Most people in business are aware of how marketing has gone through a shift over the past few years. People refer to this as modern marketing, new marketing and quite often inbound marketing and many other variants. Whatever we call it the key thing is it’s moved from an aggressive form of invasive attention grabbing to more subtle forms. In this post and the next few a want to outline how you can go about doing it. I’ll discuss several customers of ours as exemplars and see if we can arrive at a best practice process of doing this. As part of this we’ll revisit SEO and look at various Social Media platforms in detail.
The reason most outbound marketing activities fail to deliver the expected benefits is because most people are not interested in our messages and offers at the point we send them out. Thats why conventional marketing methods from telesales, email shots, cold calling, print advertsing and many others – are immensly wasteful and frustrating. Further we have increasingly sophisticated ways of filtering out unwanted marketing messages which means in general its difficult to get a return on outbound marketing initiatives.
The Case for Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing means we create an environment where people contact us at the point at which they are interested – by definition this contact will be much more likely to do business with us. As an example take search marketing – someone does a search for, say, ‘Japanese Knotweed eradication company’ and ends up on a web page that provides the service. That is someone has found you at the point at which they have an interest in buying – so much more of a qualified opportunity than us picking up the phone and calling around to see if anyone has a Japanese Knotweed problem. (Which is by all accounts very unpleasant.)
Of course they may not be interested in buying from us at the point of contact – they may be looking for further information, or looking for anwers to questions. So the trick is to be in a position to respond to people in an appropriate way depending on where they are in their sales cycle. This is where Social Media can play an important part.
Visualising the ‘sales funnel’ can be a good way of thinking about this…
Acknowledging that different information types and marketing techniques are relevant at different stages is important. It also means we need to be in a position to provide useful ‘value added’ information to build loyalty and credibility. We have to accept that ‘the more we give the more we get back’. The idea of giving away stuff (like we give away lessons for free and course materials) is not something every company is comfortable with – but it is a feature of Inbound Marketing.
Heres a list of the most important techniques and information and communication forms relevant to Inbound Marketing – not all these will be relevant to all companies (or indeed possible) but over the next few posts I want to try to go into these in some detail and also to give you some tools and processes for deciding which is the best approach for you. In short I want to help you put together an Inbound Marketing strategy…
Search Engine Optmisation (SEO)
Pay per Click Advertising
Online article and news distribution
Email marketing (permission based)
….and of course a business focused, landing page and ‘call to action’ rich website.
So in future posts we’ll discuss….
Creating a content strategy – Good content underpins Inbound Marketing.
Creating a work schedule – who is going to produce your content and which of the above will they use to deliver it.
Which of the above items are important for us – prioritising the above.
We’ll also look in detail at each item in the list above – where we’ve created a lesson in the past we’ll give you the link – we’ll also introduce some new lessons (Using Linkedin for business for example which we haven’t covered previously).
We’ll include examples of what some of our customers are doing
We’ll also detail some software tools to allow you to integrate all of this and manage all your web content and social media through a common interface – from content creation and distribution to prospect management and analytics.