Market share is arguably the most important metric when it comes to judging how a business is performing. That’s not to say that other metrics like brand awareness, customer satisfaction and revenue growth aren’t important – they are – but measuring yourself against yourself may give you the wrong impression of just how well you are doing in the market, compared to your competitors.
If you’ve been looking at your market share and perhaps found it wanting, inbound marketing is a sure-fire way to boost those numbers. According to HubSpot, 54% more leads are generated by inbound than by outbound marketing.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got your back. Here are the 6 vital questions you need to ask yourself in order to gain market share – fast.
1. Are you targeting the right market?
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses try to spread themselves too thin and appeal to everyone, or simply target the wrong segment of the market altogether.
So before you do anything else, you need to have definitive answers to these two questions:
1. What problem(s) does my product/service solve?
2. Who would pay for this solution?
Don’t rely on assumptions – you need to have an accurate and realistic idea of your target market, otherwise everything you do next is a waste of time. That’s why it is important to do extensive research: conduct surveys, run focus groups, read market reports, analyse what your competitors are doing and mine your own social network for insights.
It may be helpful to take a staged funnel approach to help you drill down to your target market – for example, the first stage might be businesses in a specific industry, your second funnel might be annual revenue etc.
2. Do you know what matters to your buyers?
Once you have a solid idea of what type(s) of businesses your target market is made up of, the next step is to consider who your ideal buyers actually are. I’m talking about the living, breathing humans with complex needs and motivations who make up the businesses you are targeting – because in the end, it’s people who buy products and services, and not businesses.
This is where buyer personas come in. A good buyer persona should paint a fully realised picture of your ideal buyer that goes way beyond how old they are and what role they are in.
Are they married? Do they have kids? Where do they live? Is it a long commute? What do they do to unwind on the weekend? What are their ultimate goals? What are their biggest challenges?
All this information will help you target your marketing and product/service, so you can strengthen leads and delight your customers.
Again, don’t be tempted to guess! Buyer personas need to be accurate in order to do their job, and this means putting in some hard yards by consulting with your staff, holding workshops and conducting interviews with clients.
We’ll admit, it’s not the easiest process in the world; that’s why we reckon it’s a good idea to have an inbound marketing agency help with this step. We think the results are worth it, though.
3. Do you know where your buyers are hanging out?
Part of the buyer persona process is working out precisely where your buyers live. I don’t mean physically (though you should have an idea of this too), but where they are online, as well as offline.
What social media networks are they on? What industry magazines are they subscribed to? What conferences do they attend? What industry groups do they belong to?
This will give you insight into how and where to communicate with your ideal buyer, and help you avoid the costly mistake of throwing money where it’s not going to have any impact.
4. Are you giving your buyers the right content?
Often what can happen when you spend all day, every day, thinking about your business, is that you wrongly assume your customer’s level of knowledge is on par with yours. This can result in overly jargon-y content that doesn’t actually address what your customers need to know.
Rather than showing off how much you know about a niche subject, the goal here is to give your customers super useful and engaging content that makes them think you’re the guys to go to when they want a problem solved, and keeps them coming back for more.
Buyer personas can be immensely helpful in this regard too. After all, it’s basically a comprehensive record of your customer’s biggest concerns, so where better to start looking for ideas?
5. Are you encouraging buyers to take the next step in their buyer journey?
Think about a significant purchase you made recently. Were you immediately ready to slap down your credit card the first time you saw the product? I’m betting the answer is no.
The same is true of your customers. They’re weary of having ads shouting at them from all directions, preferring to take the time to do their own research and see what other options are out there before making a commitment to one product or service. Being too aggressive in these early stages could end up costing you the sale.
This is where lead nurturing comes into play. Lead nurturing is about creating a relationship with the customer, and helping them move through the sales funnel from awareness, to consideration, to decision, by giving them the right information at each stage of the journey. By the time they reach the bottom of the funnel, they’re confident they’re making the right decision.
According to Demand Gen, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
6. Are you filling the top of the funnel with lots of leads?
While inbound marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) are a fantastic way to generate leads, they can take some time (months even) before you start seeing results. Paid targeting tactics can help to get the ball rolling in the meantime.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google can be highly effective, because they’re incredibly targeted, they’re relatively inexpensive and they’re easy to measure and track, meaning you can see exactly how well the campaign is performing and adjust accordingly for the best results.
By asking yourself these 6 crucial questions, you’ll be well on your way to taking market share from right out under your competitor’s nose.
Want the full details on how inbound marketing works, and how to make it work for you? Then check out our Quick-start guide to inbound marketing for technology companies. Download it now!