Last week we dealt with the theme of Reputation. Still in this desire to gain customers and sustain its growth over the long term, we will address today the second step of our sales tunnel which is theAcquisition.
Acquisition is the second issue featured in our carousel last week.
It deals with increasing traffic to your website.
Once your target knows you and your brand DNA, it's time to direct them to your sales channels.
There was a time when companies used a mass strategy in the hope of reaching as many people as possible, which worked perfectly. Today, with the changes in the business model due to the Covid-19 pandemic and digitalization, we are rapidly moving towards a specific strategy focused on the customer, their characteristics and individuality.
What is specific marketing? It is about adapting your offer, and consequently your actions, according to the prospect and his position in the buying cycle. Indeed, depending on where the prospects are in the buying process, their needs are not the same. This path can be broken down into 4 stages: discovery, evaluation, decision and finally purchase. It is therefore easy to understand the need to adapt and segment your prospects in order to propose the right offers.
Thus, taking into account the individual needs of your prospects gives you a definite advantage in attracting them. A person who is about to buy a good or a service will not have the same needs, demands or expectations as a person who has just started his research and who, therefore, is only at the information gathering stage.
A question arises about which marketing strategy to adopt: should you go out and get the customer or let them come to you?
Faced with the digitalization of the world and the growth of digital communication channels, marketing is diversifying and integrating this new data in order to adapt its strategies and this is where digital marketing is born.
Digital marketing can be broken down into two main strategies: outbound marketing and inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing, long used as the only digital marketing because it is more "traditional", is based on a "push" marketing strategy. The vision is to go and find the customer by highlighting his good or service in order to push a large audience to consumption.
The approach here is that of prospecting and canvassing. The tools of this marketing are emailing, television or radio advertising, participation in trade shows, advertising displays in the streets and/or public transport, telephone canvassing or door-to-door.
Used to excess, this aspect of marketing quickly becomes annoying for prospects who feel harassed. But outbound marketing should not be demonized and its effectiveness in communication, conveying the company's brand image and encouraging prospects to buy should be recognized. Moreover, the results of outbound marketing are visible in the short term.
Very useful to make your company known to as many people as possible, the latter has seen its "opposite" emerge in recent years: inbound marketing.
As you can see, inbound marketing is in the opposite direction, namely, letting the prospect come to you. Feeling sometimes attacked by too much content pushed towards him, the customer today likes to be able to decide when to ask for information and on what subject. To do this, you have to offer enough quality and high value-added content, free of charge, so that the leads come to you by themselves.
The tools that allow such a result are the SEO strategy (which we talked about last week), the content marketing on different platforms according to its personas and their customer journey, as well as the implementation of call-to-action.
This strategy therefore makes the link with the theme of Reputation mentioned in our previous article, with that of Acquisition here treated.
The call-to-action allows you to engage the prospect at the stage of his choice and for the subjects that suit him. Thus, the future customer will show up by himself because your content will have attracted him to you.
The effects of this strategy are visible in the medium and long term in order to make your growth sustainable. Its advantages lie in the fact that the prospect does not feel chased by the company but comes to learn about your value proposition because it has interested him. In addition, rather than overinvesting in advertising for example, the content already created will always be there to attract the next prospects and will generate traffic to your site.
This saves you time and production.
This method allows you to increase your traffic, which is the case for 92% of the companies using it, according to a study conducted by Hubspot, and to observe a decrease in costs.
This approach is now globalized. In fact, the figures of May 2019, from the same study, prove the craze of marketers for this strategy. 64% to 79% of companies worldwide, already at that time, favored inbound marketing.
On the other hand, it is not negligible to say that undertaking such a strategy requires resources, either internally by dedicating one or more employees to this task, or by outsourcing to service providers. We can also ask ourselves the question of the visibility by its prospect. Indeed, having valuable content does not automatically guarantee that you will be visible to your target and it is at this point that the question of using outbound tools arises.
Let us first analyze the dynamics of the two approaches in order to compare them.
Outbound marketing can be seen as intrusive when used abusively. The way it was used a few years ago is no longer seen as optimal. It interrupts to deliver its information whether it is via unsolicited emails, pop-ups, or TV ads. Here, the prospect has not sought to be contacted or to have information on the subject, it is imposed on him. The prospect is not in a buying mindset and can quickly feel overwhelmed by too much information. They are not willing to buy and we see a waste of time for the future customer as well as for the sales person, plus a risk of offending the prospect.
That's why outbound is now used differently in order to get its full potential.
Inbound marketing is based on a less aggressive model that lets the customer express himself when he wants on the subjects that attract him. This way, they are already much more involved in the purchasing process and the conversion rate is positively impacted. In addition, it frees up the salesperson's time to focus on closing deals instead of canvassing. In this configuration, the prospect asks to be contacted and gives his contact details with a view to following up the purchase process, unlike in the outbound mode where he may give his contact details only in order to cut short the situation.
However, it is not enough to make your company known at the very beginning and to convert the prospect into a customer at the end of the process.
Thus, the two concepts are not at odds with each other, it is even advisable to combine them because they are actually complementary. Inbound marketing allows to initiate the customer relationship in a non-intrusive way with techniques such as SEO or social networks, with a strategy of high added value contents. Thus it is part of the Reputation theme aiming to give the company visibility and credibility in the eyes of future consumers. The strategy is concretized thanks to call-to-actions in order to incite prospects to contact your teams for example.
Once the future customer has initiated contact, it is finally necessary to go and meet him and therefore to switch to outbound marketing with a contact via email or telephone.
To take a look at the buying journey of a future customer, we can ask ourselves where inbound and outbound start, and if one and the other can coexist.
We can either separate the actions according to the positioning on the purchase path and therefore use inbound at the discovery and evaluation phases, or combine the two at each stage of the path because the objectives they fulfill are not the same and are complementary.
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The two strategies are therefore linked to each other and we can observe a reorganization of the sales-customer relationship. There was a time when outbound was used alone and aggressively, whereas today it is the final stage of the customer journey initiated by inbound.
The logic of combining the two meets Salesbytech's 3B model of sending the RIGHT message, at the RIGHT time, to the RIGHT prospect.
It is therefore important to be efficient from the beginning of the sales tunnel in order to obtain better results later on.