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How to turn strangers into prospects with inbound marketing

The concept of converting a stranger into a prospect is like a first date. The initial phase of inbound marketing is called the ‘attract’ phase, after all.

For any business following an inbound plan, the 'attract' phase of inbound marketing is perhaps the most important one to get right, because it’s the point at which your customer can most easily walk away.

That’s why it’s good to get those digital surfaces as polished as possible because they're your magnets for gaining new leads which kick off the customer journey.

Unpacking the jargon: from leads to evangelists

Throughout the customer journey, a stranger will take on different labels at different stages:

  • Lead: A stranger who has shown interest in your company
  • Prospect: A lead that has been qualified
  • Customer: A prospect who has made the purchase
  • Evangelist: A loyal customer who continues the 'attract' cycle organically, by promoting the brand through word-of-mouth

Of course, each of these has a position within the customer journey. If you're not familiar with the customer journey according to inbound, here's a whistle-stop tour:

  • Attract: Piquing the interest of strangers via engaging content marketing, social media, and SEO
  • Engage: Identifying and presenting solutions that relate to customer pain points
  • Delight: Supporting the customer with their purchase and providing quality service to prompt a return purchase or promotion

It's a journey

Going from 'attract' to 'delight', isn't a straightforward or predictable journey. Just like every journey, there are unexpected bends, twists and turns. Lead A will have completely different pain points from Lead B. It's all about combining a coherent marketing and sales strategy to address these pain points and find a clear solution

But to get to even reach this stage, you've got to 'attract' a stranger into becoming a prospect.

Attract is a tri-vector of:

  • Social posting
  • SEO techniques
  • Content marketing

To be honest, they’re all equally as important as one another in different ways. And depending on the nature of your business, customers may be more likely to attract to your business through content than they will through social.

However, to anchor strong customer retention and turn your customer into an evangelist? Social media is your best friend.

Get the ball rolling with a strong social presence

Having an active social presence can catalyse conversions and turn strangers into leads within a matter of seconds.

The most amazing thing about social marketing? You can position the antenna to almost anyone, anywhere, at any time – for very little cost. That means you can access a large sample of strangers who match your buyer persona, who are all suddenly within reach.

Your social platforms can establish some valuable customer-brand relationships. More and more businesses are enabling smoother customer journeys by using social platforms as grounds for both sales and marketing. Why digress from these virtual locations if that's where your leads are?

'If content marketing is the personality of your inbound campaign and SEO is the backbone, then social media is the glue that holds everything together' (Flitpod, 2022).

And even if a lead is simply a lead, each new follow-on social media is a victory. This means you’ve piqued the interest of a stranger, and you can use your digital canvas to paint a picture of your brand using consistent posts. The more exposure, the more likely these followers will follow their curiosity and connect with your brand.

Engaging with similar accounts is a great way of doing this too. Partnering up with other similar brands and creating collaborative content is also a popular method of cross-marketing. It provides the opportunity for both brands to access similar audiences through shared exposure.

Keep the ball rolling

A strong social presence is not only good for attracting customers but retaining them. Upholding a strong social presence throughout the customer journey means you can empower your prospect when they purchase and thank or reward them after the purchase is complete.

Essentially, once you’ve jump-started your inbound strategy with quality content and consistent posting – your customer journey will run like a well-oiled machine. Ultimately, it all boils down to an active online presence and a virtual demeanour which is as approachable as possible. This makes sales approachable and available, giving customers a comfortable space to interact at any stage of their journey.

Inbound Guides

Inbound strategies are pretty simple, but there's more to it than this. We've created a useful inbound marketing guide that provides valuable insights, including:

  • Making connections and starting conversations
  • The three steps in the buyer journey
  • The final stage in the funnel and buyer journey

The inbound marketing philosophy helps you to learn the best and easiest ways of identifying and converting buyers.

And our guide is free!

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