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Inbound Marketing for Professional Services

April 19, 2016

How Inbound Marketing Works for Professional Services

inbound-marketing-professional.jpgNew to the term inbound marketing? According to HubSpot,

Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring, and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. 

The concept of inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing in a number of different ways.

Namely: “Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.”

Inbound Marketing has 4 stages: Attract, Convert, Close, & Delight

Attract – We don’t want just any traffic to our site, we want the right traffic. We want the people who are most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, happy customers. Who are the “right” people? Our ideal customers, also known as our buyer personas. Buyer personas are holistic ideals of what your customers are really like, inside and out. Personas encompass the goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services; they also share personal and demographic information. Your personas are the people around whom your whole business is built.

Convert – Once you’ve attracted website visitors, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information. At the very least, you’ll need their email addresses. Contact information is the most valuable currency there is to the online marketer. So in order for your visitors to offer up that currency willingly, you need to offer them something in return! That “payment” comes in the form of content, like eBooks, whitepapers, or tip sheets – whatever information would be interesting and valuable to each of your personas.

Close – You’re on the right track. You’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, but now you need to transform those leads into customers. How can you most effectively accomplish this feat? Certain marketing tools can be used at this stage to make sure you’re closing the right leads at the right times.

Delight – You’re on the right track. You’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, but now you need to transform those leads into customers. How can you most effectively accomplish this feat? Certain marketing tools can be used at this stage to make sure you’re closing the right leads at the right times.

So how do accountants, engineers, doctors, tax specialists, IT service providers, and companies that provide management advice benefit from using inbound marketing?

#1 - It Helps You Establish Thought Leadership & It Helps Educate Your Audience

Creating great content that educates and provides answers to problems builds both thought leadership for you and your firm. Attractive content (stage 1 of the inbound process) that helps visitors builds your reputation for being an expert in your field. Use blog topics that are meaningful to your buyer personas in order to attract the right visitors to your site.

#2 - It Helps You Build Relationships With Your Customer

Once you’ve attracted the right visitors, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information. Creating attractive content that educates and provides answers to problems builds your reputation for being an expert in your field. This builds trust and entices visitors to fill out a form to get more information about the topic you are blogging about.

Successful inbound strategies are all about remarkable content, and social publishing allows you to share that valuable information on the social web, engage with your prospects, and put a human face on your brand. Interact on the networks where your ideal customers spend their time.

#3 – It Helps You Build Trust

When in the consideration stage of hiring a professional service, we all look for a trusted advisor. And we typically choose someone we know good things about over someone we know very little about. Having trusted social contacts refer a service to us is a contributing factor to our purchase decision.

Bear in mind that visibility helps to build trust too. The more we hear about a company – in the news, in an article, as a publisher – the more accustomed we are to its name and the more familiar it feels to us. Remember that blogs and the use of targeted social media help to keep your firm in your target market’s eye and mind!

Using Inbound Marketing for Your Professional Service

The more professional services use inbound marketing, the better their chances of having interested parties reach out to them for service. Rather than having to constantly knock on proverbial doors to find those dream buyers, qualified buyers reach out to you for more information!

Using blogs to inform, educate, and build expertise in your field benefits all concerned. The additional use of social media to let the “buzz” of your knowledge and good service can speed up the buying process by building your reputation as a trusted and reliable source.

For more about Inbound Marketing, try this resource

ABC's of InBound Marketing eBook 

Susan Grewell
Written by Susan Grewell

Susan has a Marketing degree from Penn State and experience running her own small graphic design company. She is completing her certification in Web Design and Development. At Leading Results, she employs her writing, editing, graphic design, and web experience to help round out their very talented team as both the lead graphic designer and secondary web developer.

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