Successful Inbound Marketing – Educate, Entertain & Convince
Successful inbound marketing campaigns rely on creating and publishing content that has been carefully engineered to the needs and pains of your prospects. But whether your business operates in high tech FinTech, or classic construction and property, there are three key content ‘concepts’ that will give you a framework for each piece.
As you begin to map out your inbound strategy, be sure to include a mix of all of the following:
Concept 1 – Educate
The earliest stages of the modern buying cycle begin by hunting for information online. The first port of call for anyone needing answers is the Internet – so much so that buyers now complete up to two-thirds of the pre-purchase decision-making process without any assistance.
People simply do not want to have advertising blasted at them anymore. Instead, they are looking to resolve their own problems unaided – which is why creating content that helps them towards that aim is highly prized by your prospects.
As marketing expert Jay Baer said:
“Stop trying to be amazing and start being useful. I don’t mean this in a Trojan-horse, “infomercial that pretends to be useful but is actually a sales pitch” way. I mean a genuine, “how can we actually help you?” way.”
Make sure that you craft at least some of your content to teach prospects – not unlike this blog post itself.
Concept 2 – Entertain
Making people smile is a powerful tool for improving their opinion of your business. Which is why you still see so many adverts on TV that tell funny stories or depict humorous situations.
And the same is true of modern digital marketing. People don’t always want to read a full white paper, sometimes a short, article or cartoon that tells them something new and makes them smile, is more effective.
You will, of course, need to properly understand your audience, and explore what is (and is not) appropriate for your business. But if you can get the balance right, you stand a good chance of pulling those prospects further into your inbound marketing funnel – and closer to a sale.
Concept 3 – Convince
As your prospects continue to engage with your content, they will eventually hit critical mass. This is the point at which they need to decide whether they are going ahead and buying something from you or not.
To help sway their decision, you will need to create assets that deal with any niggling doubts, and give the prospect everything they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision. ‘Convince’-type content is the first, and only time, you should openly promote your goods and services – this is the closest you’ll ever get to a “hard” sell during your inbound marketing campaign.
As always, you will need to know your target audience very well so that you can gauge just how hard to push them towards conversion. You really don’t want to lose a sale at the last hurdle!
The correct blend of educating, entertain and convince will vary from campaign to campaign, industry to industry because the target audience is different each time. To help ensure you properly define the right content types, you must also create detailed ‘personas’ for your target audience to guide your creative processes. You can learn more about creating accurate, helpful personas here.