How can inbound marketing impact your customer’s happiness level? The answer might be in the reviews. The growth of social media has led to the growth of consumer power. If a customer loves a product, they have the power to recommend it to friends and family. If a customer felt like they didn’t receive a five-star experience, they have the power to let you know.
Due to the pressure of maintaining a positive online reputation, many brands are beginning to dedicate a customer service specialist to manage and monitor their online reputation. In fact, in 2018, 78 percent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. If the customer holds the power to your online reputation, then shouldn’t they be the focus of your marketing strategy?
Out(bound) with the old, In(bound) with the new!
The way we communicate is evolving, and so is the way marketing operates. Traditional outbound marketing meant fighting for your potential customer’s attention. Inbound marketing differs because it is customer-centric. By generating content curated to tackle the needs and problems of your ideal customers, you appeal to qualified prospects and build confidence for your business.
Why is this important? Because “customer success is your success!” Reviews and customer opinions matter.
Eighty-one percent of people trust advice from friends and family over advice from a business. 69 percent do not trust advertisements.
Customers are your greatest marketers!
Funnel vs. Flywheel
The inbound marketing process is known as a flywheel, while traditional outbound marketing is thought of as a funnel. This funnel starts with marketing, then trickles down to sales and ends with customers as an afterthought. The issue with the funnel is that the only way to grow is at the top because growth is confined to what you can put in for marketing efforts, which are becoming increasingly expensive.
Meanwhile, the flywheel places customers at the center. The customers are the driving force. The basic definition of a flywheel is a mechanism that stores energy and releases it. In a car, a flywheel is designed to keep an engine running even when you aren’t “pressing the gas pedal,” which is what your content is doing online. The flywheel concept forces you to really take stock and invest in your customers in order to achieve growth.
Flywheel Elements: Attract, Engage, Delight
The flywheel puts the customer at the center with three elements based around the customer’s experience with your brand. The goal is for your content to keep attracting, engaging and delighting customers. There are three parts that make up the flywheel components:
In this stage, through relevant and helpful content you attract potential customers, they “enter your flywheel” and interact with your company for the first time.
In this stage, through conversational tools like chat and email, you engage with potential customers to promise continued value. In return, this influences the decision-making and purchasing process as early as possible.
In the final stage, you delight customers by continuing to act as an understanding guide and expert in your field. In return, it gives customers the potential to become advocates for your company.
Inbound Marketing Content Ideas
The content necessary for creating a successful inbound marketing approach needs to pull rather than push. It needs to educate rather than interrupt, and it needs to provide value rather than to sell or persuade. Below are five unique ways to stand out while providing inbound content.
1. Facebook Live
With Facebook Live the possibilities to offer inbound content are endless from expert interviews to meet the team specials and more! Customers watching also have the ability to comment and hit reaction buttons to what is happening during the live video. Through this tool you can provide customers with helpful knowledge in a creative and interactive way.
2. Blog-Like Posts on Instagram
Instagram is a visually driven platform, but when helpful information is turned into a post it can be a game changer. Simply feature creative graphics, created on a program like Canva, which contain blog-like information in either a carousel or single image that provides customers with tips, knowledge, or tools. It’s a growing way to grab a potential customer’s attention.
3. Free Trials
Who doesn’t like FREE? By offering a free trial of an online service or e-book, you have a chance to catch your potential customer’s attention with a more in-depth story than a short social media blurb, and the customer feels they are getting something of value in return. The most efficient way to offer a free trial is to have potential customers enter their contact information in a form. That way you have the ability to engage with them in the near future.
People love content that is ready-to-use and a template can really appeal to a customer. For example, a social media manager can offer a free calendar template for planning posts. An accountant can offer a simple excel template for formulas. The most efficient way to offer a free template is to offer the download after a potential customer enters their email in a form. That way you have their contact information to engage with them in the future.
Podcasts are becoming extremely popular as many people are on the go! Fifty one percent (144 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 44 percent in 2018. Potential customers can listen to podcasts while commuting, working or just on their own time. A podcast gives you a unique chance to humanize your brand through your voice and stories. According to Podcast Insights, Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94 percent are active on at least one – vs 81 percent for the entire population). This is important to note for the delight stage of the flywheel.
The Best Marketers Use Flywheel
We are entering into the review revolution where customers have more power than brands do. Your best marketers are your customers.
By building a flywheel, you can take advantage of the power of your customers’ influence through inbound marketing. Using a flywheel strategy you can transform your company by doubling down on customer success. It’s not easy and it can be costly to make this change in your organization, but it’s an important one to get right.