If your business practices inbound marketing, chances are you have the Inbound Methodology engraved in your head. The stages—attract, convert, close, and delight—are known as the pillars of inbound marketing and dictate every interaction of the sales and marketing process. Inbound marketing focuses on bringing the customer to the company, not the other way around (as traditional marketing does).
Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound Report highlights the importance of the delighting prospects and clients, citing word-of-mouth referrals as the most trusted source of information for prospects (61%). Media articles (46%) and customer references (46%) tie for second place as resources prospects use when gathering information to make a purchase decision.
These three practices heavily rely on the Delight phase of inbound and should not be slighted in your marketing strategy.
The Stages of the Inbound Methodology
Businesses initially draw in strangers by attracting them—the Attract Stage—with materials such as blog posts, keywords, and social media.
Once a stranger in drawn through this material, they will transition into a visitor by viewing content on their website, before shortly converting into a lead—the Convert Stage—through call-to-action, landing page, or form connected to the business.
With a little bit of nurturing, these leads enter their second to last stage—the Close Stage—and become customers.
After the closing stage, many businesses make the mistake of dropping off contact with their clients. This is a major mistake.
The final stage of inbound—Delight—is where businesses should continue to satisfy their customers, so they become evangelists for their business.
What is the Delight Stage?
When your business properly executes the Delight phase of inbound, clients will reach the highest level of the Inbound Methodology and become advocates for your business.
In the Delight Stage, your business can earn free word-of-mouth promotion with customers vouching for your business. Customers may feel compelled to leave reviews, provide earnest testimonials, and praise your business on social media. This stage can also earn repeat business from clients.
Why is Delight Important?
The Delight Stage is essential to your business because it is responsible for generating further revenue. Existing customers will not give positive reviews, recommend your business, or even give your business a second chance if they feel they have been slighted in their purchase.
These types of publicity are critical to your business because they are organic, effective, and especially important in the new age of media. Salespeople hold the lowest authority (22%) in the process of making a purchase decision, so it is important to dedicate a significant amount of resources to this stage.
When Does Delight Start?
The Delight process should start at the very beginning of the buyer's journey. Companies practicing inbound marketing will have an easier time satisfying their prospects and existing clients when they incorporate the delight stage into every stage and interaction of their buyer’s journey.
With social media on the rise, your company cannot afford for its prospects to have any negative experiences in any stage of their buyer’s journey. If a prospect is turned off to your product/service before purchasing, not only will you lose out on a sale, but they could potentially tarnish your reputation by notifying others of their negative experience.
Who Should Delight?
In a successful inbound organization, customer delight is everyone’s responsibility, not just those your customers interacts with during their journey. Just as the process should start at the beginning, the process should also be widespread throughout the company, starting from the very top executives, and working its way down.
Each employee is a direct representation of your business and has the potential to positively/negatively contribute to your buyer’s journey. The “all hands on deck” philosophy should apply when executing the delight stage.
How have you delighted your customers? Has delighting existing customers led to new leads for your business? Let us know in the Comments below.
To learn more about inbound marketing, how it pertains to your sales and marketing teams, and how you can start practicing it today, download our eBook "3 Revenue Growth Opportunities Your Business May Be Missing."