Having a big email database is nice, but if it isn’t being used as a tool to transform those addresses into clients, then a massive database offers few benefits aside from making you feel good. In fact, a database of nine highly engaged and relevant people is preferable to an unworked database of thousands.

Inbound marketing can take your database with, “lots of potential,” and transform it into a living breathing client nurturing machine.

The Inbound Marketing Law of Three – Create Three of Everything

You’ve already identified your target client, so now you need to assist them through the buying process. Marketers have learnt to their detriment that simply selling aggressively is a great way to annoy everybody and reduce your database down to people who happen to want to buy your exact product at this exact moment. Content marketing and inbound methodology tell us that every buyer will go through three stages of purchasing, or five if you take into account strangers and promoters.


In this case, as we already have their email address, we are working from a being a visitor, to a lead and then finally becoming a customer. Marketing materials relevant to the mindset of the prospective customer at each stage of the process are required. In the beginning, as a visitor, they will seek general information about you, your expertise and the industry.
Moving to the second stage and becoming a lead, means that the prospect is now evaluating options, and making pre-purchase decisions; white papers, competitive comparisons and more in-depth information about how you do, what you do can be useful this point.
Finally, as the prospective customer moves to the final stage, they want to be sure they are making the right decision. Case studies, success stories, and leveraging client advocates are all powerful at this stage.

Offers

Ensuring that any e-books, free trials, case studies or other offers are aligned and relevant to where the prospective customer is.

Forms / Landing Pages

Making sure that landing pages use wording that speaks to each specific stage in the buying process. Having an introductory landing page for someone who is downloaded your materials, and spoken to one of your sales reps is not conducive to advancing through the process.

Emails and Automation

Failing to introduce yourself adequately in the early stages of the sales funnel, or reintroducing yourself every time because “every email looks like that,” is a surefire way to annoy your audience.

Map the Inbound Marketing Journey

When we first opened Knight, our expansive team of two used Post-it notes and a spare wall to create a map of all our offers, forms, landing pages, emails and anything else that had to do with content. Then, we separated them into three areas – suitable for visitor, lead or customer, and ended up with three piles of content. Then, we mapped the logical journey from visiting our site, through to signing up to our newsletter or downloading an ebook and entering a sales funnel, and finally making a purchase. If it’s difficult for you to understand how a customer moves from learning about your business, to purchasing from you, then it will be even more difficult for them. Remove any content that isn’t relevant, and focus on creating stuff that your target audience will fall in love with. Remember to use language that will appeal to them, and measure the results.

Work Your CRM

Every customer relationship management system should have a simple process for defining your prospects and customers. If yours doesn’t, then you’re probably using an Excel spreadsheet and not a very good one.

CRM systems fail because they aren’t worked effectively by those who rely on the information they produce. Your CRM should be connected to your email database (preferably as a native product) and any changes that are made, or information that is downloaded should be noted in the CRM automatically. If it’s not, then it should be done manually on a regular basis.

Communicate regularly, and with High-Value

Email is still the most predominant form of business communication in the world. Save your best content for your regular newsletter, or email updates to your audience and give them more than they could ever expect. Make sure that all the content you send out is designed for your target audience, and that all offers are clearly communicated, including their value and benefits. Guide and manage your visitors through to being leads, and as you learn more about them and find ways to solve their problems, you can use your customer offers to move them towards a buying decision. Remember, all of this is based on value, so everything you produce, from inbound marketing processes to the actual content itself and all of your communication should be of the highest quality, authentic to you and interesting to your audience.