5 Ways in which Inbound Marketing can Simplify the Buying Process
Marketers share two theories regarding products and / or services with a long and complex buying cycle: either they are a dream or a nightmare! On one hand, there is a greater gap between marketing efforts and the actual purchase - for example, in B2B the decision process of buying a hardware or software can take weeks, or months!
After all, we are talking about a method that requires adaptation to business processes until it manifests tangible benefits. On the other hand, it will always be difficult to measure which marketing activity has had the most influence on the sale, or prove that what we are betting on is the most profitable.
Complex buying behavior is also an indicator of highly involved consumers who recognize significant differences in the benefits of their buying process. However, there is good news! A complex buying process can be seen as a longer opportunity for the communicative process. Having more time to communicate means having more chances to influence potential customers to buy and that's call Inbound Marketing.
Turn a complex buying process into a dream with these 5 tips:
Create a lead scoring system
The path traveled by consumers is not always linear, especially if they are faced with a long and complex buying process. Evaluating and scoring the (pre) disposal of your potential customers may be the solution. Build on demographic and behavioral data and ensure that your customers receive content based on their profile and interests.
How to do this without resorting to pencil and paper? Technology gives a helping hand! There are numerous marketing automation solutions in the market that allow marketers to score certain attributes or actions and automatically trigger marketing campaigns when a certain score is reached.
Practical example 1:
Customer X is interested in a SaaS solution that your company offers. The first time customer X visits your company website and completes an information request form, your marketing automation solution recognizes this behavior and assigns a certain score to it.
On the other hand, it knows that its target is small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), with a number of effective employees between 50 and 200. Thus, when customer X indicates that his company has a number of 55 effective employees, you automatically assigned more points.
The logic is to define internally a number of points indicative of when a customer is "ready to buy" or "ready to have business contact". When this score is reached, the system alerts you to a new stage in the buying process: and then, your sales force kicks in! Goodbye cold calling!
Be SMART: Share relevant and contextualized content
Depending on the behavior of each customer, you can share custom content at each stage of the purchase process. Making this kind of real-time customization allows you to share highly relevant content and within the context of each step of the purchasing process of your potential customers. Your website may reflect different types of content depending on who you are viewing and what has already been viewed by a particular person.
Practical example 2:
A photo course website can display content on different levels of training, depending on the digital behavior of potential students - whether they have been screened for starter workshops or searched for advanced course information. The idea is to change the content and elements of your page depending on the interests of the visitor - highlighted by the interactions you had with certain content.
All this has a name: SMART Content (or dynamic content)!
Nurture your Leads!
"Dating" your Leads, especially if you are potential customers, is key to turning good marketing into fantastic marketing.
Remember: A lead will not show interest in the product and/or service your company is offering until they understand how your solution can be useful to solve the problem they have. Different types of campaigns can be made according to the objectives -
- Initiate a relationship (Awareness),
- Educate the lead in the process of converting to opportunity and/or customer (Consideration),
- Close the sale (Decision),
- Promote loyalty (Delight).
A dating strategy is going to be your best tool for managing relationships with your customers in the long run - a must-have if your goal is to keep the interest of your clients along a complex buying cycle.
Once you find an effective and tailored way for your business to score your leads and offer them personalized content, nurture campaigns will ensure that your marketing stays relevant and follows the steps of the sales funnel.
Practical example 3:
Imagine that your marketing automation solution realizes that customer X, from practical example 1, has spent a lot of time analyzing a specific SaaS solution. As a result, customer X will be introduced into a specific dating campaign - for example, email marketing - that offers videos, testimonials and opinions about that solution.
Throughout the campaign, warnings are posted each time X client opens an email, downloads or subscribes to certain content. Then the technology gives the feedback by itself: if customer X continues to be involved with your content, they will progressively receive more and more specific material. And will never receive or see repeated content. If they have watched a particular video through email marketing, they will no longer encounter it on a next visit to the website.
Use the right metrics
Marketing is not all about brainstorming and good ideas though, you need to analyze the investment you're making. Any manager seeks to measure the returns and results to identify whether an investment paid off or not. This is where the famous ROI (Return on Investment) comes in.
During a complex buying cycle, it is essential to continuously obtain indicators of your performance and know if you are allocating resources where it is most profitable. If we do not want Management to have a reason for complaint, we need to work with the most appropriate analytical tools.
But first, ask the right questions:
- Based on what criteria should I target my clients?
- What patterns can I find in their behavior / demographics?
- Which of my campaigns are working better?
- How should I allocate my marketing budget?
Of course, you have to have some qualitative insight to decode hard data numbers. But a marketing automation solution can also help with that! The answer lies in the dashboards, the famous control panels that aggregate information and, at the same time, give us a comprehensive view of the whole picture. There are fundamentally three major advantages for the business use of dashboards:
- Monitor the performance of key indicators;
- Promote intelligent visualization of information;
- Conquer recipients for the monitoring process. A real management tool!
At a time when interpersonal competence seems to be key to understanding and achieving results, we need to ensure that our clients remain in constant interaction with the business team of your company. The best way to make this happen is to be proactive and regularly follow-up with your customer portfolio - send emails and make calls to see if everything is running according to the product or project, disclose new solutions or possible discounts and even send souvenirs at special moments.