Inbound marketing is not just about attracting people to your business; it's about attracting the right people to your business – those who will become leads, and then customers, and ultimately happy promoters of your brand.
There are tools for every stage of the inbound marketing process, and the first phase — attract — is all about getting suitable prospects in the door. This is usually done by offering valuable content and using a variety of marketing techniques to ensure that B2B buyers find your business, including blogging, SEO, and social media — but for the moment, let’s leave that for another post.
Because before you start anything, in order to attract the right customers, you obviously need to know who your ideal customers actually are — right?
For the inbound customer-centric approach to work, you need to know who you're actually trying to reach. The best way to learn about your ideal customers, their interests, and their buying habits is to develop buyer personas, which are simply representations of your ideal customers. Buyer personas are based on three essential practices – research, identifying trends, and creating persona profile stories. This research and analysis allows you to uncover the mindset, goals, challenges, and motivations of your potential buyers.
Once you've determined who your ideal customers are, the next step is understanding the buyer’s journey — which is the active research process your potential prospects go through before making a purchase. This journey, which is usually divided into three stages – awareness, consideration, and decision--, helps you tailor your inbound marketing and content to create meaningful interactions with your ideal customers (buyer personas) at every stage of their process (buyer's journey).