Many marketing professionals are fond of saying that a business has only one chance to stage a grand opening celebration – a one-time opportunity to attract, entice, inspire and win over new “inbound” customers.
Ironically, businesses can reap many of these benefits every day – and not just during a grand opening, new product launch or other special event, every single day – when they adopt a cohesive and creative inbound marketing strategy.
Measure the ingredients of success
Since the term “inbound marketing” is relatively new to the vernacular, it’s smart to sharpen your understanding of what it means. To define inbound marketing with clarity, compare it to a grand opening of a brick-and-mortar store. For example’s sake, let’s talk about a new bakery. To lure “inbound” customers to walk through the doors — and encourage folks to return — the bakery hosts a grand opening that features:
- Complimentary cookies and pastries
- A sign-up sheet for free bakery products on birthdays and anniversaries
- Coupons for future bakery purchases
- Registration for a customer loyalty program
- Product demonstrations
- Enrollment in baking classes in the bakery’s kitchen
Any visitor would form the impression that this bakery aspires to be a regular and celebratory presence in its customers’ lives. And they clearly want to build relationships with customers, knowing that superior service can generate rave reviews.
With the exception of the free product samples, the bakery extends all of these offers to all customers who walk through the door with no strings attached, except for one crucial request: Please provide your email address.
Clearly define inbound marketing in four steps
These initiatives should entice more foot traffic — more inbound customers — to the bakery. They also can be replicated on the bakery’s website as part of an assertive inbound marketing strategy.
Just as the goal of a grand opening is to lure people into a brick-and-mortar store, Forbes helps to define inbound marketing as “getting spotted” by potential customers by bringing them right to “the front door” of your website. The goals are similar to a grand opening, too. A successful inbound marketing campaign:
- Attracts customers with a quality blog, search engine optimization strategies and dynamic web pages (with each one built around one keyword)
- Entices customers to provide their contact information with a compelling call to action, such as those outreach efforts featured at the bakery open house
- Inspires customers who aren’t quite ready to become “regulars” by finding out more about them and their needs and then tailoring future marketing efforts to them
- Wins over customers with creative outreach efforts
Great content drives inbound marketing
A successful inbound marketing strategy hinges on high quality content that vets potential customers from the very beginning. As you know, you want to do more than attract a casual shopper to your website; you seek to attract:
- Serious, legitimate business leads
- Customers who fit your target audience to a T
- Customers who will spread the word about business to their family, friends and and coworkers
Quality content should attract, entice, inspire and win over potential customers with specific efforts that may (or may not) overlap at times:
You attract customers with:
You entice customers with:
You inspire customers with:
You win over customers with:
Follow the inbound marketing recipe
In all likelihood, and especially until it gets established in the community, the corner bakery will continue “outbound” marketing efforts, or the coupons, postcards and other offers that go out its doors and into the mailboxes of nearby residents. But given the effectiveness of inbound marketing, the bakery should work to forge a productive union between the two strategies.
Hubspot’s seventh annual report on “the state of inbound” found that:
- Companies that can clearly define inbound marketing — and then embrace it — are three times more likely to see a higher return on their investment with inbound marketing.
- About 75 percent of marketers say that inbound marketing is their most effective marketing activity – and about the same number (76 percent) are increasing their investment in content marketing.
From any point of view, inbound marketing can invigorate a business in untold ways. You might even call it the icing on the cake.