Inbound marketing is the practice of online marketing that deliberately uses a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), various social media channels, and blogging to publish content that people will seek-out, find and engage with. The concept of Inbound marketing was first introduced to me by HubSpot, and from their founders’ latest book, Inbound Marketing.
With effective inbound marketing, creating a ‘hub’ and bringing your target market to you. You are not overtly selling them, or intimidating them with sales and marketing material about how good you and your product are. Instead, you are providing them with relevant information, establishing a relationship, nurturing it, and guiding them to decide for themselves that doing business with you makes sense. This hub activity is a key to consumer engagement and growth in this new marketing era.
Having an optimized website does a lot for search engine results page (SERP) ranking. However, with inbound marketing, high ranking is not the only goal, and it’s not the only desired outcome. Good optimization helps make sure your site seldom deviates from its topic. When you look at keywords, you’re looking at a long list of potential topics for you to write about and share with your visitors. When done right, SEO leaves no room for accidentally off topic content, and consequently it ensures that your site is a wealthy source of information for people interested in your topic. This is key to inbound marketing, because remember, people want answers and they want them from sources that appear trustworthy.
A lot can be said about blogging, and there’s much more detail throughout my blog. However, there are some essential highlights to consider. First, have passion for your topic and let it show through in your writting. Next, be consistent. Consider your blog as a part-time job. A few hours here and there, but with more dedication than a mere hobby. And last, check your work. Earn the respect from your following by delivering polished content.
Yes, we brought out social media as an inbound marketing tool. Why? For the most part, it should fall in the realm of “passive” marketing. In other words, it’s not a place to pour your ads, discounts and company bravado. You can occasionally share this stuff, but the main point of social networking is to connect and network.
This is all merely an overview of principles, but there is much more depth in practice and execution. Studied rules like having at least one CTA (call-to-action) on every page, or making sure people can find the sign up for your newsletter are proven practices of good inbound marketing.
PDFs, eNewsletters & Useful Content
Inbound-Marketing-contentThere’s a lot of debate about whether e-mail newsletters really work. They do,but only if you are effective in using the proper steps to getting visitors to sign up. You can no longer send an email blast, or merely offer the newsletter subscription in tiny print hidden somewhere in the corner of your site. That doesn’t work anymore. Better technology and discerning readers deaden the one-time effectiveness of that.
In conclusion all these inbound marketing tools all have a few things in common. On the whole, they:
Generate and continue to feed interest
Increase your level of authority on your product or service subject matter
Establish your brand without appearing self-promoting