Why Inbound Marketing Should Not Take a Back Seat to Current Customers

Inbound Marketing is a valuable strategy businesses can use to obtain new customers. Inbound Marketing is defined as Marketing based on getting found by customers. It’s customer-centric. With Inbound Marketing, businesses create customer-centric content based on customers needs. Content could take the form of blogs, videos & SEO.

In a prior article, I outline the 4 Steps which are Attract, Concert, Close and Delight. 

image via hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

Why Inbound Marketing should not take a back seat to Current Customers

Recently, I read an article that advocated that Inbound Marketing should take a backseat to your current customers. While it is less expensive to keep, nurture and up-sell/cross-sell current customers, businesses need to always be on the hunt for new customers. Despite the fact that it costs 5 times the amount to acquire a new customer verses keeping an existing one, it is an expense that businesses need to take on.

This is because businesses will always lose a portion of their customer base for a variety of reasons as seen in this graph.

image via http://www.superoffice.de/blog-de/kundenpflege/

According to Marketing at Work, the average business loses about 10 to 25 percent of its customer base every year. 

What happens if businesses start Ignoring customer acquisition?

  •  If a business loses 25 percent of its customer base it will have no customers after 4 years
  • At a 10 percent loss rate it will have no customers after 10 years

Through great service, word of mouth, & customer referrals; businesses may be able to extend their life. This then becomes an issue of how fast they can replace the lost customers. Relying on these methods alone puts undo pressure on customers and they may get turned off by being constantly asked to refer people. This may result in more customer turnover.

The Solution

As we have seen, focusing only on customer acquisition and customer retention is a losing game.

Done right, Inbound Marketing should be combined with Content Marketing because current customers still need to be nurtured after the sale. Businesses can only expect referrals and repeat business if customers:

  • Feel valued & receive great service

Businesses can apply the principles of Inbound Marketing for customer retention in the following ways:

1. Create Blog content Specifically for customers

  • Supply customers with exclusive access to blog content with useful tips and tricks for customers to get the most out their purchase.
  • Offer customers discounts
  •  Make reordering easy
  • Make customers feel like insiders.

2. Get customers to opt into user specific content via email

  • Ask customers for this commitment right when they sign up and commit
  • Make sure to create valuable content as customer attention is a gift
  • Remember that the customer defines value

3. Create Communities such as exclusive user groups 

  • Groups can be created on Social Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and specialized forums on a company site.
  • Use these groups to share content and invitations to customer only events.

4. Create free industry trends sites that don’t sell anything

  • This is a great way businesses can position themselves as a resource
  • These sites can be shared with both current customers and prospects.
  • Adobe does a great job with their CMO.com site which provides content and insights to CMO’s and marketing professions.

How have you used Inbound Marketing for customer retention? Share and comment.

Related articles

Inbound 101

Customer Marketing: What We Can Learn from Actors

Ways to Create & Execute an Organic Digital Marketing Strategy for Lead Gen

How to Integrate a Blog into an Inbound Marketing Strategy

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the  company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publish a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

 

 

Customer Marketing: What We Can Learn from Actors

What Actors Can Teach us About Customer Marketing

Image via Garrison Everest

When Actors land a role to play, they need to memorize their lines but for their delivery to be believable, they need to become the character. Actors become the character they play by doing research. This research is conducted by: reading books/watching videos about the life of the character, conducting interviews with the real life person if they are alive and/or meeting with people who knew them.

From this research, actors can identify the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and pain points in this persons life; all of which can help them successfully become this person.

How this Research is applied to Customer Marketing 

Successful Marketers have to conduct similar research to identify their target customer. For Marketing to be successful, businesses must understand their target market; analyzing their ideal customer similar to what Actor need to do.

To analyze this ideal customer, businesses need to do research to understand the life of their ideal customer. The result of this research is known as a Buyer Persona. According to research conducted by MarkteingSherpa: Marketers generated 171 % more revenue as result of using buyer personas.

According to research by the Buyer Persona Institute in 2016:

1.27% of businesses have no buyer persona

2. 44% of businesses have a buyer persona

3. interest in having buyer personas is growing as 29%  of businesses surveyed said will have them in the next year.

Creating a Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a guide to understanding the needs, challenges and pain points of customers.

Questions to ask

What are these customer’s habits?

What concerns, needs and challenges do they have?

What actions are customers taking to address their needs and challenges?

Why do customers need to take these actions?

This question may be applied to multiple action steps described in Hooked by Nir Eyal as the 5 Whys.

What makes them want to buy?

Where do they look for information?

What type of content and medium do they use access the information?

What days and times are they most likely to look for information and consume content?

It is important to note that businesses with multiple products and more than one target market will need to create buyer personas for each ideal customer.

image via Content Marketing Institute /Bigstock

Where to obtain information on the Ideal Customer

1. Interview current customers and prospects.

2. Send out targeted surveys via email, direct mail and on Social Networks. Offer incentives such as gift cards and discounts to encourage people to provide the information needed.

3. Read biography and history books about your ideal customer.

4. Study the news.

5. Study existing research conducted by Market Research firms.

Building buyer personas will result in:

1. Creating and implementing  better and more targeted product messaging and communication

2. Getting the product in front of customers who truly will benefit from its use

This is how to create a Buyer Persona.

How are you using your buyer personas? Comment below.

Article sources & images

Garrison Everest

Content Marketing Institute 

MarketingSherpa.com/intecnic.com

Related article

Inbound 101

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. Hubspot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 13,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 8,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

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Did Mobile Kill the TV Star?

Everyone remembers the popular song Video Killed the Radio star, which was a song about how the technology of television made radio and the radio star obsolete. As mobile devices and social media have become more prevalent worldwide; access to video content via video search engines/sharing services such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix have disrupted how content is accessed. Prior to this shift, television/cable networks have controlled how video content was shared and distributed. Today the alternative content sharing methods I described above, have changed the format of television. As more and more advertising dollars are being shifted to mobile from television, the way television is run has to change.

Back to my original question, will Television suffer the same fate as Radio? Well not exactly.Television has embraced new technology. Content has been made available on mobile devices, Tablets Laptops and PC’s.Television networks have developed a strong presence on social networks. Every Television network and their shows; have their own branded social media channels. Video content is made available instantly via on demand programming for premium cable subscribers.

Dual Technology is used by television networks by allowing viewers to live tweet with characters of their favorite shows and television personalities via computers/mobile devices. Television networks use of Twitter is an example of dual technology. Live tweeting has proven to be a successful engagement strategy for television networks; engaging with millennial and baby-boomers alike. An example is tonight’s live Blue Bloods Actors chat via CBS’s branded BlueBlood’s Twitter handle.

Another marketing strategy, employed by television networks is to make the actors in their shows use products from advertisers. This is a shift from traditional advertisements; as most people are turned off by many traditional ads. Many Auto, Telecom, Clothing, Luxury Brands and even educational institutions use this form of advertising. It does not seem like an ad if it is part of the show. This is what television networks and advertisers are banking on.

Did Mobile kill the TV star? Not exactly but it killed a culture of television and cable monopolies. Although television and cable have changed to adopt to the shift to mobile, they still face threats from Apple, Intel, Google and Sony who attempting to offer television content via internet TV delivery platforms.

All of these changes that I mentioned above, will shift the power from the Television and cable networks into the hands of advertisers by driving down rates. The general public will also be able to access programming much cheaper but this is a discussion for down the road.

Did Mobile kill the TV star? You decide.

10 Things a Sales Leader Needs to Do or Have to Be Successful

Deciding to go into sales management is a very big step for a sales person. Recently, I received an offer to serve as a sales trainer or de-facto sales manager; based on my time in field sales and my blog.

What are a VP of Sales, Sales Director and Sales Manager?

Well they are leaders.

The first thing that a sales manager needs to do to be successful is to lead people and serve as an example. During my time in sales, especially during training, I went to these sales leaders when I had questions and needed help. (Before taking the position, you should make sure that you can believe in the product and that you can sell it yourself because when the sales team cannot do it they will look to you for help!)

The second thing that a sales leader needs to have to be successful is a successful track record as a sales person. Did you notice that I said successful and not a rock star? This will take us to the next thing a sales manager needs to have to be successful.

The third thing that a sales manager needs to have is empathy and patience. This comes into play when training new sales people. They may go into the field and get shot down or they might be developing slower than you would like. The easy thing to do would be to say deal with it. Another easy thing to do would be to fire them. This is the wrong thing to do. (At least the in the beginning.) The sales manager needs to support their sales people by debriefing with them and communicating with them. (Think, Babe Ruth was never a manager in baseball even though he was a star; he lacked the patience to do the job.)

The fourth thing that a sales manager needs to do is to go around with their sales people to meet customers. The sales manager needs to do this directly when possible. Delegating this task sends the wrong message to the new person. It says that the sales person is not important. If you must delegate this task, make sure the sales rep goes out with a seasoned sales rep that is successful so they can pick up their positive habits.

The fifth thing a sales manager needs to do is to teach sales people the following: sales planning, how to make a cold call and how to handle sales objections.

The sixth thing that a sales manager needs to do is to make sure that their sales people have knowledge of: the company’s products, how to provide customer service, how to keep customers paying on time, develop relationships with customers, how to up-sell and cross-sell, how to demonstrate value, not selling on price and how to handle difficult customers.

The seventh thing the sales manager needs to do is to make sure that the team knows how to develop and deliver a sales presentation that answers customer’s questions and objections.

The eighth thing that the sales manager needs to do is to let the sales people to know its ok to ask for the order after they make their presentation. The sales manager also needs to teach the sales people the following: to generate leads, to convert these leads into sales, to follow-up on sales, earn referrals and testimonials and to make the quota. Only if the sales team makes their quota will the sales manager make theirs. The sales manager can motivate their team to sell with sales contests. This a great way to promote healthy competition among the sales team. (A side note, touch base with your team on a weekly basis. However, reduce the amount of sales meetings that you have. Especially if your team has to travel long distances to attend. The last thing that you want to do is take money away from yourself and your team by keeping them out of their territories. I would recommend one to two meetings team meetings a month. The rest of the meetings can be handled via conference call, email and co-traveling. Sites such as GoToMeeting can facilitate meetings.

The ninth thing to do is to assess your team’s strengths’ and weaknesses’;  working with the team to correct them.

The tenth and last thing that a sales manager needs to be successful is be able to repeat steps one to nine multiple times as sales people are promoted, fired and leave to go work for another company. When firing someone make sure to meet with them face to face and explain the situation. No one likes to hear this news over the phone or via email. You will need to learn how to interview and recruit people as well.

These are the 10 things that a sales leader needs to do or have to be successful.

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