How to explain inbound marketing to professional services firms is a question we get from colleagues often. Not every marketing agency uses or understands a growth process centered around inbound marketing so we have come to expect this question. If you were to have the ability to deliver your very best, top ranked Keynote Presentation to each of your investors, strategic partners, your favorite customers and every competitor’s customer base, would you like to? What if you offered your best marketing information to grow your top and bottom line revenue targets, would you be willing to make the effort? Of course you would. That is exactly what an inbound marketing (content marketing) program allows you to do twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Inbound marketing is nothing more than utilizing your best information about your business, your best customers and your strategic partner’s creativity and inspiration to draw potential consumers in your direction. By feeding that group with consistent engaging and relation based information, they will make the transition to becoming a client.
In the old days, the customer would sit patiently and quietly listen patiently to the sales pitch. Today’s consumer knows that they manage the sales transaction now. Today’s consumer is market wise, and knows it as well as your best sales person, and your competitors. Inbound marketing provides an opportunity for you to create compelling, educational, engaging content that creates a relationship with that individual over time. By nurturing the potential client with worthwhile, inspiring information and compelling benefits, when it is time for the buying transaction to happen, the consumer you have created a relationship will choose you over your competitor.
Inbound (Content) Marketing is not a new concept. What is new happens to be the way potential clients become actual ones. They are certainly more informed and possess a better practical understanding than they ever have been, and their expectations are much higher than one might imagine. There is a huge amount of competition, and every one of your competitors is after their share.
Don’t just take my word for it, take a look at what Google and Jim Lecinski have to say:
“Google’s Zero Moment of Truth – ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying. I’m sure you know what I mean — you probably do web searches like this every day.
Would it surprise you to know that a full 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase?
Or that 79% of consumers now say they use a smart¬phone to help with shopping?
Or that 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them?
Try to see Inbound, or Content Marketing as:
- Content is storytelling, and there are many stories both within your firm and from your best clients. Share the stories that make people’s lives better.
- Content is the pre-requisite to Brand Awareness. It will build it if it is good.
- Content is easily communicated in multiple mediums, such as blogs, social media, video, reposts, Likes and Re-Tweets.
- Content is an investment in your brand, your future and that of your customer’s lives.
- Content separates you from your competition. The one with the best content wins.
The marketing “game” is constantly evolving, and changes in marketing strategy must be capable of shifting along with the marketplace. Technology being what it is, you can expect change at nearly every turn. What is not changing, is the level of competition, and the knowledge of the consumer. The responsibility of every professional services firm is to be nimble, quick to react, market focused and consumer friendly. After all, it is about developing leads that can be converted to clients, and the way it is done today is through engaging, inspiring value propositions. Your efforts to provide value and sincerity consistently will improve your market position.
Inbound marketing is about moving away from price related sales people, and toward “trusted advisor” or “alliance consultant” status. If you were providing worthwhile information that makes his or her lives better, why would anyone move away from you?
There is no reason to fear inbound marketing, as it is the natural evolution of the marketing and advertising concept. Traditional forms can supplement it, enhance it, but the conversion to online search is reaching critical mass. Don’t be left wondering what happened.