Businesses tend to have the idea that online marketing always generates viral growth and massive profits with little effort. The reality is that you must put in some time, focus less on sales and more on marketing, develop great content, help customers solve problems, and only then will you begin to create the brand evangelists that lead to success.

Organic growth takes time

Many people jump into online marketing and expect to be earning millions overnight. The reality is that online marketing, much like most things in life, requires time and hard work. There is a lot that needs to be done – website design, content creation, search engine optimisation, social media, and the list goes on.

However, all this doesn’t need to be done immediately. It’s actually better to space these tasks out over several months as your business grows. This results in a more natural organic growth rate that will benefit your business in the long run. After all, inbound marketing is about building long-term relationships with your customers, not simply selling and moving on to the next person in line.

Sales vs marketing

Do you know the difference between sales and marketing? The goal of sales is simply to move products and services. The only attention given to relationship building is ended the moment the sale is made and the customer takes delivery.

Marketing, on the other hand, is a slower and more relationship based process. The goal is not simply to push a stack of products and services onto a customer and move on to the next person in line. Rather, marketing focuses on the long-term profits of building trust and rapport with a customer. There is no better way to do this than by becoming the knowledgeable expert your customers turn to for advice.

Content marketing

The goal of content marketing is to position your business as the knowledgeable expert in your field. Customers should feel comfortable asking you questions and know they will get solid advice instead of a sales pitch.

They should also value the content you create because it adds value to their lives and their businesses. When this is achieved, you stop selling and start solving problems for your customers.

Help customers solve problems

When you sell someone a product or service they may be happy or they may feel ripped off. However, when you help someone solve a problem they are grateful.

This gratitude shows in repeat business, referrals, and testimonials. When inbound marketing is done right you get much more than customers – you get evangelists.

Build your brand with evangelists

When you help a customer solve a problem they are very likely to tell others about your products and services. This is where inbound marketing really pays off. These brand evangelists are your most dedicated customers.

They will share your content on social media and they will forward your email to their contacts. Best of all, they’re out in the world promoting your brand simply because they love the products and services you provide. A hand full of brand evangelists can be worth much more than a large marketing budget.

When you spend the time it takes to grow your business organically, you’ll have a much more stable foundation to market your goods and services online.

Building a relationship with your customers and helping them solve problems will lead to sales, but the ultimate goal of inbound marketing is the relationship with your customers.

When you get it right you’ll find yourself creating brand evangelists that do the selling for you.

What experience does your business have helping customers solve problems and creating brand evangelists?

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