“Inbound marketing” is when you use your website, blog and social media to get your customers to come to you.
There’s a good reason that more and more big names in solar power, wind power and energy efficiency — from SolarCity and SunEdison to Siemens and Vestas to Ameresco — are doing inbound marketing online.
Mainly, because it works.
Based around a website connected to social media, modern inbound marketing is a big change from the bad old days of sales and marketing when you had to hunt down customers through outbound tactics that everyone hated:
- Forcing your salespeople to make cold calls
- Sending out spammy blast emails to lists you bought
- Printing and mailing out expensive direct mail letters and postcards
Make someone happy
By contrast, inbound marketing is a breath of fresh air for everybody. That’s why the three most important people at any solar, wind or efficiency company love it:
- Company management
Inbound marketing that uses the Internet to integrate marketing and sales, is more effective and costs less than traditional outbound sales and marketing.
- Potential customers
Inbound marketing doesn’t interrupt people with phone calls at dinnertime, ads in their favorite shows and other intrusive marketing they didn’t want in the first place.
Even the most seasoned phone salesman hates doing cold calls. How many hangups and unreturned messages can he take before it starts to hurt his morale? Doing Inbound marketing means he doesn’t have to feel sleazy anymore, but can now feel proud that he’s being helpful.
Turn strangers into visitors, leads and customers
Inbound marketing is basically about creating content that your audiences want to see, as the diagram above from our friends at HubSpot shows.
Content can include blog posts, photos, videos, podcasts, infographics and e-books that provide helpful advice and useful information about your industry. In this way, your marketing goes beyond sales pieces to promote your products that potential customers may see as disposable to become content that is valuable in itself.
It’s an indirect or soft sell kind of marketing that people prefer over the traditional invasive marketing that most people today find obnoxious.
The soft sell is the best sell
Of course, creating helpful content may seem like a nice public service. But how will it get you more sales?
It’s easy to see if we take an example.
Let’s say your company is a residential solar installer serving North Carolina. When a homeowner does a web search for “solar panels Asheville,” if you have content on your website that matches these keywords — such as a blog post on “How to Get Solar Panels in Asheville with No Money Down” — then they’ll find your content through their search.
Then, if you have a call-to-action offer at the bottom of the blog post offering a free in-home consultation, then even if the homeowner wasn’t originally looking for your company, he may decide to contact you for a quote.
That’s how you turn strangers into visitors to your website and then into leads and prospects. Ultimately, it’s also how you get more customers who are so satisfied that they become ambassadors for your company.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group