By now, almost everyone in the marketing field and probably half of all business owners have heard of inbound marketing. Here at Solomon Caw, we are trying to educate the other half of businesses as well as local charities in our area. Everyone at Solomon Caw has a strong passion for local nonprofits; it is our belief that connecting local businesses with local charities is perfect for implementing inbound marketing strategies.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing in several ways, but what we love and admire about inbound, is that inbound is not intrusive. The idea behind inbound marketing is to create awareness about problems businesses face and offer solutions to those problems without actually selling. Prospects who are educated about their problems and solutions are much easier to sell to in the future and the buyers of today want to be educated. Brian Halligan, founder of Hubspot, Inc., coined the term inbound marketing in 2005 to describe a better way to educate consumers.
Step 1: Educate (Attract)
The first part of an inbound marketing strategy is to attract a prospect. This is done through education and that education does not need to be, nor should it be, specific to your products. The education stage should appeal to everyone who might use your product. Here at Solomon Caw we attempt to educate local businesses on the importance of, not only this innovative marketing strategy, but of giving back through connecting with a local charity. We call this Community Investment Marketing (CIM) and this strategy fits incredibly well with the inbound strategy. One great example of this is charity:water. According to Lauren Drell, in an article in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Marketing Insights “charity:water has been disrupting the traditional marketing strategies for fund raising. In fact, the organization has no marketing budget and instead relies on sharing stories and images from the field on social media.” charity:water is one of the few exceptions to the Solomon Caw Marketing local charity rule as 100% of donations go to water projects around the world.
Step 2: Enlist (Convert)
In the world of HubSpot, the second stage of inbound is conversion. We like to think of this as enlisting our prospects in our Community Investment organization. When a prospect begins to realize the benefits of CIM, and how the inbound marketing methodology can make CIM work, they have been converted. The tools we use to enlist are landing pages with well designed forms, or specifically worded CTA’s that lead to awesome offers. This allows us move on to the close.
Step 3: Connect (Close)
Halligan calls the next phase of the methodology the close, we like to think we have made a connection. Our team has connected with a new client and hopefully that client will be connecting with a local charity. This stage of the process can be worked on through email, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings. This is when the content strategy begins to take form in the minds of our account managers; it is usually a time of excitement, new relationships, and when lots of amazing energy creates wonderful things. The connect stage is also when the company earns the money that keeps the team in coffee and candy.
Step 4: Exceed Expectations (Delight)
Once a prospect is a client, the SCM team strives to exceed the expectations set during the convert and close stages. We do this by listening, not only to our clients, but to their customers. We also track any charitable donations or events from our client to their chosen charity. Social media posts, blogs, and other content created for our client may include links to or the logo of the chosen charity or charities. One of our clients uses Facebook check-ins to raise money for a local monthly charity, while another helped sponsor the Downingtown Multisport Festival which raised funds for some local organizations.
The inbound methodology is working; this doesn’t mean that traditional forms of marketing are to be ignored, but with so much distraction out there, isn’t it time to give the people what they want?