Most data center colocation providers are familiar with the traditional marketing approach, which uses spammy emails, aggressive online advertisements, and annoying cold calls to push their messages to prospective clients. What they may not know is that this type of conventional marketing and prospecting has become much less effective: resenting the intrusion, consumers have adopted spam filters, ad blockers, and caller ID to keep out unwanted solicitations.
To accommodate the way that today’s IT buyers make purchasing decisions, a new methodology has evolved:
Inbound marketing works by enabling the business to “be there” when someone needs what it is offering. Instead of being blindly intrusive, a company can attract, convert, close sales with, and keep the right customers.
Valuable tools for drawing people to a website include:
- Blogging: Potential clients are attracted to blog content that educates them and answers their questions. The company that publishes the posts soon becomes trusted as a team of experts.
- Keywords: Today’s IT professionals begin the buying process by searching online, so a data center colocation website has to be optimized for relevant keywords.
- Social media: Savvy providers create and share relevant information and engage with prospects.
Once the data center website attracts visitors, it’s time to convert them into leads by collecting their contact information.
Customer contact information is marketing gold. To entice site visitors into providing that information, the website must offer them a free incentive that they would find valuable, such as an eBook, a webinar registration, or a white paper. The most useful tools when it comes to converting visitors into prospects include:
- Forms make it easy for visitors to complete and submit their contact details.
- Calls-to-action such as links that state ‘Download free eBook’ or ‘Sign Up for Free Webinar’.
- Landing pages that continue the conversion process by providing a form for visitors to fill out their contact information.
Now that the right visitors have found your data center colocation website and have been converted into leads, the next step is to nurture them into clients.
To help close the right leads at ideal times, use inbound marketing tools including:
- Events: Regardless of whether you invest in producing online events like webinars or offline events like breakfast seminars, events are a very powerful way to educate and build trust at scale.
- Notifications: Would it be helpful to know in real-time when a lead revisits your website and what page that lead is on? How about when a lead opens an email? Or a lead clicks on a link in that email? How does your sales process change if you knew that one of your emails was being forwarded to stakeholders in different geographic locations? This information can be used to see how people interact with company communications and close new client deals faster.
- Workflow Automation: This process nurtures leads by tailoring the marketing process to the needs and interests of each lead. When deployed correctly, lead nurturing workflow messages feel incredibly personalized as they’re segmented by (a) the buyer persona and (b) where that person is in the buyer’s journey.
Once a colocation data center grows its client base, it must continue to engage with and delight these clients. This personalized attention can turn them into enthusiastic promoters.
Favorite tools used to delight customers include:
- Social Inbox, Social Publishing, and Social Monitoring: Publish messages to the company’s social media outlets using a single interface. All interactions with published messages, such as replies, comments, and sharing, can be easily monitored to enable easier engagement with clients. And keep tabs on what’s being said by specific lists of contacts and on specific topics.
- Smart Content: Unlike generic, one-size-fits-all content, smart content is customized to appeal and be more relevant to the user. The result is stronger visitor engagement and a greater inclination to buy.
Inbound marketing covers all of the essential steps in the buyer’s journey, from finding the data center to becoming first a lead and then a paying client. This strategic and intuitive approach to online sales generation benefits both data center colocation providers and their clients by helping them find their ideal counterpart.
Do you use any aspect of the inbound marketing methodology? Or is your marketing still very traditional in scope? Sound off in the Comments below.
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