Every so often we sit down to answer the questions we get asked most often about the inbound marketing methodology.
This week we’re focusing on the attract stage. So, without further ado…
Is the attract phase the most important of the four inbound marketing methodology phases? Most of our actions seem to be attract activities.
All of the four phases carry equal importance for a successful inbound marketing strategy, but it’s not unusual, at least initially, to have a strategy which favours attract.
Think about it: if you’re not attracting enough leads into the top of your sales funnel, there could well be little point focusing on converting them, for example.
Zero leads in is going to result in zero conversions, no matter how good your convert activities are.
So, particularly if you are new to inbound marketing, don’t worry too much if you focus heavily on attract initially.
But remember: at some point you are going to need solid Convert, Close and Delight processes within your business.
The inbound marketing methodology is designed to work in complete harmony and if you ignore one element of it you could end up with plenty of leads but no additional customers, for example, or close plenty of new customers only to see them leave because you are undeserving them.
Make sure that, in time, your activity is well spread across all of the inbound marketing methodology.
What are the key activities in the attract phase of the inbound marketing methodology?
Attract activities are all about getting strangers to become visitors to your business. The below are where we typically see the biggest gains for business.
- PPC advertising (social or Google). With a well set-up landing page, advertising can fix your attract problems very quickly, allowing you to press on with the rest of your strategy.
- SEO. Whilst PPC is a great ‘quick win’, businesses who rank well organically for their target keywords typically see better returns over time. Don’t ignore medium-to-long term SEO activity, whilst you focus on quick win PPC.
- Latent existing channels. If your social or email audience hasn’t heard from you in a while, then these activities can essentially be part of attract. They’re not quite ‘strangers’, but they’re certainly not familiar with who you are and what you do. Let’s fix that and get your contacts into your inbound funnel again.
What should I avoid doing during the attract stage?
In general your strangers are going to be at the awareness or possibly consideration stage of their buyer’s journey. They’re relatively unlikely to be at the decision stage, if they’re only just searching out new content and getting to know you.
This means that your content really needs to be as helpful as possible. 75%+ of the time you’re going to want to avoid selling your product and instead focus on addressing your audience’s needs and issues.
If there are some keywords around what you sell that you can hit with a product comparison, say, then this might be worth producing for those at the consideration stage. But by and large, your content needs to answer questions your strangers are going to be asking themselves, before they even consider whether your product is the answer.
How do I figure out what will attract my audience? I get the logic, but I don’t know what to write.
The better you understand your audience, the better positioned you’ll be to answer this question.
If you haven’t already done so, you should produce marketing personas. A marketing persona is a fictitious generalisation of your ideal or most common ‘types’ of client.
Common personas include ‘Marketing Mary’, if you sell to the marketing function in an organisation, for example, or ‘Managing Director Martin’, if you sell at board level.
A good persona takes input from every level in your own organisation, drawing on what you know about your existing customers to put yourself in their shoes. Good questions to ask during your buyer persona building include:
- Where are there pain points?
- Why did they buy from you in the first place?
- What issue were they trying to solve?
- What led them to you?
- Where do they look for trusted information on a topic?
When you have a persona down on paper, you should be able to better answer questions around what your persona wants and therefore what you can provide them with that will attract them to your business.
Everyone seems to have a blog. I’m blogging to attract more visitors but how can I make my blogs stand out?
You’re right in the first instance: there were around 7.5 million blog posts published in 2020. That’s a lot of blogs!
To stand out from the crowd some of the following are going to need to be true:
- You are offering a product, service or discussing an issue your product or service solves, that has rarely or never previously existed: your content will be amongst the first (and best) content on the product, service or issue.
- You’re writing about the product, service or issues in a completely new way to everything else that’s out there.
- You’re writing about a really niche part of the product, service or issues. It’s so niche that there’s very little content (or only poor content) covering this particular focus area.
In the first scenario you’ve hit on something golden. It’s unlikely, but great! Go for it. Make your content amazing and the space is there to be captured.
The second scenario happens when the first isn’t true. If there’s content already out there then yours needs to look at things in a new way. Offer solutions to solve problems that aren’t really focused on.
The third scenario is linked to using long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy. A long-tail keyword is, as it says on the tin, longer, focusing on the exact issue at hand:
- ‘Warehouse’ is a very short-tail keyword.
- ‘Warehouse management systems’ is still really a short-tail keyword: the primary keyword, perhaps, if you sell that product.
- ‘Warehouse management systems for small businesses’ is a longer-tail keyword, that you may have more chance ranking for and that could well attract the exact sort of audience you need. ‘Warehouse management systems that address stock issues’ is another good example.
In general, use the available marketing tools to help you to make your blog stand out and tailor it to your audience. Keyword.io is a good free keyword tool. AnswerThePublic does a similar thing in a very visual way. Just look at all of the suggestions for blogs you get if you’re trying to approach ‘portrait photography’ in a unique way, for example.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo. Do you publish content yourself, or need content for your own website? If you’d like to collaborate on anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.