Once upon a time marketing was a one-way street. Marketers identified a target market for their campaigns and programs and went after them relentlessly with outbound tactics like buying ads, sending emails and paying for leads. Sure, occasionally you’d get the odd lead that came to you after stumbling on your website, but, for the most part, it was a direct, one-way and interruptive relationship.
Inbound marketing has changed that. Instead of fighting for your prospect’s attention, inbound marketing makes it easier for customers to find you naturally. It hinges on creating quality content that pulls people toward your business and what you do, instead of pushing it to them.
Inbound marketing success doesn’t happen or overnight, but here are six techniques that can make a difference in as little as six months.
Always Have SEO in Mind
Most of your customers begin their buying cycle online. In fact, 61% of shoppers research products online and 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine (HubSpot).
One of the most effective ways to do SEO is to identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to what you do and which people might enter into a search engine. Focus on valuable keywords and create specific blog posts, content, and pages on your site that include them.
SEO is too big a topic to cover here in any depth, but the point is, don’t forget it as you build your inbound marketing strategy. Check out these 10 SEO Tools for Small Business from Business News Daily to help you on your way.
Blog On Your Site and Elsewhere
Blogging should be at the heart of any inbound marketing plan. These statistics from WriteMySite highlight why blogging is so important for driving organic site traffic:
- 59% of SEO professionals rate blogging as one of their top inbound marketing activities (Moz 2012 SEO Industry Survey)
- Adding between 21 and 51 blog posts to your site boosts traffic by up to 30% …
- Once you add at least 52 blog posts, your traffic increases by 77% (TrafficGenerationCafe)
- Companies that blog receive 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than businesses that do not blog (HubSpot)
Also, 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog (Hubspot).
But don’t just blog on your own website, look for guest blogging opportunities. This gives you and your brand a new platform on which to reach a bigger audience. It also helps generate linkbacks to your own site.
Create an eBook
E-books, white papers and free guides are a great way to give your customers helpful information. It’s also a useful foundation for building your email list and help SEO. Sites like HubSpot and Constant Contact excel at this. Although they are in the business of selling their services, they understand the value of putting content out there that is useful to their target audience.
It takes time and resources to write these things, so pick a topic that’s core to your business. Perhaps a topic that comes up frequently in customer conversations. A good starting point is to break that topic into chunks, write blogs about each, and then collate them into an ebook or white paper.
Great content is only great content if your audience can find it.
Think of social media as spokes for sharing and evangelizing your content, whereas your website is the hub where the content is hosted. The goal is always to get folks back there – downloading assets, signing up for your email list, exploring what you have to offer, and so on.
Make it Easy on Yourself – Reuse Content
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you create a new piece of content. Repurposing content – i.e. changing the format of existing content or changing the target audience for it – is a great way to manage your content strategy without spending everyday writing! Read more in our earlier blog Why and How to Repurpose Your Best Content.
Mix it All Up
Above all, like any good outbound marketing campaign, make sure your inbound marketing encompasses a wide variety of tactics. The ideas above are just the tip of the iceberg but by focusing in on these alone can really make a difference, give them a try.