How Inbound Marketing is Like Online Dating
While inbound marketing is a fairly recent phenomenon, those who would like to learn more about how it works should think of it as similar to online dating. Inbound marketing is all about knowing what you've got going for you, knowing what suitors want, and connecting with them. Yet the beauty of inbound marketing is that it's similar to an online dating experience. What would you do to attract an ideal suitor? You would likely do things to heighten your odds of finding just the right person – and avoid the things that would attract the wrong types or cause you to have to settle for whoever shows up out of desperation.
Let the Customers Connect With You
Inbound marketing is trending into the mainstream primarily because it pulls in customers rather than pushing the company's creations or services onto them. Rather than blatantly marketing a product on a billboard, radio ad, TV spot, magazine or other medium, inbound marketing relies on subtlety. This marketing aims to connect with "true loves" rather than merely anyone. While conventional marketing is a bit like blind dating and endless number of mostly strangers, hoping to stumble into Mr. or Mrs. Right, inbound marketing is all about finding qualified "prince charming" candidates without kissing so many frogs. The people who are most likely to use your company's product or service are the ones who inbound marketing is designed to attract.
In keeping with the online dating analogy, posting an extremely attractive photo of yourself would likely have you sifting through a big pile of email messages with no way to tell much about the respondents other than what they decide to tell you. Pretty much no better than the crapshoot of blind dates. Most of us know better than to go this route and instead start being a bit more strategic in the approach. Maybe start by exchanging some information first – rounding out your online profile to include your likes and dislikes, hopes for the future, etc. If you could have this information, you would likely be more interested in responding to people who spent some time learning about you rather than just showing interest sheerly based on your photo.
Just as how and where you craft your online dating profile would help to sort out the list of potential suitors, a well-planned inbound marketing strategy has prospects actually doing a lot of the work for you. With inbound marketing your company's website delivers an experience that will be most attractive to those who are actually qualified to buy from you. It starts with the marketing personas. Once identified, your website is built around their needs as they relate to your products and services.
A Prudent Use of Your Time and Effort
Inbound marketing is also like online dating in how it makes connecting more efficient. Why bother approaching hanging out at the bar hoping to find the right match when the majority of people around you likely won't be that life partner you're looking for? Rather than advertising on mediums that reach the masses, with a watered down message to make the most of this non-specific audience, craft and deliver an inbound marketing strategy to reach those who are the most likely to become loyal customers. The math simply no longer works.
Today it is often a waste of time, money, and effort trying to reach large numbers of people sifting for those who want or need your product. Focus on those who actually have an interest in what you provide with a variety of inbound marketing tactics and you'll recruit long-lasting customers.
Make it Easy to Connect
Inbound marketing strategy is about making it easy for these qualified prospects to reach out and connect in ways that has you generating qualified leads. For example, social media can be used to deliver particular types of information. Just as you might select an online dating platform centered around your hobbies and interests you can build your social content to be a gathering place for your prospects. Simply by sharing content in these channels that speaks to the needs of your ideal customers you will attract an audience of them. Similar to an online dating platform centered around particular criteria, your social media following generates a pool of people who have greater odds of having interest in doing business with you at some point.
Dating Before Marriage
Just like the online dating scene, connecting through inbound marketing is not a fast track to the altar of measurable gains. People who become leads through inbound marketing strategy will need a courtship before marriage approach. If your sales cycle is long so will the online process of generating leads and customers be. In time, if you've done a good job of building out your online strategy, the pool of potential "marriage" candidates grows to deliver a more steady flow of people who say yes to your proposals.