mistakes that sabotage small businesses” or “The most common strategy that dooms business goals from the start”, they’re ready for the consideration phase. They’re wondering what can be done to solve the issue and will be more receptive to content that addresses their problems. Here’s where you need to channel Netflix – you know the thing that keeps you up all night because the next episode is just a short 20 second countdown away? People want instant gratification, making a cliff-hanger with a just-within-reach resolution irresistible. That’s the aim of the game.

If you tell your visitor the secret to solving their problem right away, what do you get out of it? Nothing. Instead, invite them to download the answer in the form of an offer – anything from an eBook or worksheet to a webinar or video. Whatever it is, it needs to have enough value to entice customers to give their email address or even just respond to a short survey. This will allow you to identify solid leads and gather genuine client insights while you’re at it.

Popping the question
Now that the buyer knows what their problem is and how to solve it, your content should convince them that they need your help to do it. This is the decision phase of the funnel, as well as your chance to highlight why buyers should commit to your solution, even when there are plenty of other fish in the sea. The good news is you’ve already got them to cast their net in your little patch of ocean.

There’s a good reason petrol stations make a killing selling food when there are better places to buy it. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time, which is exactly where you’ve put your service – just a click away when the buyer needs it most. You can do this by presenting a call-to-action (like booking a free consultation or ordering a trial package) at the end of an email, workflow, downloaded resource or blog.

There is a possibility that the buyer decides not to take you up on your offer, but that just means you have another opportunity to find out how you can make it more appealing. Driving results is not just about getting buyers to say “yes”, it’s about being able to identify exactly when, where and why they said “no” – and that’s precisely what the inbound marketing funnel is designed for.

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