If you’re an inbound marketer, then I’m sure you know the drill: Content, digital ads, SEO, traffic, audience, leads, push to sales, rest, repeat.
If you’re lucky, one piece of viral content can draw in hordes of traffic to your website for years after you’ve published. While virality definitely helps produce massive audience awareness, most content never gets to this level of exposure. For the rest of us, inbound marketing is usually a slow growth with long term results sort of strategy. And truly knowing your audience is only the beginning.
Connecting, building, and retaining your audience is constantly in flux because of changing buyer behavior. Not to mention your 20+ competitors who are also fighting for your audience’s attention.
So, if you’re in the trenches like so many other inbound marketers, you know that gathering and building up the right audience is the way to create real business value. Not to mention getting sales to ACTUALLY follow up with these leads. So, what is an inbound marketer to do with all the competing messages and noise?
“We are moving from a model where consumer “attention” is the currency that we are trying to attain, and instead we should be focused squarely on how we can access those audiences whenever we want.”
So what does this mean for inbound marketers? To boil it down: we should seek less to compete for the attention of our audiences (putting more money on advertising and content creation), and focus more of our resources on building human-to-human relationships with your audiences for greater access and ultimately, influence.
I’m sure you’re very familiar with the saying “content tsunami”. I don’t need to tell you that one of the biggest challenges with inbound marketing is simply grabbing the attention of your audience as you fight with competing content. So, it makes sense why we need to change up our audience strategy from “attention” to “access”.
Why Access is Greater Than Attention
Don’t get me wrong. Attention is great, but the amount of leverageable business value we can get from having access to our audience is greater than we might imagine. Infact, access has always been better simply because access = influence, trust and an open door. If we want access to our customers at all times, rather than fighting for their attention through paid ads and a never ending stream of content, we have to look at content marketing differently. We have to think about building personal relationships with them.
Just think about it for a second: picture a good, professional relationship with someone you know. Now, I want you to focus on what you think/how you feel about that person and their professional work. I bet you feel more connected and more trusting of their company as a whole simply because you know that individual. At least, much more so than if you received a cold call or saw and ad from their company. Similarly, inbound marketers need to start leveraging personal relationships to build access, attention and trust for their company.
Personal relationships are the #1 way to influence someone to purchase a service or commodity. The more connected your audience feels, the more accessible they become. Feeling connected often looks similar to being known and understood. And how you get there will take more than just a great content marketing strategy.
Why your Access Strategy Needs to be a Tag-Team Approach
The reality is that there is a huge misalignment between marketing and sales. When these two teams work together, there is a massive rise in productivity and success. But, the disconnect is often that both of these departments think very differently from each other. Marketers want to connect with audiences using emotion and content. Sales teams are much more concerned with bringing in numbers, and don’t necessarily have the time to invest in relationships unless the lead is further down the buyer journey/ funnel and will close. This creates a divide in priorities that can separate marketing and sales and can often time leave a gap in lead nurturing.
There are a number of ways to bring alignment which I won’t go into for this blog, but, when it comes to building access, one very easy and practical way you can get marketing and sales to work together is to use the power of social media and social selling. The social media accounts of your sales teams are your most useful, and often times most untapped, asset towards building influence. 77% of audiences don’t trust business messaging, but a Facebook or LinkedIn post, or blog from a respected friend, colleague or family member can go a long way toward build a sense of trust in a brand. The best thing about this? An audience that trusts in a brand is much more likely to share that brand’s message, increasing your reach even more. You can access your audience at any time, rather than compete to reach them.
Why Personalized Marketing Automation is the way to Build Audience Access
Robert Rose mentions specifically in a recent blog that Chief Marketing Officers are considering more audience-centric approaches because they know that a lot of what they’re doing isn’t working. How can we make this shift? One hugely effective method is personalized marketing. An example of this is a story that connects with a customer on an emotional, and ultimately, relatable level. Personalized marketing can come in many forms such as blogs, creative videos and customer testimonials. The biggest thing here is to include real stories with real people.
How do you do this? By implementing brand advocacy through your employees, specifically the sales team.
Social employees not only increase brand awareness, but they also give customers a face that they can trust. Friends and family of your team members are more likely to believe in your brand if the words of someone they know are behind the messaging.
Most marketers understand the value of this. The challenge more often than not is HOW do we accomplish this? The hard truth is that sales teams usually don’t have the time to do personalized nurturing of their own audience and network. If sales teams aren’t primarily focused on closing deals, the business will suffer. The beauty of technology provides numerous ways to resolve this. Social selling has become a huge way to increase sales, through the advent of social media. Basically, sales teams use social media interact directly with their potential customers, creating relationships. Tools like Yip Yip are able to streamline social media communication so that a particular message can go out to any team member’s social accounts at the same time, overcoming any issues with sales reps having time to personalize their brands.
At Yip Yip, we saw this as a major pain point. To help bridge the gap between marketers and sales, we created a personalized message platform the marketing team can now use on behalf of their sales teams to message and nurture to their audiences – all without sales having to lifting a finger. To learn more or request a demo on what our platform can do for your business, click here.