In the past, the AIDA marketing model of attract, interest, desire and action was what most businesses used to acquire customers. While this strategy worked well for years, the Internet age has brought about significant changes. With online marketing being an integral part of most business’s campaigns, the AIDA model has become outdated and making proper adjustments is important for sustaining success.
Marketing in the Internet Age: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
One of the biggest changes in marketing has been the transition from outbound to inbound techniques. Outbound marketing refers to anything that involves business pushing its advertisements on consumers. Some examples are television commercials, print ads and cold calls. Inbound marketing refers to creating content that’s tailored to an audience and naturally attracts customers without directly pushing advertisements on them. It’s more focused on the needs of the consumer and gets their business in more of an organic way. Going with an inbound marketing approach offers several benefits:
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing
- 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles instead of an ad
- Content marketing produces 3x more leads per dollar spent than traditional outbound marketing
On the other hand, using outbound techniques where products or services are pushed onto customers has some definite drawbacks.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
- 200 million Americans are registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list
- 86% of television viewers skip through commercials
The New Sales and Marketing Funnel
The modern buying cycle is driven mostly by the customer. Today’s buyers will educate themselves about the solutions they need by performing their own research online at their own pace. By the time they reach out to sales, they will have completed a significant portion of the journey into the buying cycle and are very close to making a decision. This means that businesses now need to focus on creating enough content online to educate their customers about the solutions they offer and how they help the buyers instead of spending time finding prospects.
Understanding this phenomenon and getting your business on track is crucial for consistently generating fresh leads, making solid conversions and getting repeat business.
Creating an Actionable and Repeatable Process for the New Sales and Marketing Funnel
To be successful in the internet age, businesses need to implement an actionable and repeatable process that is aligned with the new marketing funnel. This can be accomplished in four steps:
It begins with attracting potential customers through content like blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics and engaging on social media. This is where many consumers will perform research and contemplate whether or not they want to make a purchase from a business. It’s important to understand that 80 – 90 % of visitors on your site are not ready to make a purchase right away. Accordingly, it’s necessary to provide leads with quality content that’s educational, interesting and entertaining.
Once you attract visitors, you need to convert them into leads through Call-To-Actions (CTAs). Tell them what they need to do next after they find you. Guide them through the content and provide a logical next step that helps them achieve their goal – which in most cases will be a helpful resource that they can download. On the website, use proper CTAs to tell them what they should do next and what they will get in return – premium content offers such as eBooks, whitepapers, etc. help with this conversion process. Ensure you have the right kind of offer that is relevant to your buyer personas in order to improve chances of successful conversions.
After qualifying a lead, gaining trust and proving that you have the product or service that they want, it’s time to close. During the nurture stage, some initial interest is established and rapport is built. By going through this “self learning” process, you should have a higher conversion rate than with traditional outbound techniques.
But don’t stop there. Your customers are you greatest assets, nurture them and get them to become your promoters. Why? Because:
- A happy customer can be your brand ambassador, your evangelist that can help promote your business for you. Word of mouth is still huge in marketing, and this is how you can get word of mouth going for your business.
- Upselling to existing customers is far cheaper than getting new customers. A happy customer will buy more from you, bringing in repeat business.
Measure and Repeat
Inbound marketing is an ongoing process, not a “send one and done” campaign. It is important to measure the success of your current campaigns, learn from it and improvise to get the best ROI out of your marketing campaigns. Utilize analytics to determine your ROI and gain a better understanding of customer behavior. You can tell where they’re coming from, which content they’re viewing, where they’re exiting, etc. As you accumulate more data, it can be used to fine-tune your online marketing campaign and ultimately increase your ROI.
Long-term Advantages of the New Marketing Funnel
The automated nature of the new funnel should reduce the amount of time you spend searching for prospects. Instead, you can spend more time creating helpful material that’s genuinely valuable to your potential customers.
Rather than merely having a one-time sale, you have a good chance of making repeat sales and potentially creating brand ambassadors who will promote your business. In the long run, this can greatly improve your reputation and ensure a bright future. Keep your sales funnel full by creating a winning inbound marketing strategy.