Inbound marketing is the ‘go-to’ tactic of companies in the B2B sphere as it generates over 50% more leads than traditional paid marketing. Inbound is how you get traffic, convert visitors into leads, and get leads to become paying customers. By creating a defined path for your inbound traffic, you will be able to properly segment customers and build trust; which leads to an increased number of loyal customers.
If you’ve any marketing experience whatsoever, you’ll be familiar with the sales funnel. You may be less familiar with the concept of dividing it into three distinct parts: Top, Middle and Bottom. Failure is guaranteed if you don’t focus on all three aspects. When it comes to the methodology of inbound marketing, there are four phases to consider.
The top of the sales funnel is clogged with prospects looking to solve a problem or fulfill a need. Your goal here is to attract their attention by providing them with more information on what you have to offer. Tactics at this stage include Blogging, Content Strategy, and Social Media. Make sure your content is SEO optimized or else your chances of being found are slim.
By the time you get to the middle of the funnel, you have stronger prospects because they now have information about solving their problem. It is worth your while trying to convert such leads because they are now far more likely to become customers. You must try to capture their information; a common method of doing this is to put content on a landing page. If visitors want to learn more, they have to provide you with some personal information; primarily an email address.
At this point, leads are at the bottom of the sales funnel and ready to become customers. Tactics involve lead nurturing, email marketing, and predictive lead scoring. The latter is a crucial component of any successful business because there will come a point where it doesn’t make sense to get in touch with every lead.
Most research indicates that leads are about 70% of the way to becoming customers before they are ready to speak to a salesperson. Perhaps you can combine middle of the funnel offers with bottom of the funnel offers to increase your lead conversion rate?
Inbound marketing doesn’t stop at the sale. You must provide customers with an exceptional experience if you want them to come back. Remember, new customers have higher expectations of your business than before and will pay attention to how they are treated from now on. Successful strategies include providing loyal customers with special offers and discounts. Also, don’t make the amateurish mistake of sending them CTAs meant for first-timers!
Managing the sales funnel is not as complicated as you think. When you develop a clearly defined path for your inbound marketing traffic, you’ll find that prospects become leads which then become customers, and it all takes place smoothly.
Segmenting your customer database is of pivotal importance to any business and most companies do this to some degree. It is obvious, and has been for many years, that a one size fits all approach will fail. What is just as important, and just as obvious, is that you also have to communicate differently with segments of your target audience.
Rather than telling customers everything you can about your product/service, you should focus on what each segment cares about most and send them these messages via the appropriate medium.
The main benefit of automated behavioral segmentation is that you divide leads into groups according to their actions and engagement patterns. When you add automation to the mix, you can adapt the experience of your visitors in real time and help guide their journey down the sales funnel.
In basic terms, you are aiming to divide a demographic based on how they behave. Remember, there are a variety of factors that consumers take into account before making a purchasing decision and their final choice is affected by their behavior. When you use behavioral segmentation, you group customers based on specific patterns they follow when making a purchasing decision. Such behaviors include:
- Where the individual was in the sales funnel. Are they first-timers, regular users of the product, or ex-users?
- The products/offers they show an interest in.
- The level of usage.
- What product features or highlights do they spend most time viewing?
Automation uses dynamic content to personalize websites or pop-ups. Personalization is essential because it is more relevant, more engaging, and is more likely to achieve positive results. The process of automated behavioral segmentation creates these individualized experiences for users across an array of communication channels such as email, user interfaces, content feeds on social media, and websites.
You can’t expect to achieve results by merely updating your website now and then. You have to develop dynamic online experiences that encourage conversion and this is only achievable through personalization. When you get it right, you push customers through the sales funnel a lot faster and benefit from a shorter sales cycle. The online revolution caused by social media means we use and experience the Interact in a much different way than we did just five years ago.
In the modern era, it is all about users, user engagement, and content that is user-driven. Of course, you could do all of the above and still fail because you used the wrong form of communication. If your data shows that a lead spends four hours a day on Facebook and opens less than 10% of their marketing emails for example, do you think it is better to post content on social media, or via email?
To be honest, you should be posting all of your website content on social media or at least links on sites like Facebook that lead back to your website. When you automate your communication method after segmenting your target audience, you will know the type of content you need, where to post it, and when. Moreover, you can schedule it, as automation ensures you don’t miss a beat.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is an essential marketing tool because it enables you to manage the business relationships you have with customers effectively. Indeed, a CRM enables you to focus on your firm’s relationships with suppliers, colleagues, and much more.
When you have a solid CRM system in place, you have a storage unit for the information of leads, as well as the interactions you have with prospects which can include phone calls made, emails sent, inquiries received etc. Imagine a situation where every question, service request, preference and past contact details of customers were at your fingertips. With a CRM system, you can have it all, and then some! As well as helping you keep existing customers, a CRM puts you firmly in control of the sales funnel.
Keeping Control of Contacts
If you don’t have a CRM and your business is growing, chaos is guaranteed to ensue. Any half-decent CRM system will have a Contact Management tab which helps you manage the contact details of prospects. It’s a good idea to ensure that your top salesperson doesn’t have sole access to this data because if he/she decides to leave and take this information with them, your firm will suffer.
It should go without saying that you need a scalable system that grows to meet your company’s needs as it expands. Think of the benefits associated with keeping the same system even when your business grows from 40 customers to 20,000! Staying on top of your contacts list is essential because every time you interact with a lead, you gain valuable information which can eventually be used to generate sales.
Recent research shows that 74% of CRM users believe their system offers better access to customer data. With a CRM system, you keep a record of interactions with prospects and the data you glean helps you determine which ones to pursue and which ones to drop. Firms that excel in the lead nurturing field generate up to 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. Use your CRM to see which prospects open your emails, visit your website, or otherwise engage with your brand.
Shorten the Sales Cycle
We recommend choosing a CRM system that has excellent analytics and reporting options to help predict sales growth while also showing conversion rates. The data you receive from the CRM makes sales forecast targets reliable and accurate. This combination makes it easy to motivate your sales team to meet achievable but optimistic targets.
Your CRM system does far more than merely track activity. When you use it properly, you can trim the length of the sales cycle. When you determine the percentage of your leads that close within a certain time frame, you’ll know how to target individuals more likely to make a purchase. A CRM system enables you to segment leads, target active prospects, and determine leads ready to hand over their hard-earned cash. Without a CRM system, you’re nothing more than an analog business in a digital world.
The ‘ideal’ customer is one that is so enamored with your brand that he/she will buy just about anything you sell. Alas, we live in a world of savvy consumers who are no longer anchored to a single company. If they find something better, they will grab it with both hands! There is however, an ideal customer profile which you can use to boost leads and ultimately, sales.
An ideal customer profile is a description of a fictitious entity (this can be an individual, NPO, government agency or company) that gets significant value from your products/services, and also provides your company with value.
5 Ways the Ideal Customer Provides Value for You
- They refer you to other individuals/businesses.
- They give you access to resources that enable your business to grow.
- They become advocates for your business.
- They are easy to deal with and don’t require a great deal of customer support.
- They provide testimonials you can use in future marketing campaigns.
5 Ways You Provide Value for Them
- You help reduce their expenses.
- You alleviate specific pain points.
- You raise their productivity (in the case of a business).
- You enable them to become more successful.
- You solve a significant problem.
3 Quick & Easy Tips to Create an Ideal Customer Profile
1 – Find Your Most Satisfied Customers
Most marketing experts believe you should look at your ten most satisfied customers with common attributes. These could be a geographical location, revenue, or business type & number of employees in the case of businesses. Then, you should get in contact with these customers and find out how much they are paying for your solutions, and how much value they are getting out of it.
Each customer should be deriving significantly greater value from your product than what they paid for it. In other words, if they pay $150 a month, they should receive at least $300 worth of value.
2 – Prioritize Customers Likely to Stay with You
Try to avoid selling to customers unlikely to get the most out of your products. Such consumers will be dissatisfied which doesn’t bode well for your reputation. They also take up a lot of support time and could cost you more than they pay.
3 – Find New Ideal Customers
By now, you should know exactly what you’re looking for after conversing with existing ideal customers. Your marketing team will be able to generate an increased number of worthy leads and bear in mind that future ideal customers should:
- Be ready to buy what you’re selling.
- Be willing make a change and invest time and money to get up to speed with your products/services.
- Have the ability to make a purchase today.
After defining your ideal customer profile, analyze the way your sales, marketing, and development teams process leads matching the profile. To succeed, you need lots of internal data which offer clues on the type of message that has worked in the past along with the channels used by customers to locate your brand. Finally, contact your best customers and find out:
- How they found your brand?
- What makes them choose to work with you?
- Why they continue to remain loyal to your brand?
Empower Yourself with Response Wise CRM.
Simplify sales cycles and maximize revenue.
Easily import contacts from anywhere. Capture leads through web forms built for landing pages. Create efficient workflows and tasks to streamline your sales cycle and so much more!
Converting a lead into a potential buyer depends on efficient communication and nurturing. From lead generation to scoring to conversion, Response Wise CRM ensures proper follow-up to move your leads through the sales pipeline.
Our CRM is designed & built with heavy input from our own sales teams. Created to their exacting specifications with all the tools and features needed to empower their processes. Now we’re making it available to you! Try it today for free!
(15 day free trial. NO credit card required!)
Build Your Database with Response Wise Data Service!
Add new leads to your existing list.
Want to acquire more leads for your business? Response Wise is now offering a robust data service. We have been utilizing a variety of verification services for years to validate and acquire data internally. Now we want to offer this service to our customers and the Response Wise Data Service is now available!
For business to business leads, data is sourced from U.S. Yellow Page directories, new business filings, daily utility connections, press releases, corporate websites, annual reports, user-generated feedback, and more.
Response Wise Email Marketing.
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Use the Response Wise Email Marketing Platform to Build Engagement with Sophisticated Enterprise-Class List Management. Utilize powerful email campaign design tools that are easy to use to build beautiful email campaigns & powerful automation tools to handle the heavy lifting for you!
Combined with our powerful CRM, we provide all the tools you need to push your sales & marketing efforts to the next level!
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When it comes to finding your target audience, locating the right communication channel(s) is a key element of making a sales breakthrough. After all, what’s the point of laboriously segmenting your group if you don’t pay attention to how they like to interact? A prime example is blindly sending out marketing emails to prospects that practically live on Twitter!
In the last few years, business owners are feeling pressured into using every available communication channel. In reality, you’ll achieve a greater level of success if you’re disciplined about the channels you utilize. By doing this, you’ll create a consistent marketing message that reaches your target audience in the right way at the correct time in the sales cycle.
The days of splitting your audience into broad groups are long gone. Without detailed information about who, how, and why, customers purchase products and services, you’ll have no shot at competing with the big boys. You shouldn’t necessarily forget traditional media because even in 2018, radio and the printed press offer opportunities for small local businesses in particular.
It wasn’t so long ago that hypersegmentation was classified as the Holy Grail of marketing but today, it practically mandatory. Your company must utilize data warehousing to ensure your marketing team is on the same page with the ability to effectively deploy the firm’s most recent and valid data.
Once your marketing team has identified the different data sources available, you must use a common platform across the firm to achieve an integrated and coordinated approach. With hypersegmentation, you can effectively create limitless ‘markets of one’ so each customer feels valued.
Switching on the Right Channels
The process of hypersegmentation should enable you to determine the right communication channels, and don’t assume everyone wants to be contacted via social media. For instance, if you are a local business targeting a local audience, you don’t need to run a national online search campaign. Believe it or not, the right communication channel in this instance could be something as ‘old-fashioned’ as a local or regional newspaper.
Your hypersegmentation efforts should not only help you identify your target audience, but it will also provide you with an excellent idea of how each person would prefer to be contacted. To be fair, if you’re in any doubt as to what to do, set up social media accounts and engage with your audience. It is a cost-effective way to get started and it allows for almost instant communication.
Once you have researched your target audience’s preferred social media channels, you can encourage them to ‘follow’ you, and add social media buttons to your company website (if you don’t have a website in 2018 then I don’t know what to tell you!) Start asking questions! There is no better way to learn than by finding out answers directly from your target audience. For example, find out the publications they read such as blogs, websites and newspapers, and try to get your business featured in them. Once you know where to go and how to communicate, making sales will become a whole lot easier.
An easy way to add content from YouTube or Vimeo
The new video content block allows you to easily share your video content in your email campaigns. You only need to copy and paste the URL to your video from your YouTube or Vimeo channel, and Response Wise will do the rest: it will automatically grab the cover image for the video, overlay a Play icon you can customize on top of it and automatically link it to your chosen video content.
How it works
You will now find a new “Video” tile in the “Content” panel. Drag it into your design to get started.
The “Content properties” section will ask you to provide a video URL from YouTube or Vimeo, the popular video hosting services that we currently support.
Once you insert a valid YouTube or Vimeo video URL, the content block in the editing panel will display the cover image for the video with a Play icon overlayed on top of it. You can edit the type, color, and size of the Play icon to change the way it looks.
Select the icon type that fits your design…
… choose the color that looks best with your cover image…
… and pick a size. You’re all done!
Notes about embedding video in email
This feature does not embed the actual video in the email, but rather links to it in a smart way.
The reason why the actual video content is not embedded into the message is that, unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well. Many email clients do not support embedded video yet, and Apple has been “back and forth” on video support in iOS over the years.
Additionally, many emails are opened on mobile devices and viewing videos on a mobile device can cause substantial data usage in addition to a poor user experience due to the quality of the data connection.
While a large percentage of companies have used email marketing over the years, the quality of their campaigns varied markedly. Too many businesses have been happy to utilize a fairly sub-standard generic email strategy but consumers won’t accept this anymore and are only interested in companies that provide information tailored to their specific needs. As a result, improved data and personalization are the way forward and we explain more below.
Marketing in Real Time
Email marketers are starting to understand the importance of triggered campaigns and are analyzing the behavior of customers to ensure they are sent more personalized emails. As mobile Internet use has risen exponentially in recent times, marketers know that their target audience regularly checks their emails while on the move. Therefore, a real time marketing email based on a recent event or news story is probably going to be read since it is still in the consumer’s mind.
Context & Behavior
The rise of Big Data has helped with the evolution of email marketing since marketers now know when and where someone will open a message as well as having an understanding of the type of content recipients are likely to consume. If you know when a recipient will open your email, it can make a world of difference to your click-through rate. You can find out this information by tracking previous opens, segmenting them and applying geographical location data.
With more data in the email channel, you can send more specific emails which of course improves the personalization experience for recipients. The better tailored your emails, the more engagement you can expect.
Email Is Going Up The Funnel
Traditionally, email marketing was deemed to be best suited for use at the bottom of the sales funnel since the focus was on conversion but this will change in the future. Companies should be using emails at the top of the funnel as a branding tool. Once you learn how to optimize email at both ends of the funnel, you will end up with improved results on your campaigns. Since much of email marketing is automated now, you can concentrate on creating great content since the technical aspect almost takes care of itself.
Although mobile digital channels may take some of email’s traction, email marketing is set to remain as the #1 method of successfully reaching your target audience to provide them with information they want to hear.
For all the talk about ‘customer loyalty’ being an essential part of marketing, few companies ever launch successful loyalty programs. Most consumers see through transparent loyalty points/cards programs and believe it isn’t worth their while. So what are the real barriers to loyalty and more importantly, how do you overcome them? Read on to find out more below.
1 – The Feeling Of Being Overlooked
Existing customers quickly get fed up with companies offering great deals to ‘new’ customers only. This is an acquisition program that alienates existing customers and usually ends in disaster. Remember, it takes 10+ new and uncommitted customers to make up for losing a loyal customer. To overcome this, simply offer special rewards for loyal customers; perhaps offer freebies or discounts once they buy a certain amount of your merchandise.
2 – Biased Data
It is very hard to collect data that is representative of your customer base without showing bias to one segment. Fail to engage the core customer with your loyalty program by making it difficult to sign up or utilize your card etc. means you won’t get a complete picture of your customers. A multi-channel approach is critical and you also need to get end-to-end behavioral data while also ensuring customer preference is subject to relevance.
3 – Using Customer Profitability As A KPI
Relying on customer profitability to discover their value is likely to be an inaccurate mode of measurement. For instance, is a customer who makes one purchase of $1,000 in two years more or less valuable than one who makes 10 purchases worth $800 in the same period? While the first customer spent more, the second customer is probably more ‘loyal’ and likely to use you when he makes a big purchase. You need to get a better understanding of customer ‘behavior’ to drive profit.
4 – Leaving It Up To Marketing
Most companies believe its marketing department is responsible for driving loyalty. However, for real success, only businesses where the CEO and executives are involved will succeed at becoming a genuinely customer-orientated organization which ensures the customer is #1.
5 – Opting For Loyalty Programs & Not A Loyalty Approach
In simple terms, a program can be part of a loyalty approach but a true loyalty approach is not part of any ‘program’. Instead, this approach should be the way you do business as your organization is dedicated to pleasing customers in a variety of ways. Companies that rely on loyalty programs will be dismissed as opportunistic whereas businesses with a loyalty approach will be deemed as ‘genuine’ by customers and this will lead to long-term loyalty.
In order to be a success, it is essential for a business to ask ‘how are we loyal to our customers’? To enjoy customer loyalty, you must place the customer at the center of your marketing approach instead of just adding in programs as an afterthought.
If you are a regular Response Wise reader then you’ll already know that the ROI earned from email marketing can be astronomical. According to a report by VentureBeat, email marketing could provide marketers with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent! Clearly, this will not be the case for every single email marketer but it does provide an insight into the kind of success it is possible to achieve.
Email marketing is constantly evolving so you need to stay on your toes to keep up with these changes. What is working for you right now may not be effective 12 months down the line for example. However, it is possible to enjoy fantastic results by making a few simple additions to each email with the goal of optimizing them.
Segment To Provide Value
Your subscribers could be receiving dozens of marketing emails a day so creating a generically designed email with a less than compelling message spells doom for your campaign. Deliverability rates tend to suffer when subscribers believe the emails are irrelevant to their needs so you need to segment your list to ensure the right person receives the right message.
You can segment according to age, gender, location and interests among other things. No matter how well written your email is, if it isn’t about a topic that interests the recipient, it provides no value and is therefore of no use to them.
Include Several CTAs
Adding a single Call-To-Action at the end of an email won’t cut it. A cleverly designed marketing email will contain multiple CTAs that flow seamlessly within the content and don’t seem overly ‘salesy’. The fact is, the more links there are to click, the more likely it is that readers will click on one.
Your emails should contain content that is easily ‘sharable’ across different marketing channels with special attention paid to social media sites. All it takes is a handful of brand advocates to transform a company’s fortunes and when you give these loyalists the option of sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., good things will happen.
When designing your emails, make sure there are clearly defined areas where subscribers can share the text via social media and email.
Ultimately, the success of your email marketing campaign will lie in your ability to effectively segment your target audience and create content that benefits them. Yet there are a couple of simple additions that can really boost your click-through rate and this will inevitably lead to more sales.
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