Inbound Marketing is about taking traditional marketing and kicking it to the curb. It's about the end of annoying, intrusive and interruption based marketing. It's about marketing that will generate website leads that you can actually close into sales.
Last week I wrote a post about the role of SEO in Inbound Marketing. As a quick refresher, if you don't have HIGH QUALITY traffic visiting your website, your other online efforts are going to be fruitless. Without high quality traffic, you speaking to either an empty room or a crowd of cats with no interest in what you're saying.
Let's assume you have high quality traffic visiting your website. You are kicking butt on the Attract phase of Inbound Marketing. That traffic means nothing if you can't generate leads from it. The good thing though, is that if you are generating HIGH QUALITY traffic, you have a much better chance of generating leads.
Start With Content Versus Commitment
The visitors to our website are just that, Visitors. Remember, today's buyer is a different animal from the buyer of even 5 years ago. Like I've said before, they do a lot of research, especially online, before even engaging a sales person. That being the case, why would you only look to convert buyers that have already done their research? That's letting your competitors wine and dine your prospective clients, then standing at the checkout counter with a sign that says "Pick Me! Pick Me!". What are your odds of getting the prospective client? Not good, right?
Your site needs to also wine and dine the prospects. Let's talk about what that means in the more commonly understood sense of wining and dining someone. What are you really doing when you wine and dine someone? You are getting to know them and ultimately building trust between the two of you. That trust makes all other decisions easier. If you trust the person you're considering working with, you've removed an enormous roadblock. If trust makes all things easier, why wouldn't you use your website to help build trust with the HIGH QUALITY visitors you get?
You don't build trust by shoving a "sign here" contract in the face of a window shopper. You don't build trust online by only giving the visitors the option to contact you or request a quote either. That's a higher level of commitment than your high quality visitors want to start with. So how can we wine and dine your visitors so that they trust us? If you guessed by providing some education, you guessed right!
We can use educational content on your site to help build trust with visitors and start nurturing them into qualified leads. You should provide free content that is immediately accessible by your visitors to help them get educated. You should also provide them access to more in depth, elaborate educational content in exchange for at least their email address. When your site's visitors are softened up by the free content you provide, they will be more likely to want to take a deeper dive into free content that they merely provide an email address for. Thus, you've generated a lead! You now need to methodically follow up with this lead, adding more value, building more trust, until they are marketing qualified leads.