Inbound Marketing Rule #1: Be Interesting
Inbound marketing is sharing information and ideas online, attracting an audience who is interested in what you're saying, and then converting that audience into customers. "Inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be." ~ HubSpot
Why do you have a website or Twitter or Facebook account? Because you want potential customers to find you and help grow your business. Traditional outbound marketing focuses on finding new customers through ads, commercials, trade shows, or cold-calling. At any given time millions of people are online searching for information that is relevant and important to them. The key to inbound marketing is to know your niche, and share quality information that attracts people who are interested in what you have to offer. And to keep sharing relevant, informative or entertaining information that keeps them coming back.
How do you attract an audience?
The easiest and most cost-effective inbound marketing tool is social media. Many social media platforms are free to use: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many blogging platforms. But a social media inbound marketing campaign is an investment:
- setting up your social accounts and optimizing them for keywords, attractive graphics, and figuring out who to follow
- managing your social media - creating a content strategy, developing a social media plan, time writing blogs and posts and taking photos or videos, responding to comments or new followers, engaging and building relationships with other people online
- some blogs require a hosting fee or buying a theme
- many social platforms now offer ads to target your audience so your message doesn't get lost in the literally millions of online shares every minute of every day
Watch this video infographic by Alchemy Communications on The Power of Inbound Marketing
Once you capture your visitors attention, how do you convert them into leads?
Inbound marketing is about building relationships and establishing yourself as an authority trusted expert and a valued resource. When people start to follow your blog and your Twitter posts, they start to think they know you - even though you've never met IRL (in real life).
Providing an offer that offers value and quality is the best way to convert a fan to a customer:
- a downloadable back-to-school checklist for a small business serving young kids and families
- discount or coupon or BOGO for customers at a bakery
- a free chapter from a new book by a new self-published author
- free webinar from a trainer or sales rep
- complimentary consultation by a career coach or consultant
Inbound marketing provides useful information to an online audience that is looking to be educated or entertained, and then providing even more valuable content to convert new fans and followers into real leads and customers.
For More Information on Inbound Marketing
Forbes: How to Convert Leads with Social Media
Small Business Advisor: 26 Stats That Prove Content Marketing Increases Lead Generation, Sales, and ROI