Inbound marketing can make a salesperson's job easier - that's easy to understand, but let's say you're a CEO or business owner. Is there something in it for you - something that will make your job easier, too?
As a CEO, sales is only one area of your concern. You're also concerned about customer service, brand building, effective use of budget, talent acquisition, employee performance, improving operational effectiveness, and much more. Inbound marketing may not be able to prevent market changes, political unrest, and other challenges to your business success, but there are many ways it can indeed, make the job of a CEO much easier. Let's look at six ways this is so.
1. Better Customer Service Through Social Media
People are coming to expect customer service via social media, especially on Twitter. A report by American Express revealed that customers who have used social media for customer service are willing to pay up to 21% more for excellent service. That's quite a premium! Those who haven't used social for customer service spend just 11% more. Tap in to the power of social customer service for happier customers, higher sales and even lower customer service costs, as online interactions tend to be quicker than telephone calls.
Empower a team from your customer service department to handle customer service issues on all social media channels. Though at some point the interaction may have to be taken offline, make sure the representatives address all concerns and compliments on the channel where they originated. Responding to a "Hey @your_company, where's my stuff?!?!?" with "@angrycustomer Please call 800-xxx-xxxx for customer support." is only going to frustrate an already irritated customer.
Also, customer expectations for a speedy response are demanding - with many expecting an answer in 15 minutes or less. Make sure you supply sufficient human resources to meet that demand and that there is a crystal-clear social media policy in place to ensure anyone acting on the company's behalf conveys the company's values in every single interaction. While thoughtless Tweets can be deleted, they often still live on in infamy!
2. Brand Building Through Blogging, Social Media and Email
Your website and logo creation are just the beginning of your branding efforts. What you really want is for your brand to be recognized as a thought leader in your industry as well as the provider of the best products or services for a particular need.
Becoming recognized as a thought leader requires that people get some insight into your thoughts! When you keep an active blog full of useful, informative information, people will come to see you as an authority and their trust in your company and its offerings grows. When they see your expert content on your blog and on social media, they start to recognize your company through sheer repetition of exposure!
What's more, people will start to share your content on social media, giving your business more and more credibility among industry experts and their own audiences.
While you do not have to write all the content yourself, if you choose to outsource blogging or social media, make sure the agency or department you select gets a deep understanding of, and maintains close contact with your company. You or a qualified designate should provide insight and ideas for topics and give the writer some idea of your take on these topics in order to maintain a consistent voice and philosophy.
3. Effective Use of Budgets with Detailed Reporting
Inbound marketing done right always includes detailed reporting. You'll see just what you're getting for your investment in human resources and ad spend. You'll also see where adjustments can be made to make the most of what is working and scale back or rethink what isn't.
4. Talent Acquistion Through Social Networking
Especially where there are shortages in qualified workers, social media can be your best talent-finding tool! A company with a strong social presence can expect a tremendous response when the call goes out for "Help Wanted." Because you've built your brand and people know who you are, you'll get a better-qualified group of respondents, as well. People who have come to know and like your brand online will share your job postings on social media, too.
On a smaller scale, if you and your employees have built your own strong social connections, particularly on LinkedIn, some of you may know of qualified candidates who may be open to employment opportunities.
5. Enhanced Employee Performance and Productivity with Social Media, Blogging and Lead Generation and Nurturing Tactics
We've already discussed the ways social media can help customer service provide better and less expensive customer support, but your other employees can benefit from inbound marketing techniques, too.
Blogging, lead generation and lead nurturing help the sales team concentrate their efforts on only the best leads, those that are informed and ready to make a purchasing decision. With advanced add-ons like HubSpot's Signals, sales people can even be alerted real-time when their leads are browsing your website. When you integrate sales and marketing with inbound, communication and results improve dramatically.
6. Improve Operational and Development Effectiveness with Social Media
The insights gathered via social media channels not only help marketing determine what kinds of content to cover in the blog, in video and other content, it also gives a glimpse into how well (or not) your services, products and features are recieved, how delivery and organization is working from a customer perspective, and where changes are needed. Customer comments and request on social media can lead to improved service and product offerings, and even help you spot potential issues early on.
So, while your sales and marketing departments may be looking out for their own interests when it comes to implementing inbound strategies, be assured that doing so will make your job easier, too!