Inbound Marketing: All you have to do is open the door

SEO campaigns are central to the inbound marketing revolution

No matter what type of marketing you do, whether it’s an ad on the radio or paying for someone to approach people on busy street corners, the only thing that matters is whether, or not, the money you spend comes back as customers or clients.

It doesn’t get any more complicated than that. And yet the graveyard of business failures is filled with examples of money wasted on marketing that produced no value.

Organisations with revenues that allow them to invest enormous amounts of capital into advertising campaigns that use media outlets such as radio, television and newspapers, broadcast a message as widely as possible to catch the attention of people who are interested in the products or services they offer.

At the centre of that strategy is a crucial point: the only people who are going to pay any attention to that message are those people who actually need the service. The message – and the money it cost – is wasted on anyone who hears or sees the message, but simply doesn’t need it.

And this is where the internet has changed the way smaller organisations can compete. This is because, online, people search for products because they need and want them. In this way online, marketing is not about broadcasting a message outwards, it’s about creating a website online that’s easily found because people are looking for your organisation.

Let customers knock on your door

If you’re working with a limited marketing budget, the best way to find customers is to have them look for you. If you’re broadcasting messages, or putting up billboards, you’re sending out costly messages that are outbound, but, if you work out the tricks necessary to attract customers online, you’re going to save yourself a lot of money and time because your marketing is inbound because you market yourself with content and social-media that builds search engine optimization.

One final problem with outbound broadcast marketing that’s worth considering is how immune people have become to it. The argument that exposing people to your brand name keeps your business in the front of the minds of potential customers is really a last gasp rationalisation by those who want to sell space in the dying world of traditional media.

The fact is that people are better informed than they ever have been before, and they know how to look online to search through blogs and social media for information about which businesses they want to contact. The make up their minds by researching online before they buy.

Already large corporate identities know this and are
blogging on websites optimised for search engines and make good use of social media profiles so they can be found by prospective customers, which they can engage more effectively. The advertising spend on the internet over took traditional media in 2006 and it continues to increase online.

Organisations continue to spend on advertisements on television, during high rating sporting finals, which cost thousands of dollars per minute. Online, where all websites are equal, there is no prime time and the value of what you put out is determined by how well you attract potential clients. The internet is the great equaliser.

So what’s the first step?

You need to have a website that contains compelling content that is interesting and useful to your clients and potential customers. You can build trust and credibility for your products and services if you write about how best to make use of the services or materials you provide.

Whether it’s in videos or blogs , you need to engage with people in a way that promotes your business. If you make sail cloth, you not only need information on the fabric design and colour for racing and cruising yachts, but you need videos of sailing world championships and somewhere where people can ask questions about performance issues.

You can think about content by thinking about the questions you’re asked by customers every day. Add this to industry information and statistics on changing attitudes or trends and even find industry experts to interview and post as a news article.

You’ll build positive relationships with your clients as you attract them to your business, rather than wasting a lot of money on ads that people ignore and pass over.

Get the right website

If people are going to find your website you have to make sure that it’s accessible to search engines like Google.

The links to and from your website to other websites is one of the factors that determines how well your content is ranked by Google. This is how you optimise your presence.

If Google ranks you highly, your website will appear on the first page of any search that looks for you. If you come up first, your chances of getting that client are much better than those on pages two and three.

Make use of social media

When you load content onto your website you should then share it on social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. You can do this by embedding a Facebook ‘like’ button and Twitter ‘tweet’ button along with a share button for Linkedin or Reddit. These should accompany all the content you post.

This makes sure that your content is then shared on different platforms amplifying its overall reach. In this way, inbound marketing allows businesses a unique offering because it costs less than traditional media marketing, attracts people who are looking for you and makes them more likely to sign up or purchase what you’re selling, and gives you plenty of exposure that won’t leave you worrying about whether you’re getting value for the money you’ve spent.

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