Inbound marketing relies on earned presence—you have to provide something of value (and not simply your product or service) for a prospect to let you into their life. There’s continuous give and take, a cycle of mutual fulfillment that only occurs when both brand and buyer are willing to listen to what the other says.
Being let in is just the first part of what should be a long and fruitful relationship. You’ve earned a place in a prospect’s schedule and in their head through great content, social influence, sleek branding or some combination of the three. Now, you need to stay there and building a bigger presence in this buyer’s life.
You’ve gotten there, now stay there
The goal of inbound content is to impress, entertain or inform a prospect so much that they leave with a positive and lasting memory of your brand. But that first impression comes from one piece of content that addresses one particular point of need or pain point to that prospect.
Humans are complex and have varied interests, concerns, aspirations and tastes. Hitting one pain or pleasure center doesn’t tell the whole story. A good brand stems from knowing the people you’re trying to reach. If you’ve done your due diligence in that respect, you should have an idea about what else appeals to or concerns them after you’ve made that first meaningful interaction.
What leads to forging something greater than a passing enjoyment? How does a brand stay in a prospect’s life and become a more important, integral part of it? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few ways to achieve this end.
Tell your brand story in different ways
Prospects are dynamic in their personalities and interests, so your brand should be too.
Some brands choose to appeal the aspirational nature of their potential buyer. Everyone has something—big or small—they want to achieve. Prospects want to enact meaningful change in their own business or the business of others.
Put out branded content about your own company’s aspirations and the good it wants to do in the world around it. Take the time to supplement that with tangential stories of inspiration or shared values. There’s nothing wrong with pulling at people’s heartstrings every so often, so long as your motivation is genuine.
On the other hand, there’s room to have meaningful interactions in the smaller, quieter moments of a prospect’s day. Be opportunistic with your brand content and connect with prospects in their everyday activities to place yourself firmly in their hearts and minds.
Here, presence is the operative word. It’s a little tough to know what this entails ahead of time, because connecting on the everyday requires reacting to shared cultural moments or what prospects are sharing about their own business.
Adaptation is the key word. Be at the ready for any moments that can connect you and your customers, no matter how small.
Be a good friend
The above makes you a helpful diversion in someone’s life, a reliable source of information and/or entertainment. But you must provide a sense of belonging for your brand to become a part of someone’s identity.
Inbound marketing involves a great deal of sociology when done well. Fulfilling needs and creating that sense of belonging as a brand is just like building a connection between two human beings.
- Listen: Encourage feedback from prospects and take it to heart. Use what prospects and customers are saying to you and about you to create new ideas for relevant content.
- Empathize: Understand where that feedback is coming from. Put yourself in their shoes and address their needs as you, as a human being, would want them to be addressed.
- Learn: Take what you’ve gathered from the previous two points to flesh out your brand voice and personas. Connect what you’ve learned to other relevant things and use that to build a deeper relationship.
- Make them happier: Sometimes it comes in the form of a joke, sometimes it has to be an earnest conversation. Be aware of the context of your brand-consumer relationship and tailor the message to what they need to hear in the moment.
When you put all that together, it looks like a real, human relationship. By keeping your branding based in human wants and needs, you can place your inbound brand firmly in a prospect’s mind and stay there.