Inbound Marketing Lessons I Learned from my Dad
Whenever I hear the term “inbound marketing”, I think of my dad. He was using the basic Inbound principles selling AAA insurance long before it became the buzz around the marketing world. And the more I look back, the more brilliant I think he was in his approach to selling and guiding people through the insurance process. He’d say things like, “Well, if a person was was smart, they could do this or they could…” The prospect would then picture themselves as that “smart person” and how they could achieve their goals. He never was one of those slimy salespeople putting high pressure on you to buy now. Rather he positioned himself as a resource of information for your insurance needs. He understood intuitively how to be a guide. And at its core, inbound marketing is positioning yourself as a guide or expert.
So what lessons can we learn from my dad when it comes to inbound marketing and positioning your business as the expert?
- Attract. Back in the day, leads were garnered through direct mail. I remember multiple times my dad would send out direct mailings with a reply card enclosed in a white envelope. My brother and I often sit at the round old claw foot table and help him stuff them, one person stuffing, the unlucky person licking the envelopes, and then someone putting a stamp on it. If prospects were interested in being contacted, they would send the card back, and then dad would follow up in the evenings via phone. Sometimes they were just after the free atlas, but most were qualified leads.
Today we can apply Dad’s “attract” principles by creating videos, blogging, and sharing tips on social media that provide value to our customers, meet their needs, and not turn them off by being in their face pushy.
- Engage. Once dad had a prospect on the phone or in for an office visit, he could share his knowledge and find the right product for them. Knowing the product, he was selling backward and forwards was key to find a product solution to meet their needs. Dad was also honest about any shortcomings of the product or service, which helped him build trust and repertoire over time. I remember him leaning back in his blue cushioned chair (probably a hand-me-down from my mom), talking to a client on an ivory corded office phone, joking and laughing with his clients with that big booming laugh of his.
- Delight the customer. Dad was organized and would keep a paper desktop calendar with notes scribbled on it in his cursive script to make sure he followed up and connected with his leads at the right time to get them any additional information. He provided helpful, authentic support and answered any questions or concerns they had. Now we can utilize email and marketing automation to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time. For example, send a thank you for signing up for your newsletter with a follow-up email that provides additional content for your lead to dive into. Then, tailoring the content on where they are in the buyer’s journey, whether that be awareness, consideration, or decision stage, and meets them where they’re at.
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Not ready, that’s ok. Read up on How to Create a Buyer Persona for your Business and define your target audience better.