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We’ve been talking a lot about inbound marketing lately here at the Mission Suite, and we’ve come to the conclusion that it is an extremely important piece of the marketing puzzle. I would ever go so far as to say that it is as important as any of the other methods of marketing online. However, implementing a full-scale inbound marketing strategy can be time consuming, and not every business is in a position where they can dedicate that amount of time.
Here’s a few quick tips that will help explain what exactly inbound marketing is, and how you can utilize to expand your brand online.
Attraction vs. Interruption
One of the key differences of inbound marketing versus almost all other forms of marketing is that it requires readers to come to you. Most marketing reaches out and “interrupts” the reader while they’re doing something else –watching TV, reading a magazine, browsing the web – but inbound marketing entices readers to intentionally partake in your content because the content itself is helpful and engaging to the reader.
This obviously requires content to be more interesting than it might otherwise be, so a good amount of time should be spent crafting creative and compelling content.
Inbound Marketing and Return on Investment (ROI)
Consider this tip in the “advanced” category. There has been a fair amount of discussion on ROI when it comes to inbound marketing. Some will even argue that traditional measures of ROI are simply not adequate for measuring the value of inbound marketing. However, one thing is certain – analytics are still very important.
Test everything. Test every marketing strategy you implement and measure its effectiveness – does it generate hits, leads and eventually customers? If it does then it is doing its job and you should continue doing that. If it doesn’t then it was one of the innumerable failures that marketers must deal with; so cut it and try something new.
Just remember to always be testing and tailoring your strategy using the results.
Blog as Much as Possible
Your blog will be the cornerstone of your inbound marketing strategy. Social media is fun and flashy and definitely has its place, but the real substance of your message will be contained in your blog. This is your time to shine, to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and that you have plenty of knowledge to share with your customers. A well-written blog will demonstrate to customers that you are truly an expert and that they should always come to you when they have questions or needs.
Best of all, blogging is free or nearly free and is very likely to generate leads and sales eventually.
Responsible Social Media
Social media is an integral part of the framework that makes up a great inbound marketing strategy. However, it needs to be dealt with very carefully. Social media content should be aimed at pleasing and engaging your customers. Talk about things the average customer is interested in – don’t always just talk about your business.
Your brand may be the most interesting thing in the world to you, but chances are most readers don’t feel that way.
Having only really entered the marketing stage in 2006, inbound marketing is still in its infancy. This means that many of the best practices are still fluid, and often up for debate. However, by following these basic practices and building from there you can build a strong and vibrant inbound marketing campaign.