Inbound Marketing: The New Frontier
The marketing landscape has changed. There is no denying that fact. What worked in the 80’s and 90’s doesn’t any more. Enter Inbound Marketing. As we discussed in a previous blog, Inbound Marketing can be described as using a magnet to attract new customers instead of a sledge hammer trying to break through all of the noise. This new concept allows leads to find you instead of you finding leads. This is the new game of engagement. The new frontier of marketing and successful business.
Content is the foundation of Inbound Marketing. Marketing in essence has shifted from glossy ads and slicks to a more educational, knowledge sharing model. The goal is to educate prospective buyers on 1) A problem or need they have 2) How to address it and 3) why you are a qualified expert that can help. Pretty simple. The goal is to create lots of QUALITY content in a variety of different mediums so that you can appeal to people in their preferred way of communication. If there is one thing you remember from this blog, make sure it is this – if you are not updating your website with new quality information weekly – search engines don’t see you and neither will your prospects. The more quality content you create, the more search engines like Google will push people your way, your credentials are on display and people are converting to leads and sales.
Here are some ideas of mediums that you can use to create content:
- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- Images/ Infographics
- Information Guides
- Microsites/Web Pages
- Online Courses
- Press Releases
- Product/ Serivce Data Sheets
- Reference Guides
- Resource Libraries
- RSS/XML Feeds
- Radio/TV/Web TV
Content’s Best Friend
Social media is your avenue to share all of the excellent content that you are creating. Pushing links out to your network is a great non-invasive way of sharing information and then allowing others to share it even further. The kicker? Google LOVES social media. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, after Google of course, so publishing on YouTube gets you great exposure not only to search engines but also to prospective customers. Each social media outlet has it’s own best practices and will work with different types of buyers and messages. Be sure to pay attention to those and establish your strategy accordingly. For some of these best practices, check out our article on how to use social media to your maximum benefit.
Sales not Exposure
Having a snazzy looking website with great content and a good social media strategy is not enough. What good is it if they are not converting people into leads and ultimately sales? Your website and your strategy need to make a priority of converting traffic from search engines to leads. This is mainly done by maintaining and adding landing pages that seduce, amazing calls to action that clearly tell people what you want them to do, a website that takes user-friendliness to a new level, and engaging content for every type of buyer.
Then, once you do convert a lead, know that they may not buy right away. You need to nurture the prospect through the buying cycle with additional content. If a prospect downloaded a case study on customer relationship management systems that your company offers, initiate a series of emails that expands on that topic. Help them sell themselves on working with you.
Make it Holistic
Inbound Marketing alone is not enough to make your company successful. Think of it like this – the marketing of your company should operate like spokes on a wheel. One spoke is Inbound Marketing, but you need others to spin the wheel to generate sales, revenue and profits. Every business is different, so your spokes are going to be different than Joe Schmo next store. Here is a rough outline of what we recommend though.
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing Strategies – Pay-per-click advertising, radio, TV, print, direct mail, etc. – pick 2-3
- Corporate Communications & Branding Strategy
The combination of all of the spokes ensures that your marketing engine is generating maximum return for your business.
Inbound Marketing demands a lot of attention and a lot of work. Establish a content calendar that outlines what content is going to be published and what steps need to be taken once it is. If it is a press release, when does that get pushed to relevant media outlets. If it is a whitepaper, when will the email announcing it go out? Once you establish a couple months of results, analyze those and make adjustments. If videos are getting more attention than case studies, it’s time to make more videos.