1. The Internet has killed the sales pitch as we knew it
The women of the world (and their menfolk) have a laptop, tablet or mobile phone within easy reach. Every buyer has the power to research before picking up the phone to enquire or setting foot in a store - whether they are a commercial purchaser or consumer.
It really is the death of salesmen like Willy Loman and the Glengarry Glen Ross guys. No longer do purchasers rely on salesmen for the information they need to make a decision. The days when someone could sit in your living room and refuse to leave until your husband signed on the dotted line are gone.
And people are using this power in numbers. The stats say that 81% of shoppers research online before buying (Retailingtoday.com) and 94% of B2B buyers research online before making purchase decisions (Acuitygroup.com).
Both B2B and B2C buyers have more knowledge and more control over the sales process than ever before. Traditional marketing methods do not account for these changes and still rely on the sales pitch. In contrast, Inbound marketing embraces this new behaviour, seeking to influence potential buyers during the research phase.
2. The Internet has allowed people to discover purchase information however and wherever they like
People now have the capacity to research their big purchases - or little ones for that matter - on the internet. As a business, it is imperative you are in situ wherever people are gathering their product or service information.
Obviously, you cannot be everywhere but you can cover at least the most important bases. Most people will turn to Google as a first port of call. You need to be blogging so you can target the keywords people are using in search to investigate the topics relevant to your business.
Keyword research is critical. But once you have chosen them, you need to know where to use them on your website. Our on-page SEO checklist will inform you how to use these keywords effectively, you can grab a copy here.
Of course, people also search for information on the major social media platforms. Depending on the nature of your business a LinkedIn Company Page or Facebook Business page (and preferably both) would be prudent. People often chuck these together and hope for the best. Not the best way to go. A better way is to use one of our checklists or blog posts. Here are a few places you can go to get some help, as required.
- Facebook - our Facebook checklist for Business will help you set up your page correctly. In addition, you should read our eBook on the type of content you should be posting to Facebook. Combined these will help you make an impact with your Facebook efforts. You may also consider using Ads on Facebook, which can be a minefield, but again help is at hand.
- LinkedIn - setting up your LinkedIn business page is not as straightforward as business owners think. Of course, once it is set up you will need help using it to your advantage. We have an in-depth blog post on how to use LinkedIn for businesses covering a number of topics. Please browse through this at your leisure.
3. Inbound Marketing helps you to stand out in a noisy world
Inbound Marketing depends on you answering pertinent frequently asked questions in the content you produce. Many business websites will have an FAQ section or page, but these tend to be tucked away somewhere and rather unfocused. The format is usually a long list. And, really, are people really going to scroll through everything to find the point of interest? Do you?
So instead, or, in addition, use FAQs as the basis of blog posts. This approach relies on you being helpful rather than pushy. There's no pestering or interruption because people are actively searching for the answers. You simply provide them.
And when these prospects are ready to buy YOU are top of mind.
Infusionsoft points out that most small business sales are actually made on the 7th, 8th or 9th contact, BUT most business owners give up on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th contact.
If your content is doing the work for you, influencing the prospective buyer, by the time you speak to them, they are considerably warmed up and well-qualified.
But, more than being persistent and providing contact points, being helpful consistently makes you stand out. You're different from all the rest, who are purely selling.
By focusing only on the selling, the competition is, in effect, excluding those people who are not yet ready to buy.
They are ignoring those prospects who are researching. With this knowledge, you have a competitive advantage over the rest.
But if you also ensure that the answers you provide are presented in content that is remarkable, you will stand out even more. So the answer is to be memorable, spectacular and innovative, not just different. And certainly not DULL!
Inbound Marketing. Use remarkable content to turn strangers who have never heard of you into customers.
Find out more about this powerful approach to digital marketing by downloading our free ebook below.