Without a doubt, every startup hungry for success needs one thing, regardless of industry or location. And that’s customers. Without them, there’s no business, and definitely no revenue stream. They feed your business, fuelling progress and growth. A bit like how your standard animal needs food. It’s a bit of a non-negotiable.
Unfortunately, like trying to track down food in a competitive ecosystem, getting customers is easier said than done. For a business, this is where marketing comes in. For most people the word “marketing” elicits thoughts of massive marketing campaigns, facebook adverts, direct emails and tv adverts. These techniques are known as outbound marketing. Unfortunately, all of these channels come with a cost, and in a world saturated with advertisements it can be difficult to standout. Just like your average predator, with so many other competitors fighting for the food it can be hard to get any for yourself. How can you differentiate and get the competitive advantage?
Well, one unique species has figured this out. The Alligator Snapping Turtle. Instead of chasing down its prey, it entices them to come to him. The ultimate in lazy hunting. So how does it do this? Lying motionless in the water with its jaw open, its head and body look like an innocent rock. Like in the video below, the turtle then moves its fleshy tongue, which looks remarkably like a wriggling worm. To the innocent small fish or frog this looks just like dinner, so they wander into the Alligator Snapping Turtle’s jaw, completely unaware they are about to become its dinner. As soon as they enter the powerful jaw, they are instantly snapped up and killed. For the turtle this is a perfect deal. It doesn’t have to waste any energy searching for prey.
In the marketing world the same technique can be applied. Inbound marketing focuses on producing quality content that potential customers want to read or engage with, naturally drawing them towards your company and products. Most often this in the form of blogs, with content that is aligned with the target customers interests, but can also come as videos, podcasts, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers and so on. Not only does this attract customers to your website, where the sales can be made, but it also builds trust with the company.
There are 3 key steps to make inbound marketing work for you:
- Attract: the worm tongue
It is critical to attract the right customers at the right time. Make sure your content is aimed at your target market. There is no absolutely no point in discussing the best icecream shops in Melbourne if your product is a weight loss pill. It’s counterproductive. There’s a reason the Alligator Snapping Turtle’s tongue looks like a worm, because frogs eat worms. So produce educational content that people want. A great example is Casper, a bed startup with a blog focused on the science of sleep which is perfect for their target market.
- Convert: Eat the prey
Now that the prospective customer is on your website, you want to hook them in that little bit more. An Alligator Snapping Turtle literally snaps up its prey, but you may prefer to gently encourage them towards email sign up and sales. Using an email as “payment” for an eBook can be very effective, especially if the content is good. With blogs it can be a little trickier to get an email, but a clearly visible sign up box is a good addition to your website.
- Close: Digest the prey
Once you have the contact details of prospective customers, it is all about what you do with this information. An Alligator Snapping Turtle does not just close its mouth and leave it at that. It chews and digests to get the most nutrients out of its food. Similarly, you need to continually produce valuable content to keep your subscribers coming back and purchasing your products or services.
If trust with the brand is built up through offering genuine information, you will find much greater marketing success than forcing a sale through expensive advertising. And although an Alligator Snapping Turtle can only make use of their prey once, effective inbound marketing can see sales coming in again and again, all while sitting back and relaxing (writing blogs)!