Inbound Marketing is an elusive concept to many business owners, especially those who have been around awhile and might have some difficulty following new trends with communication or new technologies. Fear not! Inbound Marketing is relatively straightforward, simple and when done correctly, can extend your online reach far beyond what you thought possible. Today, we’ll go over some of the basics.
What is it? Why is it important?
Inbound Marketing is the method of bringing (potential) customers closer to the brand through content. Opposite this concept is Outbound Marketing, which is everything from purchasing advertisements, cold-calling, and passing out flyers. In other words, Inbound Marketing is strategically adding content to your online presence to draw in the leads, customers and business partners that would most benefit your business and theirs. Outbound Marketing, on the contrary, blindly markets to everyone, and isn’t generally able to be niche-specific.
SEO =/= Inbound Marketing
A lot of small business owners hear the buzzwords “SEO” and “Design Thinking” and misappropriate them. Your site should be Search Engine Optimized, yes, but once the content is done, that’s pretty much it. Finding your site is easier through Google, but if you’re not getting conversions, the SEO isn’t helping you out! Get a third-party to look at your site and tell you what they think. Utilize a CRM or check out some apps to improve your brand. Use Google Analytics. Check out who is currently viewing your content and compare it to who you want to view your content. Inbound Marketing is all about getting your future clients to form a positive opinion of your brand before they contact you!
How do we best implement Inbound Marketing?
Because Inbound Marketing is content-based, the simple answer is this: post quality content and connect honestly with your client-base. A lot of it will be specific to your industry, but generally you should at least have a website that’s up to date, and an engaging social media campaign. This is where it gets a little bit tricky, because you really need someone who knows what they’re doing.
Here’s an example of a social media campaign (an AMA on reddit) that resulted in thousands and thousands of users being irritated. The event was promoted as an “Ask Me Anything” (a sort of informal Q and A) with actor Woody Harrelson, but instead of the traditional, laid back banter associated with these events, Harrelson’s responses oozed with self-promotion. He even at one point refused to answer questions not associated with his upcoming movie! Obviously this is a miscommunication between a celebrity, a PR team and an established community, but the outcome really hurt the cause. If taken as a case study, it is very insightful.
Using social media as a sort of “free billboard” doesn’t help potential clients/customers/leads trust your brand. Instead, seek to connect with everyone you can. They might not need your brand today, but they might tomorrow.
Any comments or questions? Let’s chat!