I have been known to be a thrift shop junkie. I love the thrill of finding a $5 vintage Coach bag that someone carelessly tossed aside, or a brand new, tags-on dress from one of my favorite boutique designers.
However, there are times when I wish that, instead of wading through pounds of 1970’s nastiness, there could be bright neon signs leading me to the exact item in the store that has the most value for me. Unfortunately, there is no magic button for this, no possible way that the shop will know exactly what I like, or what anyone else likes. If it did, just imagine the marketing possibilities that would result in happy owners and happy customers!
As a business owner, you likely wish that you could determine exactly what your prospects and customers are looking for. You can always ask them, but if done out of the blue, you may be posing the question in vain.
How then, can you better understand the needs of your customers?
The Inbound Fundamentals of Reciprocity
When it comes to inbound marketing, you need to remember that it’s all about what you can give your prospects that is of value to them.
How do you find out what matters most to them?
It all starts with what you have to offer your audience. Don’t think of marketing in terms of immediate sales, but in terms of building a good reputation with those whom you want to court. The best way to do this is to offer them something of value.
This can take many forms, but may include:
- Subscriptions to your blog
- Case studies
- Emailed tutorials
These are called attraction offers. It’s at this stage that you offer something of value in return for a tiny bit of information filled out on a form. Attraction offer forms should be simple, asking only for the viewer’s name and email address.
Of course, you want more information than this, but you’ll just have to be patient and wait for the right moment.
Once the attraction offer has been viewed, you can begin your tailoring process. You can then follow up with a friendly email, offering something of further value, or even just updating them on your latest blog post, with an offer to subscribe.
In order to download this subsequent offer, you can then ask the viewer to provide a bit more info, but keep it simple. You may want to ask about challenges the viewer faces, age group, income level, or another brief, multiple choice question.
It’s at this point in the game that you start to gather information on the needs of your audience. You can then tailor further offers, all the while gathering more information, with the goal of providing something helpful as well as driving traffic and sales of your business.
So what is today’s lesson on Inbound Fundamentals? Remember, the days of the pushy used-car salesman are behind us (or at least they should be). In order to get something (information) from your prospects and customers, you need to consistently provide value to them, tailoring each offer to their needs.
Now, if only thrift shops had such a system…