In my last article I wrote about how companies and brands in parts of the developed world are taking to inbound marketing to create more deep and meaningful relationships with their customers. We also took a look at ZMOT or Zero Moment Of Truth, a terminology coined by Google to identify the time prospects spend on researching, reviewing and debating products or services before they buy them.
Instead of using the old methodologies like buying ads online, sending endless amounts of email shots and waiting for leads in the hope that they will covert, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people towards your brand. By attracting people towards your brand, you are getting exposed to the possibility of engaging, converting and finally delighting them in the process. Confused? Read on…
To explain further I will use the principles laid out by HubSpot, one of the world’s leading providers of marketing automation software and the inventors of the inbound marketing concept. The folks at HubSpot believe that the inbound marketing is the best way to turn prospects into customers and promoters of your business. The principles are: attract, convert, close and delight. If you are interested so far, all you have to do is Google this and you will find out more. But I know that half of you will expect me to explain the concept so I will attempt to explicate it in the best way possible.
First, is the Attraction phase. Here your customers are strangers who have not heard about your product and are in the process of doing their research either via blogs, search engines or looking at reviews on social media. It is vitally important that your brand has a share of voice on this platform because this would be your prospects’ first interaction with your brand.
In the second phase you would try to Convert them to followers either through forms, calls to action or landing pages with quality content. In this phase ensure that you have forms and landing pages that are optimized for conversions. Short but interesting videos, easy to fill forms with minimal fields and a clear call to action are an absolute must for success.
After this phase, your prospects are then funneled into the Close stage whereby you use tools like CRM to learn their buying history and patterns. This enables you to understand your prospects better and give them a more customized customer journey before you close them.
Finally, once you convert and close them as customers, it is now your responsibility to delight them with excellent service so that they spread the word and help drive in even more business. Critically, the delighting happens only once you’ve closed the customer and are able to provide him or her with stellar service that is memorable.
All these principles need to work in tandem in a synergistic approach to ensure that prospects and customers are getting top notch services that will make them become brand ambassadors of your product and recommend them to others.
While the ZMOT concept was meant for Google’s own advertising platforms like AdWords, marketers in general can take and apply this concept to pretty much every form of marketing that is digitally available out there and that includes social media too; the reason? Thanks to the abundance of information out in the digital realm (I’m beginning to think like Thor now) and the fact the more and more companies are moving from a single or multi- channel approach of marketing to Omni-channel channel, it makes perfect sense. Ensuring that there is sufficient amount of product or company information, be it in terms of product specifications, how to videos, reviews, likes and comments in turn keeps the product or service within line of sight or at the very least, at the top of mind in your prospects’ heads.
If you do it right and have a healthy balance of interesting and engaging product information as well as sales literature, hopefully more of the former and less of the sales pitch, your prospects’ confidence in your brand builds up and sooner or later they end up buying your product.
But what is significantly different in this situation is that if they were to simply buy your product based on your sales pitch alone, your brand would not have built a relationship.
There would have been a significant improvement in customer relationship when they buy your products and services after having learnt about your brand and industry.
Like I said in my previous article, the main principles of inbound marketing are educating customers and building trust so that your brand maintains a top-of-mind retention. By aligning quality content with your prospect’s interests, your brand will be able to naturally attract inbound traffic that you should be able to attract, convert, close and delight over time.
Barry Rodrigues is Head of Marketing & Product Development at Future Communications and an associate advisor with the International Advisors Group in Kuwait. He has worked for industry leaders like Agility and National Aviation Services in various marketing capacities in addition to delivering marketing projects for the banking, hospitality and petrochemical verticals. For comments, please email Barry at [email protected].