Inbound marketing & current status in Sri Lanka
Inbound Marketing refers to gaining more customers organically rather thank through buying them over.
It is an online marketing strategy that includes marketing activities that help people find your information at their time of need.
Actually inbound marketing is a system that follows a 4-step process and uses 5 key strategies. A key plus point of this strategy is cost saving as inbound marketing is significantly less expensive than outbound marketing.
4 steps of Inbound marketing methodology
Step 1 – Attract
Getting the right traffic to your website is key in this stage. This involves creation, optimization and promoting of the content. Content refers to an offer to encourage people to sign up or make a sale, a piece of knowledge shared through eBooks or reports, or your brand promotions shared through videos, blogs or social media accounts.
Content needs to be targeted to specific target audiences. This is where investment needs to be put into building customer profiles or personas. This needs to be detailed enough to answer questions such as;
§ Where does my customer work?
§ What is his job title?
§ Why does he need my product/ service?
§ What influences him/her to purchase?
Remember also that any online content should be linked to your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy through making sure your content is visible in search engines. The key idea is to be found at this stage through minimum investment.
Step 2 – Convert
Getting visitors to your website alone will not make you money. All these visitors need to be converted to leads that will generate income in the near future. Conversion is done through tracking variables such as;
§ Number of registrations on the site
§ Number of enquiries made through the site
§ Number of actions by clicking on Call-To-Actions placed on the sites
Your content is key to the convertion and should attract visitors enough to make an action which can be measured as a “conversion”. You can use Calls-to-action (CTAs) for this purpose (Like “download now” buttons), and you also have to focus on user friendly forms, landing page design and useful content.
Step 3 – Close
Once you have to collect the right information from the right people in this stage and then come the most important part of converting the leads into customers. This can be a direct purchase or a B2B sale made through interaction overtime. Workflows are usually adopted to help manage leads that are existing in different levels. For example a lead that showed interest can be emailed a string of emails that can encourage action such as purchase later in the sales cycle.
Step 4 – Delight
Leads who are happy to be converted to paying customers are added to this process but not forgotten. The idea is to keep them further interested, through either keeping them on the monthly updates emails or giving them special offers to increase their loyalty.
In this stage, what’s important is not forgetting your customer after he makes the purchase, but to keep in contact with customers via email or telephone follow-ups. Reporting can also show you any loop holes in your strategy, which offers and promotions are working better than others.
Current inbound marketing status in Sri Lanka
BQu researched some companies in Sri Lanka to learn that there is not much adoption of this technique due to lack of knowledge and resources for creating content. The few companies that do adopt it are mostly targeting customers based outside of Sri Lanka. The lack of implementation by most companies, including multinationals signifies the lack of understanding of the concept, or even could be due to lack of technical knowledge in house for implementation.