11 May Calls-to-action: The one step your inbound marketing plan is missing
Storytelling is the catchphrase of the day (or maybe year? decade?). It’s easy to get caught up in the features and benefits of your widget or service, but you can only write about those so many times before your audience is bored or no longer interested. Once may even be too many times for some of the most technical of features of your products. But if you aren’t talking about your products, what are you talking about and how does that even benefit your business?
Remember what really matters to your customers. They want to know how your product or service will solve their problems, save them time and money or make their life easier. Nobody can tell that story quite like someone you’ve already helped. One of the best companies we’ve seen making a great splash at storytelling is Quickbooks.
Think about it. Who really wants to read about exactly how a program can solve your payroll needs. We don’t care. We just want it done. When we think about the finances of our business, what we really want to know is that we can succeed. Quickbooks uses the stories of their current customers to inspire prospective customers.
Maybe you have some great stories already on your website or social media and you’re getting some good traffic on your website or reach/engagement on your social media pages. How does that turn into new business for your company?
Most businesses miss this one step that turns their storytelling prowess into an full fledged inbound marketing campaign. It’s the call to action. The pull to turn inspired readers into contacts and leads. It’s what makes up the basis of the inbound vs outbound marketing comparison.
Successful B2B companies interested in inbound marketing start with a great, compelling story. They pull it all together with artwork, pictures and video and then use the internet to share it with the world. But that’s not the end. We don’t just pray we see an uptick in business. A full inbound marketing strategy moves beyond the story to turn your readers and viewers into leads for your sales team.
Let’s go back to Quickbooks website. They have several videos telling the stories of their customers. When you play the video they pop up an autochat pane and at the end of the video they include a “free trial” call to action.
For software-as-a-service (SAAS) producers, this free trial is a natural way to gather leads and it’s really effective. But what about companies who aren’t SAAS? How do you use your website to drive lead generation?
The precepts are the same, although the offer may be different. Think beyond the story you are telling and into what action you want readers/viewers to take in the end. You have a captive audience, make the most of it.
As an inbound marketing agency, we see several types of “opt in” offers work well:
- Video trainings
- Free trials
- Free evaluations
- White papers
- Research reports
Making sure your offer is something of interest to your clients is the key to using it for lead generation. For Quickbooks, their small business clients want to know how the software “feels” before they buy it. Your customers may need something else to convince them to give up their contact information. Find out what it is and make the offer.
The final piece of any great plan is to have some amazing data management and sales follow up. Not every lead you receive will be ready to purchase. They may or may not be ready to talk to your sales team. That’s why it’s important to determine the differences between those leads and create multiple plans for following up depending on the quality of the lead. Bring your sales team into this marketing plan to talk about what makes a good lead for them, how you can capture the information they need and what are red flags for non-purchasers.
An effective B2B inbound marketing plan can provide your sales team with fresh leads who are already familiar with your company and have a need for your product or service. Think like your customer and give them what they want. It’s a sure fire way to turn your company website into an inspiring place your customers and prospects WANT to visit.