Businesses have been hearing about inbound marketing since 2006 when Hubspot coined the term. In contrast to outbound marketing strategies such as advertising or direct mail used to interrupt prospects to grab their attention, inbound marketing focuses on tactics that earn it.
How are businesses earning the attention of their prospects? Earning attention from prospects is a four-stage process:
- The first step is to create compelling content and personalized experiences to attract a steady stream of qualified people interested in your business.
- The second step is to convert people who visit your website or business. This step is about getting people to make their interest in your business known. On a website, every time a person submits a contact form, clicks on a specific call-to-action, or visits one of your targeted landing pages, it can be counted as a conversion.
- The third step is closing the deal and turning those interested prospects into customers.
- The fourth and final step is called delight, and it’s about keeping your customers engaged after they make a purchase. There are many ways to do this, for example, online surveys or royalty programs.
Driving people to your website is not enough. After prospects get there, you need to keep their attention, provide support, encourage them to take action, and help them connect with your business. The end goal of inbound marketing is to pay close attention to those interactions and create opportunities to connect with your audience.
To build compelling content, every business needs to have an in-depth understanding of its target customers. This is what marketers refer to as the process of creating a target persona, and you can do this by reviewing all the data you have about your customers, from website analytics to sale records.
After you have a clear understanding of who your audience is, you will be ready to get started making the necessary adjustments to strengthen your inbound marketing strategy:
- Claim your local listings. The way people find businesses now is primarily online. Make sure your company invests the necessary time to claim and manage your business’s website with online directories like Google My Business. It’s important to pay special attention to the accuracy and consistency of your listings to make sure prospects can easily find and reach your business.
- Make the most of your website. According to Clutch.co, two-thirds of small businesses rely on their website to connect with their customers. Keep your company’s website updated with relevant and useful content. Use multi-media content, like videos, blogs, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, and success stories to attract searchers and rank well on search engines.
- Access your inner writer and blog. Companies who blog receive 97% more leads to their websites than companies that don’t, according to SevenAtoms. The best blogs are those that contain engaging and informational content that speaks to your target audience and answers their questions. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
- Engage with social media. The relationship between social media and search engine rankings is not clear, but what most marketers have concluded with their research is that it does matter. In addition to helping with your website’s visibility, it’s essential to build a loyal fan base. More than half of businesses who have been using social media regularly for two or more years have been able to establish thought leadership. Sharing engaging content on social platforms, and quickly responding to customer concerns and feedback is a great way to start and keep the conversation going.
- Be exclusive with email. When all of your best efforts start to pay off in visitors, fans, followers, and downloads, integrate them with an outbound strategy, like email marketing. Continue to deliver relevant content and exclusive offers as new relationships with prospects develop and convert to sales.
Inbound marketing delivers solutions and opportunities to attract and convert prospects. Need help formulating or executing your inbound marketing strategies? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today!
With the holidays just around the corner, many businesses are looking for creative ways to let their customers and employees know they care. Larger companies with substantial budgets have standardized strategies to reach as many people as possible, but smaller businesses have a significant advantage when it comes to showing their clients and employees some holiday appreciation.
Never underestimate the business impact of excellent customer care. Herein lies a rare advantage that favors smaller operations. A new study revealed 61% of millennials expect to shop at small businesses in 2019. One of the reasons behind this is they understand the positive impact supporting local businesses has in their communities. Another reason is they enjoy the personal customer service they experience at a small business.
Customer and employee appreciation strategies don’t need to be costly. They simply need to be creative and consistent. Is the retention worth it? Absolutely. Ian Altman, a contributor at Forbes.com, says: “It’s always a good idea to show clients your gratitude.” And according to a business satisfaction report by Knack “Employee gifting can play an important role in employee retention in a tight labor market.”
Appreciation and recognition initiatives should be a must for every company. When formal and informal
recognition is built into your business, it can help you retain customers, improve sales, and retain top performers in your organization.
If you are looking for budget-friendly options to recognize customers or employees this holiday season, check out these ten creative ideas.
Customer appreciation gifts and retention ideas:
- Send a card. Custom cards or postcards are always thoughtful and often unexpected. Use them say thank you after a customer makes a large or repeat purchase or sends an important referral your way. While email may be efficient and easy, nothing tops the touch and feel of a personalized, handwritten note on high-quality stationery or a notecard with your logo embossed or foil-stamped on the front.
- Bring lunch. For companies dealing with business-to-business clients, bringing lunch to their location can be a great call. You can use this as an opportunity to bring some branded promotional items like reusable lunch totes, water bottles, or travel tumblers.
- Extend the goodwill. If you want to go above and beyond for a client, invest in a customized gift. This appreciation gift can be something reusable your client can continue to use. For example, a branded crystal candy dish filled with treats can create an opportunity for your sales team to refill on subsequent visits.
- Get personal. If your customer data includes birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant dates, you can build in recognition beyond holiday-related occasions with personalized offers and gifts. Do you have any clients who are into fitness? Branded pedometers or exercise mats are a great way to show them your company cares.
- End on a high note. Year-end holidays are a prime time to send customer appreciation gifts. Printed wall calendars are still well-received despite having many other electronic options. Other welcome desk accessories include journals and portfolios or electronics, like power kits or Bluetooth speakers.
Employee appreciation gifts and retention ideas:
- Be specific. Acknowledging an employee of the month is good, and it can be even better if you include a branded gift as a reward. Go for trendy promotional products such as: drawstring backpacks, headphones, or travel blankets.
- Encourage peer recognition. Enable your employees to acknowledge one another for going the extra mile or being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or golden tokens redeemable for office perks.
- Put it in writing. Recognizing people in writing can help you raise morale and encourage productivity. Make a point to give shout outs and reward those employees who embody your company values. Send a company wide written communication highlighting their personal stories and achievements.
- Tie rewards to company goals. Get the most from your employee appreciation program by linking some awards directly to your goals: increasing sales, improving customer service, or identifying cost savings. Traditional plaques and crystal trophies can instill pride in your organization.
- Remember remote employees. Reinforce the sense of connection of remote workers by including them and leveraging your online capabilities. There are many ways to do this, for example, feature them on your social media pages, your website, or include them in your monthly companywide emails.
Before the year ends, try some of these small investment ideas; in time they will pay big dividends for your company. Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location offers many promotional product options to support your customer and employee retention strategies.