Editor’s Note: The following article is by Todd Goldmeyer, marketing manager at Adrian Steel:
As a field service manager, you know how important marketing is to the overall success of your business. Marketing allows you to build brand awareness, engage with your target audience, drive traffic to your website and, ideally, generate sales. But many businesses are still using an old model of marketing known as outbound that pushes products or services to the customer. This strategy sounds effective, but a major drawback is that communication is one-way.
In recent years, there’s been a fundamental shift in consumer behavior as people are more in control of what information they receive, and how they receive it. That’s why it’s important for businesses to move toward inbound marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing tactics are those that are found by customers, not forced upon them. Marketers rely on earning people’s trust by creating and promoting valuable content, starting conversations and building relationships. For field service businesses, it’s especially important to set your business apart from the pack by creating two-way communication.
There are a few specific inbound strategies that you can implement to get results. Say you own an HVAC business and are looking to attract new customers in a particular service area. Your website attracts page views, but you want those users to schedule an appointment or make a purchase.
Step 1: Attract Potential Customers with Compelling Content
The first thing you need to do when implementing an inbound marketing strategy is to re-evaluate your website content. Content is king when it comes to marketing, and the higher quality your content is, the more likely you’ll attract consumers. You can accomplish this goal by creating targeted, shareable content that answers your customer’s basic questions and needs. Some of the most effective inbound marketing tactics include:
- White papers
Write a blog post about the importance of water heater maintenance, for example, and include an infographic diagraming different aspects of a typical water heater. Share this content on a social media site like Facebook. Not only will the information reach your current audience, but it makes the content instantly shareable facilitating engagement and initiating a conversation with potential leads.
Step 2: Convert Web Traffic into Leads
Now that you’ve increased visits to your website, it’s time to convert that traffic into leads. One strategy to use for generating leads is to include a “freebie” with your content. For example, at the end of the water heater maintenance blog, include a link to a free “Water Heater Buyer’s Guide.” The content should not only provide additional information to the customer, but it should also lead them to the next inbound marketing tactic: conversion tools.
Conversion tools allow you as a business owner to receive valuable contact information that you can then use for lead nurturing. Developing relationships with consumers at every stage of the sales funnel will take these people from leads to customers. Some conversion tools to consider include:
- Call-to-actions: This is an instruction to the user to take some sort of action. In this case, the call-to-action could be a button that says, “Click Here Now for Your Free Guide.”
- Landing pages: Ideally, when the consumer clicks on the call-to-action button for their free “Water Heater Buyer’s Guide,” they’ll arrive at a landing page to fill out information and receive the guide. Your sales team can then use that information to start a conversation.
- Contact database: Set up a database to house all of the information and keep track of the leads your working on converting.
Step 3: Turn Leads into Customers
You’ve attracted consumers to your website, and you’ve generated leads; the next step in inbound marketing is to turn those leads into paying customers. One way to do this is through marketing automation. Marketing automation utilizes the latest software to prioritize and execute your marketing efforts. There are a lot of marketing automation options out there, so choose the one that’s right for your business. One of the benefits of marketing automation software is that you can tailor a strategy to the needs and lifecycle of each lead. You can accomplish this in a few ways:
- Email marketing: Once your leads fill out the form on your landing page and download the “Water Heater Buyer’s Guide,” you can take their contact information and send them a series of related emails. This will help you to test marketing messages, which in turn determine which strategies are successful and which are not.
- Feedback surveys: The best way to understand what your customers are looking for and what they want is to ask them. Feedback surveys are designed to help you understand what your customers are really looking for and what services you can provide that will be most beneficial.
Next Steps: Personalization
Now that your leads are customers, what’s next? Inbound marketing doesn’t stop once the consumer becomes a customer. Continue to market to these newly found customers by segmenting your contact database with extremely targeted marketing campaigns. Send personalized emails with your customer’s name. Continue to publish the right content in the right place at the right time, so that your marketing becomes even more relevant to your customers.