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The Principles of Inbound Selling
The goal of any marketing campaign is to create sales. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to think about sales techniques in the traditional way. Anything that helps create more customers really is a sales technique. With that in mind, inbound marketing can be considered a sales technique. However, it’s much different from the traditional form of sales in that it provides constant value for the consumer, and the idea is that this value (in the form of content, engagement, etc.) creates brand loyalty and leads to repeated purchases.
The simple way to think about it is this: inbound marketing draws people to your site because they are seeking something. That could be an article found via a search engine or an infographic that went viral on social media. The point is that they are coming to you — that’s the key here. People don’t seek out sales pitches but they do seek out information, reviews, facts and figures, etc. Inbound marketing creates that content and makes it available through numerous channels to draw people in, then continues to engage them so they choose your brand as a trusted name when they make a purchasing decision.
Because of this, there’s no old stereotype of a salesman hawking hyperboles. Instead, inbound marketing uses a strategy of identifying customer personas — general traits and goals of specific groups — then figuring out the best ways to communicate with them. In essence, an inbound marketing strategy gives each of these personas information and other valued content for free. Rather than selling based on the idea of a sales hook, the purchase is based on brand value and trust.
From that perspective, the pitch is about crafting content to connect with a persona. By identifying what they need and want, it can be easy to form a strategy of delivering content that hits these key targets. For example, if you are a plumber, you can create a series of SEO-friendly blog posts about handling various do-it-yourself fixes. This establishes you as a subject matter expert to build brand trust and begin meaningful engagement.
Sales is all about the conversation that convinces someone to become a purchasing customer. The traditional approach uses a message of “you should buy this because…” Inbound marketing takes advantage of today’s always-on digital society to use a message of “you should trust our brand because…” — and that trust ultimately creates the first purchase, but with the added bonus of long-term brand loyalty.