Inbound Marketing is one of the most modern marketing styles available today. It brings principles of old school media outlet marketing into the new wave of media consumption today. The older style of marketing involves promotion via traditional media outlets such as television, radio, and newspapers. Inbound relies on driving traffic to your website with inbound traffic through content creation and sharing in new age channels such as blogs, social media, and email. While Inbound's processes are different than traditional marketing, the groundwork and motivations for action are actually very similar.
My Last Job
The last company I worked at, Anki Inc. is a robotics and technology startup based in San Francisco, CA. Their latest product, OVERDRIVE, is one of the hottest toys this holiday season. OVERDRIVE is a car video game brought to the real world played through iOS and Android technology integrated with robotics. It can be described as “Mario Kart” on your living room floor, which you control through your iOS or Android device. I was brought onboard the Anki team during their first product launch.
Much of the marketing was traditional outlet based, such as television appearances by the CEO of the company on NBC, TIME magazine articles, and a spot on the Ellen Degeneres Show. There was a lot of web marketing going on as well, such as technology blog features, Youtube, and other social channel posts, but at the time I was there the traditional outlets were the main point of the VP’s strategy.
What I’ve Learned
Learning Inbound has allowed me to see what my former employer was trying to achieve and how they have adjusted their strategy to improve sales. First, it seems as though they have stressed web marketing more and driven their brand image towards the 8-12-year-old demographic. I have noticed that Anki’s brand image has changed from a tech company that is breaking ground in Artificial Intelligence through gaming to a fun children’s toy.
Inbound marketing builds and organizes target demographic information into fictional characters called buyer personas. Buyer personas have a name (usually an alliteration), photo, media consumption habits, daily schedule, and consumer habits. For this product, we could say that our main buyer persona is a ten-year-old boy who is into video games and loves his iPad. Let’s call him Timmy the Ten-Year-Old.
Unfortunately, since OVERDRIVE is an expensive product, Timmy can’t buy this himself, so he asks for Santa Claus (or his parents for Hanukkah) to buy it for him. As you may have guessed, the Holiday season is a very busy time for Anki. This leads us to another buyer persona that is imperative for us to hit, Patricia the Parent. Patricia is an affluent 38-55-year-old mother, who wants to provide her son with a cutting edge present that will blow him away. Timmy has been a good boy this year and definitely isn’t getting coal in his stockings!
Convert Strangers into Visitors
Now that we know our top two personas, we need to use Inbound to convert these strangers (our personas) into visitors on the Anki website. Timmy spends his days after school playing video games and watching YouTube videos on his iPad of Xbox and Playstation gameplay. Since he is 10 he is not a Facebook or Twitter user. A good way to get traffic driven to the site for a 10 year old is to create video content on YouTube that is targeted to video game players, and young children. With YouTube’s suggested video autoplay function these videos can be played next in line after a video game video. It would be smart to send a popular video game reviewer a free product to review on YouTube so that Timmy can see the product in action. The Video game reviewer provides a link to the website on the video and in description, and Timmy can choose to click on the link and enter the site, where he can look at all the cars and track options Anki offers, get excited and make his mom want to buy the product.
Our next persona, Patricia the Parent, is a technologically savvy mom who has social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. During the Holidays, all moms are trying to find out what the hottest gifts are. She still engages with older media outlets, where she watches her favorite television nightly, and reads magazines so counting out promotion there is not ideal. Although online and other promotional outlets are great ways to generate visits from Patricia, the present is for Timmy; if he is the one excited about OVERDRIVE, then Patricia will definitely become a visitor on the website.
Convert Visitors into Leads
Now that strangers are converted into visitors, the visitors need to be converted into leads. This stage is directed at Patricia the Parent. The best way to do that is to create landing pages that have forms on them which allow them to access further information that helps them make a decision on whether or not your product solves their problems. Anki’s current site has a form right on the home page, which once they enter the information they receive the Anki Newsletter and access to exclusive deals and discounts to those who give their information.
Convert Leads into Customers
The next step is to close those leads and convert them into customers. Now that the leads are willing and able to buy your product, they need to be guided to your webstore. Your webstore’s intuitive and seamless design is imperative to making it easy for a consumer to buy directly from your website. Once in the checkout/order review screen, it is important that the customer is not distracted from completing the transaction; navigation bar can be eliminated, and the purchase forms should be simple and easy to fill out. The more distractions and time it takes to fill out your form, the less sales your website will convert. In addition to your own webstore, you want to have multiple locations for purchase, especially during the holiday season. Patricia doesn’t necessarily have time to do shopping in-store and likely has both an Amazon and Ebay account, so making the product available in both those webstores are crucial, along with other popular websites like Best Buy, Apple (if your product is iOS compatible), etc. Anki OVERDRIVE is currently available on all of these sites.
After the sale is complete, you want to keep your customers delighted. The more delighted they are with your product, the more they will talk about it on the internet and help you sell more. To do this, it’s important to keep a constant flow of social media presence with followers. A good strategy is about two tweets per day, and two LinkedIn posts per day depending on the product/audience. It’s also crucial that social profiles are optimized with the appropriate imagery and brand devices to maintain a professional and buyer persona driven brand. Another great way to delight customers is to send them emails. Not spam emails, simple, thank you emails after purchases are made, and emails with exclusive discounts and deals on your product, or a heads up email letting them know when a sale is coming up. Everybody likes a discount, especially if they love your products in the first place.
Use Inbound Marketing to Drive Results
These strategies built around developing personas, setting goals, attracting visitors, converting visitors to leads, making leads into customers, and delighting those customers are excellent ways to utilize inbound marketing to help your business expand. Put in the right hands, the power of Inbound Marketing can yield great results in a wide variety of industries.