Create Customers for Life by Knowing what your customers want and giving it to them before they have to ask… mastering the art of indirect marketing.

mastering the art of indirect marketing
You’re a small business. What you lack in big, flashy excess, you make up for in customer service and accessibility. That’s often the appeal of shopping at a local small business, right? You build a rapport, and often you know the owner. Difficulties are handled with care because “Oh, they come here all the time.” This is the experience that creates customers for life.

That’s the idea behind the increasingly popular strategy of indirect marketing. Basically you are offering potential and current customers something you think they want for free. It can be as simple as sharing a pertinent news article or as cool as a giveaway. The key is to know what your customers want and give it to them. That kind of altruism gives your audience that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, so they want to buy from you. Here’s what you need to know to apply the classic inbound marketing techniques to your current marketing strategy and create customer for the long-term.

Gratitude Gets You Everywhere

Helping your customers lead better lives is at the heart of commerce. Whether you sell sponges or space ships, you are doing them a service, first and foremost, and it’s incredibly powerful to remind your customers that it is a privilege to serve them. That can be a simple thank you message on your Facebook feed or a handwritten note with their order.

Be of Service

Partnering with a nonprofit or hosting a fundraiser for your customers can open your business up to a whole new market. Combine your email lists and throw a party. It’s easy to get food and a venue sponsored when you’re working with a 501c3. Or host an online fundraiser and offer to accept or pick up donations locally. Not only will you communicate your passion and dedication to your audience by promoting it on social media, you also will spread your reach to the nonprofit’s audience as well. Everyone wins.

Evergreen Content

There has been a lot of emphasis on time-sensitive content. People want their social media and blog posts to be up-to-date and right on trend, right? Well, maybe not. Evergreen content is taking center stage in modern inbound marketing campaigns because, while it may be more time intensive to create, the ROI is worth the wait.

If you run a dog walking service, post a list of the best dog-friendly hikes in the area. Doctors’ offices can share preventative care tips. Salons can share hairstyling tricks. All of this information is useful now and in the future, which keeps readers coming back. These readers who keep coming back to your reference tools are more likely to convert to sales somewhere along the line. Not to mention the traffic to your blog or website helps with your Google rankings and organic searches, helping even more customers find you.

The 80/20 Rule

Entrepreneur advises business owners to see their blog or website as a hub, instead of a microphone. About 80 percent of your content should be about the customer, and the other 20 percent of your content should be about your business or product. It’s based on the Pareto Rule, which has been around since 1906. It states that, for the average business, 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. Inbound marketing specialists have pinpointed this ratio as the sweet spot for engaging customers on social media and getting them to see your brand as personable, accessible and useful.

Who Does it Best

Moody’s Analytics offers customers financial advice, and the company offers seminars all over the world to empower consumers to learn skills like high-yield bond covenants and credit rating analysis. The company is not pushing its products. Just knowledge.

Perhaps the best example of altruistic inbound marketing is the Always “Like a Girl” campaign. Never thought you’d cry at a commercial for feminine products? Just try not to get misty-eyed with this powerful video campaign launched by the brand last year in which women of all ages were asked what it means and looks like to do something “like a girl.” The video currently has 58 million views on YouTube.