When it comes to inbound marketing, the full process can be a long one – it involves laying down strong foundations through content, getting it in front of someone, and nurturing that lead to becoming a customer.
Fortunately, there are a whole bunch of tools that can help make a buyer's journey run a little smoother, or quicker, or both. Marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot can make a big impact on the ability to develop and nurture leads and we use it to power a number of the marketing operations we undertake for our clients. Come and learn all about it!
What the heck *is* a buyer's journey, anyway?
It's a pretty simple concept dressed up in a fancier-sounding term, if we're being honest. But it does hone in on one of the most important factors of inbound marketing – purchase decisions are rarely instant.
If you think about it, it makes sense. While we might buy things on a whim sometimes, it's more likely that we'll think about it and research it first. This is definitely the case for B2B purchases, where budgets need to be approved, PO numbers need to be raised, and all that sort of stuff.
A buyer's journey usually follows three simple steps:
Awareness The buyer-to-be realises they have a problem. For many of our own clients, it could be that they're not making enough sales through their website. Why could that be?
Consideration The soon-to-be buyer has figured out what the cause of their problem is, and is working out how to solve it. Sticking with our original example, it could be the realisation that their webstore is a bit outdated – which means it's time for a new one! Who's out there that can build such a thing?
Keeping that buyer's journey ticking along, nice and easy
Buyers don't just stumble along their journey – they'll usually need nudging in the right direction.
Attract Someone's aware they've got a problem – and you're pretty sure you've got the answer. So let them know about it, with content that addresses that problem. Blog content is good for this – there's the opportunity to cast a bit of a wider net with keywords and terms that people are likely to be searching for. In our example, it could be a blog called "How to boost sales through your website".
Convert Your helpful content has helped that buyer-to-be work out exactly what their problem is – and that puts you on the list of contenders to help them solve it. Make it easy for them to get in touch with calls to action (CTAs) – directing them to a contact form that captures their email address, for example, and encourages them to talk to you about their specific problem. Sticking with our example, an option on the form under the "reasons for enquiry" could be "I'm interested in a new ecommerce store".
Close You know what they're looking for, and you've got their details too – it's time to reach out and seal the deal. Targeted emails, whether automated or individually crafted, can direct them to more content that will help them make the decision to choose you, or can be a bit more direct and discuss their requirements directly – to go back to our example one last time, discussing the extent of the products they want to sell online, and what they want out of their ecommerce store.
So, how does HubSpot make it all easier? Huh?
We're big fans of the platform's features – and what they can do for inbound marketing. It's a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, but we find it can be particularly useful for companies who are fairly new to inbound marketing, and want to know that everything will run smoothly while they get to grips with the fundamentals.
It does a whole lot of different things, but there are a few key features in particular that help users to keep buyers dashing to the end of their journey.
Ok, this sounds a bit creepy, but it's just what the internet does these days. Once visitors to your site have told you a bit about themselves through a form – whether it was to contact you or to download some tasty premium content – HubSpot creates a little buyers profile, which will then tell you a bit more about what they're doing while they're visiting you. Which pages are they viewing? Which products or services are they interested in? This will help you personalise interactions with them much more, leading them along the buyer's journey in a tailor-made carriage. So to speak.
Speaking of tailoring things, wouldn't it be great if people who'd visited your website weren't faced with the same old welcoming messages next time they came back, and instead saw something that cut to the chase a bit quicker, moving that buyer's journey along at a speedier pace? Well, funny you should mention it. Setting up smart CTAs and custom landing pages – where repeat visitors see something more relevant to them – is incredibly simple through HubSpot.
Nurturing client leads can take time – and sometimes a lead that seems more promising may come at the expense of a handful of others that appear less so. Get that balancing act wrong and you can waste a lot of time on a keen bean who changes their mind last minute, while interested leads who just need a little persuading go elsewhere. HubSpot provides a lot of time-saving automation tools – people can automatically receive thank-you emails when they express interest, for example – so you can keep everyone on board with ease. It doesn't mean a loss of the personal approach, either – when combined with the lead tracking features discussed above, automated processes can be surprisingly bespoke.
Knowing what works and what doesn't is really important for keeping potential customers and clients moving through that buyer's journey – you don't want to keep pestering people with content that's been tried, tested, and roundly rejected. Analytics tools are an essential part of any marketing platform, and HubSpot is no different.
Last, but not least, another fun buzzword! Omnichannel basically just means "all the channels" – so when we talk about omnichannel marketing, we mean marketing that considers everything from blogs and search engine optimisation to social media, mobile, video, etc., etc. as part of the approach. It's really straightforward to manage a load of different kinds of media channels through a HubSpot platform – and while its Twitter manager may not have as many features as TweetDeck, for example, it has the fantastic convenience of having a LinkedIn manager, blog CMS, email builder, and all sorts of other bits and pieces just a click away. And, of course, this means it's easier to track leads across all of these different channels – all without having to remember twenty different logins.
So, there you have it – just a selection of the ways in which HubSpot can be used to drive our clients' customers through the buyer's journey with a minimum of fuss.
If you want to chat about HubSpot, or any other aspect of inbound, then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you!